Tag Archives: daesh

Sincerity on both sides of air strike vote

For me, the arguments for and against air strikes against Daesh in Syria are finely balanced, and there is no surprise that reasonable people have come to different views. I am stunned that with the SNP against, Labour split down the middle, and (the BBC predicts) 15 Conservative rebels, we might be the most hawkish party.

I am very glad that Erbil was saved in August 2014 with help from US air strikes when Daesh were rampaging across northern Iraq. Had the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, population 1.5 million, fallen, the death toll and consequences for the region would have been horrific.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 18 Comments

Farron’s five tests to secure Lib Dem support for UK action in Syria

Falling on David Cameron’s desk this afternoon is a letter signed by all current and living former leaders of the Liberal Democrats in which they outline the five key tests the Government must pass in order to secure the party’s support for airstrkes in Syria.

Here is the letter in full:

In advance of your statement outlining your plan for military intervention against ISIL in Syria, we are writing to outline the criteria against which we will judge our response to your proposals.

As you will know our party has maintained a consistent position that airstrikes alone will not defeat ISIL in Syria. Deployment of lethal force should never be used simply as a gesture. It has to have effect, and to have effect it has to be part of a wider strategy, especially on the diplomatic front.

We are encouraged by the fact that the Government has at last decided to explain the details of that strategy and look forward to hearing what this is.

The five conditions below give the UK the best chance at having an effective strategy to counter ISIL and make serious progress in ending the Syrian civil war. We call on you to embed them into your plans before they are brought to the House of Commons on Thursday.

These conditions are:

Posted in News and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , and | 26 Comments

We shouldn’t bomb Daesh in Syria even with a UN resolution

It looks like there could be a vote to bomb Syria within a couple of weeks. Whilst I too was horrified by what happened in Paris 10 days ago, I am not convinced that the UK should be joining this mission.

Most defence commentators agree that the purpose of an air campaign is to prepare for a ground campaign – air strikes alone are not enough to degrade Daesh. So who are the ground troops? The Kurdish soldiers will certainly take back some land currently occupied by IS but will stop at the borders of their desired future …

Posted in Op-eds | 32 Comments

Tim Farron responds to UN resolution

Tim Farron has commented on the passing of the UN Resolution 2249, which had the UN Security Council recognise that

Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as Da’esh), constitutes a global and unprecedented threat to international peace and security,

Tim said:

I warmly welcome United Nations Security Council Resolution 2249. The fact that Russia did not use its veto is an important first step towards creating the broad coalition that the Liberal Democrats have been calling for as the only effective context for considering proposals for military action.

The UK should now use all its diplomatic skills to support the efforts being made in Vienna to assemble an anti-ISIL coalition including Russia, Turkey, Iran and other key states in the region.

At the same time, the Prime Minister must address the questions raised in the Foreign Affairs Committee Report when he presents to parliament the long-term strategy for any military action in Syria. That must include the planning for post-ISIL Syria, which has so far been absent amid the calls for UK planes to be engaged in strikes.

Posted in News | Also tagged , and | 15 Comments

Paris – no knee-jerk responses, but no cop-outs either

The worst terrorist attack in western Europe for a decade has left us all feeling numb. Our thoughts go out to the bereaved and injured. But inevitably our minds look to the consequences. What we must avoid is any knee-jerk responses. Two such responses we must avoid are: first, a rush by governments to remove yet more of our hard-won freedoms; and second, a rush to close our borders to refugees coming from the Middle East.

Our freedoms of speech, expression and religion, and our rights to privacy and to live our lives as we want were hard won over many centuries and we must defend the honour of those who fought and sometimes died to secure them for us. When it comes to refugees from the Middle East, the first thing we should remember is that this type of horrific slaughter is exactly what the refugees are fleeing from. The terror we saw in Paris should make us more acutely understanding of why the refugees are fleeing, because attacks like this have been going on in Syria and Iraq now for a decade.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 39 Comments

We must hold back on military action against ISIS

Even in a world in which we see tragedy every day on the news, one where twenty four hour coverage of the many battles currently raging in different corners of the globe makes it easy to become numb to humanitarian disaster, the Paris attacks last week were shocking. Amongst the heartening displays of solidarity and defiance, people are angry, and rightly so. Those who committed the attacks displayed such a level of callous cruelty that it is completely understandable that many across Europe want revenge against patrons of the twisted ideology that leads people to carry out such horrific acts.

Now, however, is not the time to act on this anger. Emotions are running far too high for sensible decisions about foreign policy to be made. It is not heartless or unpatriotic to point this out, and of course we all want to see an end to ISIS, but the growing pressure on the British government to join the bombing campaign in Syria must be resisted. For now, anyway.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , and | 28 Comments

Bombing Daesh in Syria?

The possibility of a vote in Parliament on bombing Daesh (also known as ISIL/ISIS/IS) in Syria is coming with talk in the news of which Labour MPs might back it, in a potentially close vote. I think we need to debate this too. It is likely to be a free vote or one with significant rebellions on all sides. Should our MPs be whipped?

The difference between attacking Daesh in Iraq and Daesh in Syria seems to be a legal one not a moral one. The former is in support of Iraq/Kurdish Iraq at their request, and the latter would arguably require a UN Security Council resolution which may be unlikely. And practically there are Iraqi ground forces to support from the air. In Syria, this is less clear, and bombing alone never seems to achieve anything.

Posted in Op-eds | 42 Comments
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