Nick Clegg explains Liberal Democrat ministers’ decision to support air strikes on ISIL

RAF lightning II aircraft photo by defence imagesNick Clegg has sent an email to all party members this evening to explain why the parliamentary party will be supporting air strikes on ISIL in Iraq.

It contains the entire broadcast interview which he did this afternoon. He talks about what a”vile and murderous” outfit ISIL is, about how the action is legal and how this isn’t being done by “the west” to “the rest”. It comes as part of a coalition of countries acting on a formal request from the legitimate government of Iraq.

The email says:

On Friday Parliament is to be recalled to debate Britain joining the coalition of nations who have launched air strikes against the ISIL terrorist organisation in Iraq.

Liberal Democrat MPs will be supporting Britain joining this coalition for three reasons. Firstly, the threat from ISIL to Britain has already been made clear by the sickening sight of British hostages being executed on television. Secondly, unlike the 2003 war in Iraq this intervention is legal – we are responding to a direct request for help from the legitimate Government of Iraq and Parliament will vote before any action is taken. Thirdly, we’re acting as part of a broad coalition of countries, including many Arab countries, to deal with a real and immediate threat.

I know that given our party’s history this will evoke strong feelings. Earlier, I recorded an interview for broadcasters in which I explained why we were supporting this action. You will see some of this on the news this evening but I wanted party members to see the interview in full.

And the interview is here too:

As I said this morning, I’m persuadable on this. It’s a huge decision but it’s also one of these situations when not acting could make things a lot worse. It’s definitely legal. The issue is whether it’s wise. I am glad I’m not the one having to take the decision. Whatever you do in that situation, lives, innocent lives, will be lost. Some of them will be the hostages we’ve seen on our tv screens. The suffering of the people currently at ISIL’s mercy weighs heavily on my mind, particularly, because it will be worse for them, the women and girls who are likely to be subject to sexual violence and torture.

Whatever else people may care to say about Nick Clegg, he is a committed internationalist and humanitarian. I am prepared to trust his instincts on this one in a way that I wouldn’t trust either the Tories or Labour on their own. I do want to know more about why they think this is going to work. In the interview he says that the ground operation will be done by others, but we are providing the support from the air that will help them. I’m going to listen to how things unfold over the next day and during the debate on Friday. I also want to hear from other voices in the party who know the region well.

I think it’s good that party members are being kept informed like this and there is a link that comes with the email that encourages feedback. Please respond to that if you get it because it’s important that Nick gets an accurate view of the temperature of the party.

There’s a lively discussion on that  earlier thread so it’s probably best if we can to keep the discussion there. I won’t stop comments on here, but if you can comment there it would be much appreciated.

Photo by Defence Images

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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38 Comments

  • So that’s provocation, legality and breadth of support covered. Any idea why it will succeed as a strategy?

  • Peter Hayes 24th Sep '14 - 7:28pm

    Yes it may well be legal depending on government requests for support and the consequences. But is it sensible for the long term future of the area? I have to be a do not know.

  • Sadie Smith 24th Sep '14 - 7:43pm

    I hope the planning is good enough for the reasonable chance of success.

  • Conor McGovern 24th Sep '14 - 8:01pm

    Just because it’s legal, doesn’t mean it’s right. I don’t see how bombing civilians and ripping apart communities will a) solve the alleged crisis or b) lessen the anti-Western feeling in the Middle East.

  • This was a completely pointless and probably staged interview. Clegg kept banging on about action in Iraq. Never once did he voice an opinion the veracity of Syrian air strikes.!?
    So what is Lib Dem policy on air strikes in *Syria*?

  • It is clear that this movement should be “slowed down”. At present it is out of control, and totally inhuman, in the sort of sense that Pol Pot’s movement was. A political dimension should be employed before mayhem once more sets in, as it did following 2003 in Iraq.

    On a smaller issue, why have British political leaders started using ISIL, as Obama and the White House do, when ISIS / IS is much the most favoured English language abbreviation. It almost seems like symbolic obeisance to the US Government?

  • As in other threads, those in our party not supporting action raise valid and important points – Conor McGovern puts them neatly:

    “I don’t see how bombing civilians and ripping apart communities will a) solve the alleged crisis or b) lessen the anti-Western feeling in the Middle East.”

    My response though it that those communities concerned have already been ripped apart. One of the most vile movements we can imagine has ripped apart any community with which it does not agree or view as being valid. I also don’t see how this is an alleged crisis, it is real – untold number of innocent people have been slaughtered without mercy. Our country’s response is a matter for debate, the seriousness of the situation less so.

    The question of anti-Western feeling is the one that troubles me most about action, it was a main reason why I found the the 2003 Iraq invasion so shameful – the West gave it no consideration and we are now reaping the respone. Whilst we may find some of the countries involved with the air strikes deeply against our principles, there now exists a grouping of Arab nations that are fighting ISIL – unlike 2003, we wouldn’t be going in alone as Western ‘crusaders’. This doesn’t entirely resolved my concern, but it has been tempered.

    But the key matter that keeps returning to my mind is what happens if ISIL is not removed? What happens if they do take root in the region? Jaw-Jaw is what we must always seek, but who do we even engage with in ISIL or their platform? They aren’t seeking territorial demands, they want it all, or for a matter to be resolved – they have a single aim and our form of democracy and society forms no part of their world view apart from it being something that should be destroyed. Bar our non-existence or submission to their will, we have nothing to offer that would satisfy.

    I am loathe to reach for Godwin’s Law, but as per the Nazis – do we have any other choice but to remove them to prevent a far greater ill than war? It is always deeply settling to reduce war (and war means death) to an almost ultilitarian argument, but does the West have a choice? Regional powers alone can not remove ISIL, on a purely practical level they need Western support .

    Any action is a leap into the unknown, but so is non-action. If left alone, would ISIL fade away? Unlikely – and given what has happened so far, I see no reason why their campaign would change from the the evil we have seen them commit . As such, I support the Minister’s position as I don’t see anything but more problems coming from their continued existence and no peaceful solution to their removal.

  • Who is going too foot the bill or is this some more on the country credit card?

  • Jon Featonby 24th Sep '14 - 9:27pm

    I’m not sure I agree that the decapitations, as brutal as they were, signify a threat to the UK and I’m a bit disappointed that Nick has used that argument – I think a case can be made without it.

    However, what must be considered and made clear is the humanitarian response. The region surrounding Syria has already taken hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees – Lebanon has taken 1.6m into a country of just 4m people. This week has seen over a hundred thousands Syrian flee into Turkey alone. Yet the UK has so far agreed to resettle just 50 Syrian refugees. Air strikes will undoubtedly lead to more people fleeing Syria and Iraq, especially as ISIL retreats into civilian populations. As much money as these strikes will cost, there needs to be just as much if not more put into developing long term solutions.

    This not only includes helping those countries in the region with infrastructure programmes, but also ensuring that people have safe routes into Europe. If not, those countries in the region will close their borders to those fleeing the violence and the West will be unable to chastise them for doing so.

  • The ISIS is a bunch of vicious thugs with no legitimacy whatsoever.
    Military action by a Western backed coalition is just what they want to create more recruits and more martyrs to their cause.
    There is absolutely no evidence that military action against armed fanatics ever leads to a military solution. There is a lot of evidence that sitting down with terrorists and negotiating peace works. (South Africa, Northern Ireland to name but two). Yesterday’s terrorists become today’s statesmen. (Martin McGuiness, Nelson Mandella, Menachim Begin, and the leaders of a whole range of former colonies)
    So I deplore the decision by ministers and MPs in my party to back yet more intervention in the Middle East. It won’t work, lots of people – mainly innocent women, children and bystanders – will die and eventually there will have to be peace talks. We were right as a party to oppose Blair’s intervention in Iraq and we will be wrong to support Cameron’s warmongering now.

  • Jonathan Pile 24th Sep '14 - 10:37pm

    I’m not sure that Air Strikes are a particularly effective method of combating either insurgency or terrorism. IWe been doing air strikes since 1990 and the middle east is less stable. Unfortunately the dead bodies of collateral civilians will potentially hand a propaganda victory and recruiting tool to the global jihadis, and draw parallels with Gaza. There is a huge danger of mission creep already. First surgical strikes against 100% military targets, then strikes against embedded groups in populated areas, ISIL will try and provoke and deceive so we strike civilians by accident. Already US Generals are talking of boots on the ground. Those boots need to be Kurdish and Sunni and Arab, not Western boots. I think the best we can do is to support only limited air strikes against 100% military targets outside of populated areas, and ONLY in Iraq and NOT Syria. And absolutely NO BRITISH BOOTS AT ALL ON THE GROUND. What to do about ISIL? – peace in the Syrian Civil War, Stability in Iraq and increased economic pressure to bring about an Arab-Israeli settlement cant hurt. More Guns and Bombs – I’m not sure is the long term answer. The Kurds and Iraqis need help though to combat ISIL and liberate their enslaved fellow citizens who are suffering. This is a difficult one, limited support to military target only airstrikes in Iraq only, no mission creep into carpet bombing or boots on the ground , or intervention in Syria and focus on strengthening the Arab League to support a regional response not a Western response.

  • Just watching newsnight not many in EU saying they will join wonder if they will save money by standing by

  • Its not as if IS are something new, we have plenty of this sort of Evil before & if History teaches us one lesson it is that stopping them earlier saves lives in the long run. Is are particularly dangerous because there is no Nationalist component to their thinking, no limits to the area they want to conquer. Allowed to continue they would take Jordan next, Lebanon, Iran, Turkey…. Obviously at some point they would come up against an enemt who would destroy them but by then a lot more people would have been killed or driven to flee. Stopping them now isnt just the right thing to do its also the prudent & sensible one.

  • Paul Barker wrote:

    “Obviously at some point they would come up against an enemy who would destroy them”

    You have just named two – Iran and Turkey.

    My feeling about this is that however horrible and terrifying ISIS undoubtedly is, US interference in this region invariably creates a worse mess. 13 years of military occupation of Afghanistan has not defeated the Taliban, which is as dangerous as ever. Islamists continue to menace pro-American regimes across the region, from Pakistan to Egypt. Iraq and Lybia have descended into internecine chaos. Amazingly, the Americans actually removed two of the most effective opponents of Islamism in the Arab world, namely Saddam Hussein and Mumur Al-Gadafi. I say “amazingly”, but it is only amazing if we assume that US foreign policy in the Middle East is about defeating Islamism and promoting Western values. It certainly is not. It is about control of the oil supply. The Americans are quite happy to prop up Islamist governments, such as Saudi Arabia, when it suits their interests. Indeed, Osama Bin-Ladin started out as a CIA asset. Look at the long-term consequences of the US backed overthrow of the secular Mossadeq regime in Iran. The descent into barbarism is very much of America’s making. ISIS is thriving because someone somewhere is supplying them with money and weapons. They cannot defeat Assad in Syria, but they can walk all over Iraq. Why so? I just get the feeling that we are not being told the truth, and that we are going to be dragged into a protracted military conflict which will make the world an even more dangerous place.

  • Eddie Sammon 24th Sep '14 - 11:30pm

    Look, let me just kill this economic argument stone dead that we “can’t afford” this war. We believe in international trade, ISIS believe in international theft. If anyone is concerned whatsoever about the financial cost then doing nothing is a lot worse. Theft, remember, that is what they want.

  • I marched with a million people (and my youngest daughter aged 10) against the illegal war in Iraq. I voted against it in Parliament along with everyone of my Lib Dem Parliamentary colleagues. But this situation is utterly different.

    I agree with Nick.

    One of the few times I have ever said that !

    Paul Holmes

  • Just because we can do something, it doesn’t automatically follow that we should. It seems clear to me that international law does allow for this action to be taken, but the key question is whether this will actually achieve our aims? Is this action going to stop IS and reduce terrorism, and how? I’m not convinced that just dropping bombs is going to solve these issues, unless it’s linked to a proper ground campaign and rebuilding, coupled with a long term political settlement for the region.

  • Jonathan Brown 24th Sep '14 - 11:36pm

    Mick Taylor states that “There is absolutely no evidence that military action against armed fanatics ever leads to a military solution.” But there is. Although Iraq 2003 is one example among many of disastrous military interventions, there are also many examples of successful ones.

    The Vietnamese invasion of Cambodia removed the Khmer Rouge and brought relative peace to the country.

    The UK military intervention in Sierra Leone in 1997 brought about a rapid end to a brutal civil war perpetuated by a militia that used drugged child soldiers to seize territory and cut off the hands of people to prevent them from voting.

    The Syrian invasion of Lebanon brought an end, more or less, to the Lebanese civil war.

    I’m not pretending that any of these examples left everything sweetness and light, or that such interventions never create their own problems. But a justified suspicion of the motives of those calling for military action should not blind us to the options.

    Regarding the case of Iraq, I give intervention my cautious support. Indeed, I would have supported intervention in Syria last year in response to the regime’s massed poison gas attacks against civilian populations. The government utterly failed to make the case for it, or to persuade that they had a strategy, but as someone who lived in Syria and has many friends there and as refugees, I think this is definitely a case of had we intervened – in a sensible way – then, there’s a reasonable chance the ISIS erruption in Iraq would never have happened, and things in Syria would be a lot better. As a result of us leaving the moderate opposition groups out to dry, their 9 month long (and pretty successful) campaign against ISIS collapsed, leading to a ressurgence by the group.

    What this latest discussion still fails to do – at least with Syria – is address the need to develop relations with what’s left of the moderate Syrian opposition. Until they are given the support (yes – including weapons) they need, they will not be able to bring Assad to the negotiating table or face down ISIS. A reluctance to take an interest in the conflict and study our options – an understandable reluctance to get involved in any way – is resulting in us defaulting to a position that is making things much worse.

  • Lois Speller 24th Sep '14 - 11:37pm

    We train people, arm them and then watch as they then fight people we don’t want them to. Happened with Ho Chi Minh, Saddam Hussein and the Mujahideen. We are thrilled at the prospect of the Arab Spring while forgetting that there is little democracy in the Arab World. We condemn Assad and then find that the opposition he is fighting actually is not wholly pleasant. We do not have a clue what we’re doing and the stupidity of the 2nd Iraq war means that people here are now very suspicious of governments. ISil’s brutality and horrific beheadings and the horror for those about to suffer, or their families, understandably result in our feeling that we must do something. But innocent civilians in those areas are being killed and maimed by both sides all the time and that is also horrific, one feels despair at their plight. The West has dangerously destabilised the area by failing to appreciate the culture and systems operating there. I am not sure that adding our rather small contribution will bring about a solution, though I can see how Britain could feel that it owes Iraq support.

  • Conor McGovern 25th Sep '14 - 12:45am

    @ATF – “My response though it that those communities concerned have already been ripped apart. One of the most vile movements we can imagine has ripped apart any community with which it does not agree or view as being valid. I also don’t see how this is an alleged crisis, it is real – untold number of innocent people have been slaughtered without mercy. Our country’s response is a matter for debate, the seriousness of the situation less so.”

    Of course the situation is real, that’s a fair point to make. But I think we should be careful before accepting the official media or government line on this; liberals should always question power, and vested interests. Government and media have an interest in heating up public opinion so that there’s enough support for launching another bombing raid without any negative repercussions for the Tories.

    “The question of anti-Western feeling is the one that troubles me most about action, it was a main reason why I found the the 2003 Iraq invasion so shameful – the West gave it no consideration and we are now reaping the respone.”

    This is the main point, to be honest. If we hadn’t gone into Iraq in the first place, this might not have happened. But now that the Iraq War has happened, we should be very wary of making the situation worse. This might sound like fingers-in-ears isolationism, but we need to decide: is doing nothing better than doing something and making things a whole lot worse?

  • Kevin Colwill 25th Sep '14 - 8:12am

    Where are the regional powers here? The Saudis, for example, have a pretty impressive air-force, so why is their involvement little more than a token, why aren’t they leading these operations?

    We have a long record of picking “good guys” and “bad guys” in these conflicts and then finding our “good guys” are themselves pretty rotten. Much as I’m enraged by ISIL atrocities I can’t see how Western involvement does anything very effective.

  • Tony Dawson 25th Sep '14 - 8:53am

    What is very difficult to establish, still, is what is really going on in Iraq. While ISIS is seen by us as an awful vicious mob, their initial success must have been developed on the back of a degree of support in the largely-Sunni areas they first rolled back. The residents of these areas must, clearly, have felt heavily-oppressed by the Shia-dominated Baghdad government. It could, possibly, have bee n much worse than that. Any reverse of the ISIS invasion which causes a lot of ‘collateral damage’ (US-speak for mashed-up children) and presents the possibility of a return to Shia-domination is not going to be welcomed and may well be a recruiting sergeant for future terrorists – or not. I do not know and, sadly, I have no confidence that our government knows or that our MPs will be any the wiser on Friday. We should remember Falujah.

    The vicious secular/military regimes of Libya, Egypt, Syria,Yemen and Iraq we decried but they managed for many years to hold together the possibly ridiculous hotch potch of peoples we ‘set free’ from European colonies. To expect there to be some easy transition to democracy when the old systems have been overthrown by hundreds of thousands of freshly-armed young men with no unifying common purpose other than the liberating of their previously-suppressed religious identity is naive in the extreme. Turkey, Algeria, Bahrein, even Morocco, significantly suppress human rights and permit atrocities at various levels in what their leaders would say prevents anarchy and/or endless war.

    Does anyone here REALLY know what is happening today in Tunisia? Or Libya? Does anyone care?

  • Martin Land 25th Sep '14 - 9:14am

    Will we never learn. The Islamic world is fatally divided, but we are working hard to unite it. Against us.

  • mack (Not a Lib dem) 25th Sep '14 - 11:28am

    I’m rather confused. The US appears to be supported by Saudi Arabia in its air attacks upon ISIS, yet, as I understand it, ISIS is also materially supported by Saudi Arabian elements or factions. Yesterday, we were told that British nationals were killed by the US air strikes but that the Britons were actually fighting for another Islamic organization which is opposed to ISIS and was fighting it. This organization is expected to now ally with Isis as a consequence of the air attacks.

    If I’m confused by what’s going on I’m sure a lot of my fellow citizens are. But I expect that there is a huge appetite amongst the British people for revenging with air strikes the beheading of American and British nationals, which I totally understand.

    As a Labour party member, dismayed by the damage to my party and the people of Iraq after the 2003 invasion (which at the time, I was convinced was a very good thing) I am now reluctant to see tens of thousands more dead civilians and expose my party to the kind of obloquy it will attract if this all goes pear shaped. Yet, at the same time, can you imagine what the press and media will say be saying about Ed Miliband, Nick Clegg and our respective parties if we don’t support Obama over this? And there is no doubt about it that ISIS presents a far greater existential threat than Saddam ever did. Although, at the time, I was persuaded that he was a nascent Hitler, now, after all that has happened in the region and the terrible carnage that has been the consequence of the domino effect of his removal, it is possible for me to believe that Saddam was the lesser of many evils and we should never have followed Bush into war against him. back in 2003 I never, ever, thought I would say that.

    A couple of further thoughts: we had no clear cut strategy for dealing with the aftermath of the 2003 engagement and we appear to have none now. I also recall that the US strafed and bombed the North Vietnamese for years without achieving anything and were finally forced out of Vietnam. As for the action being legal, well, many things are legal, but they are not always wise.

    Frankly, I haven’t a clue whether Ed Miliband should be supporting air strikes or not.

  • Matthew Huntbach 25th Sep '14 - 2:06pm

    Nick Clegg

    Firstly, the threat from ISIL to Britain has already been made clear by the sickening sight of British hostages being executed on television.

    Yes, but what about the sickening sight of people who are not ISIL militants but inevitably will be caught up and killed in the bombing? If we just dismiss this as “necessary casualties which have to happen so we can establish our position”, aren’t we doing what ISIL are doing? If we look at the sort of propaganda the likes of ISIL are issuing, it’s full of claims about western hypocrisy when outrage is expressed at “Jihadist” violence, but violence caused by the west is just one of those things that happens y’know.

    ISIL and the like are itching to be able to write this all up as “brave Muslims against the infidels”, and to attract naive support on that basis. That IS how terrorism works – do something horrible, wait for the retaliation, wave the shrouds around, claim to be the brave defenders of those caught in the crossfire, repeat.

    We need to demonstrate our moral superiority by showing that we, unlike them, do respect human life. We must win the propaganda war, and we can do this by pumping out the tales of those who have been victims of the horrors of ISIL, meaning all those local people fleeing form them, not the odd western hostage. Again and again and again, we must show up what sickening sadistic minded people these ISIL lot are, and challenge anyone who might have some sympathy “Is THIS what your religion is like? Is THIS the sort of world you want to build?”. This can only work if we avoid doing things which can be portrayed as the west being just as casual in its use of violence.

    We must do all we can to give aid to those fleeing ISIL, and pressure all those in the Arab world with the money they have to splash out on all those big developments and lives of luxury with their second homes in London etc that if ISIL really is not what their religion is about, don’t they have a moral duty to do something about it, and the money to do it as well? And if they won’t, well either they seem happy for their religion to be insulted by ISIL doing this in its name, or perhaps they think that is what their religion is about, in which case they deserve all the contempt we should give to them.

    I’m afraid there are too many who want it both ways – the west is evil if it intervenes (Iraq), evil is it doesn’t intervene (Syria), so they’ll call on the west to dig them out of any trouble, while simultaneously denying any responsibility for attitudes that have caused that trouble to grow, and playing the anti-western card when it suits them.

  • Tony Dawson
    Does anyone here REALLY know what is happening today in Tunisia? Or Libya? Does anyone care?

    Insert the words “Or Scotland?” and your question is just as valid.

    A week is a long time in politics, especially in Dundee.

  • Jayne Mansfield 25th Sep '14 - 11:35pm

    @ Tim Oliver
    ‘Our target is military installations, their target is civilian populations.’

    I am sure that the civilians who are ‘collateral damage, will die happier knowing that their deaths were the side effects of us doing something morally good!

  • Tim Oliver
    You say – ” it is a question of capacity as well as anything else; and we have a capacity to do something about it”

    And yet in your excellent blog you point out how over the last thirty years the UK Government has not had the capacity to deal with Enlish devolution. OK not an entirely serious comparison but there is maybe a grain of truth?

    But Tim, if you were to judge countries in terms of “capacity” to do something about the cut-throats of Daesh where would you put the UK this list —

    Saudi Arabia
    Qatar
    The UAE
    Iran
    China
    India
    Russia
    Turkey

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Sep '14 - 11:18am

    Tim Oliver

    Ultimately, it is a question of capacity as well as anything else; and we have a capacity to do something about it more than just go from capital to capital repeating the same tales of horror that anyone with access to a transistor radio and the BBC World Service will already have heard.

    Yes, and exactly the same applied to the invasion of Iraq managed by George Bush and Tony Blair. Did all the fine arguments you use here lead to Muslims across the world saying “Thank you Bush and Blair, thank you people of the USA and the UK for what you did in removing this cruel dictator. Of course, we realise that there had to be civilian casualties in doing this sort of thing, but we accept that. Again, thank you for using the power and military forces you have for saving Muslims from the oppression they were getting from Saddam Hussein”.

    No, it didn’t, did it? So why do you suppose it would be any different here?

    Sadly, the willingness of too many Muslims to whip up the anti-western fervour, to blame all the problems in the parts of the world where they dominate, to expect us to dig them out of their problems and yet abuse us when we do, means we do have to be very cautious about intervening.

  • Matthew Huntbach 26th Sep '14 - 11:31am

    Tim Oliver

    What you essentially want us to do is to go around the world saying how terrible what is happening in Iraq and Syria is, and demand that someone else foot the cost of doing something about it.

    No, I don’t want US to do that. I want a united front across the Muslim world to do that. I want Muslims across the world to denounce what they are doing, and to investigate why it is that people doing this suppose themselves to be the best and holiest of Muslims, and whether perhaps there are ways they have let their religion develop or promoted it which have encouraged this false interpretation.

    I am not saying this is what Islam is about, far from it. But I am saying there are violent and illiberal trends in Islam which have been allowed to flourish with very little challenge. I cite, for example, the cult of the “martyr” where a martyr is not someone who died peacefully refusing to denounce their faith (as the term used to be used), but someone who died while engaged in killing others. See also the forcefulness by which particular interpretations of Islam are forced on others with no right for them to have a different view, such as the insistence in various places of wearing cover-all clothes, though all it actually says in the Quran on this issue is just that one should dress modestly and not draw attention to oneself (so I would say an insistent on wearing the niqab in the UK is the opposite of what the Quran says).

    Is it not the case that this group calling themselves “Islamic State” are taking these attitudes just a step further? And if this is the case, and one can see how horrible is the result, might it not be an idea to reconsider how that came to be, and whether it could have not gone like that had there been more attention paid to promoting other aspects of Islam, concentrating on mercy, freedom of religion, and so on?

  • Matthew

    It might be instructive to take yourself back a few decades and try replacing “Islamic State” in your last comment with “Irish Republican Army”, and “Islam” with “Roman Catholicism”.

  • “We have a long record of picking “good guys” and “bad guys” in these conflicts and then finding our “good guys” are themselves pretty rotten.”

    Indeed, weren’t ISIL/ISIS among the “good guys” not that long ago, when our glorious government was wanting to bomb Damascus and arm the Syrian rebels?

  • Clegg’s video doesn’t make the case for these aerial attacks at all. He anticipates some of the potential objections to military action, and proceeds to knock them down, but doesn’t give a single reason why any good will come from our raining yet more bombs down upon the sorry people of Iraq.

  • Eddie Sammon 8th Sep '15 - 1:43am

    François Hollande is preparing French airstrikes against ISIL in Syria, we should join them.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-europe-34173983

  • ….The head of the DIA has admitted that as far back as 2012 the US knew the Salafi jihadis were the major forces driving the insurgency in Syria ( whilst proclaiming that ‘moderates’ were the main opposition. They actively supported these factions in creating a ‘proxy war’ to try to bring down Assad….

    Now when we are caught in a situation where we are anti-Assad but even more anti-Salafi (ISIS, etc.) our only answer appears to be “let’s do some more bombing”…..

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