Lib Dems call for Syria action update

Yesterday in the House of Commons the Liberal Democrats demanded an urgent update on the military situation in Syria and the ability for MPs to hold the government to account.

As part of the debate last year on military action in Syria, we said that we wanted to see regular updates to the House of Commons. The Prime Minister agreed to give quarterly statements. Three months on, it is time for David Cameron to stick to his promise.

Parliamentary questions have uncovered the UK military airstrikes in Syria have totalled 43 targets in Syria in three months and 319 Daesh targets in Iraq.

Foreign Affairs spokesperson Tom Brake said:

It is critical that wherever our Armed Forces are in active combat that the government is as open as possible about the progress of that activity. Parliament voted to support the extension of airstrikes to Syria on the basis that we would be provided with regular updates, and 3 months on from that vote it is time for the government to deliver that promise.

“There is no quick fix solution to fighting Daesh in Syria or Iraq. Success rests heavily on the progression of the peace process in Syria. What is unclear is what progress has been made on attacking ISIL’s sources of finance, fighters and weapons, what assessment has been made of civilian casualties and whether ISIL’s overall position has been changed in the last three months. These are the key points we need answers on, answers which the government is duty bound to provide.

And this morning he pressed the minister on that point:

I’m sure Tom will not let too much time go by before prompting again.

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  • Conor McGovern 3rd Mar '16 - 3:22pm

    ^ It’s always struck me as odd when a Liberal politician tries to look all tough and hard on matters of war, when a lot of the public want nothing to do with another blood-spilling crusade, nor is it very liberal.

  • Tim Farron also set out a list of ‘conditions’ before voting for ‘bombs/missiles’…They weren’t met and appear to have been, conveniently, forgotten…

  • nigel hunter 3rd Mar '16 - 8:49pm

    I remember these conditions, also, I believe the ex deputy P.M. negotiated that the Govnt. would go after ISIS funds for Lib Dems. to vote for the bombing has this also been conveniently forgotten?

  • Paul Reynolds 4th Mar '16 - 10:09am

    ‘There is no quick fix solution to fighting Daesh in Syria or Iraq’. This phrase is straight from the government – and typical of the stuff sent out from the media affairs staff in UK Forces. The idea is a simple one …. allow UK forces to fend off questions about performance, prepare public opinion for a long and escalating war, and side step any questions about the extent to which our war commitment is open ended with vague ‘measures of success’. It does not sit well with the idea that we are focused on holding the government to account. Instead we should be focusing on the ample evidence of support for Daesh, financially and militarily, from Saudi Arabia and Turkey, on cutting off the oil supply lines into Turkey and elsewhere, and the weapons supply lines up the Euphrates River, and pressuring Turkey to halt their sudden distraction of attacking Kurds in SE Turkey and in NE Syria … the Kurdish forces have been the most successful militarily against Daesh. We should be pressing Turkey and Saudi Arabia to withdraw their threats of ground invasion, and taking steps to get Turkey to cease its military operations on the outskirts of Mosul. Most importantly in the UK context, we should press the UK government to explain how they will be defining ‘success’ in military ops in Iraq and Syria. It is unwise for the UK Liberal Democrat party to act as a mouthpiece for UK Forces in this way. That is not what the Privy Council is for. UK Liberal Democrats should be concerned to get a resolution of this conflict in a way which is beneficial to UK interests over the longer term. The UK public interest is not being served in this war at present. We should be clear about that, and why, and be suggesting different approaches, together with or party allies in ALDE across Europe.

  • pressuring Turkey to halt their sudden distraction of attacking Kurds in SE Turkey and in NE Syria … the Kurdish forces have been the most successful militarily against Daesh.

    Agree and we should be pressing the case for the re-establishment of Kurdistan – it has more legitimacy to be a recognised country than Israel…

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