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.

It looks as if we are edging closer, albeit slowly, as a party to supporting military action in Syria, although Tim has made it very clear that there needs to be a plan for the peace as well as clear objectives for the airstrikes themselves.

To me, this is not like Iraq. That war felt wrong right from the start. The situation with Daesh is more complex. My worry is about the civilians who will inevitably be caught up in it all and the longer term strategy. I’m not sure I’m anything like confident that it’s all been thought through. I guess the party’s role should be to look very critically at anything and everything the government says and judge accordingly. There is for me an immediate humanitarian need to help those people who are being very definitely oppressed by Daesh, but we need to do so in a way that doesn’t make things worse.

What do you think?

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

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15 Comments

  • Paul Barber 21st Nov '15 - 2:46pm

    I totally agree with what is said here.

    Simply dropping more bombs won’t help.

    However, if there is an international mission which will defeat Daesh and lead to a sustainable peace then I expect Britain to be part of it.

  • George Kendall 21st Nov '15 - 3:52pm

    I broadly agree with Tim’s response.

    I think perhaps the biggest worry is that Russian airstrikes have been hitting the rebels who are fighting Daesh, as well as Daesh itself. That means that Russia’s intervention is not just about defeating the murderous death-cult of Daesh, it is about propping up a regime that has killed huge numbers of its own citizens.

    Although a post-war solution is vital, I fear we may need to act before it is fully agreed. If we wait until there is unanimity, there is a risk that those who are happy to marginalise the Sunni majority will control the outcome. And if the Sunni majority is marginalised, then their resentment will simply lead to a re-emergence of a group like Daesh.

    This is a very different situation from Iraq in many ways. But perhaps the crucial difference is that, if we don’t act, Russia will. And we shouldn’t trust Putin.

  • George Kendall 21st Nov '15 - 4:44pm

    @John Marriott
    If I were more than an ordinary member of the Lib Dems, I’d be a lot more diplomatic about Russia. But, as I’m not, I can be blunt about what I really think of Putin.

    I think Russia knew that, if they had used their veto, it would have backfired against them. I wouldn’t draw too much comfort from the fact they didn’t.

  • Jack Davies 21st Nov '15 - 4:47pm

    I’m concerned by the whole “Let’s all go off to kill people” thing. I will never support indiscriminate bombing. I support Tim in most things he does but I don’t see how bombing indiscriminately as has been the case will help us play ‘the long game’.

  • David Allen 21st Nov '15 - 7:20pm

    Frank Gardner on TV the other night just couldn’t stop repeating “Britain doesn’t want to be left out!” as his explanation for Cameron’s keenness to go to war. The implication is, never mind the human tragedies, Cameron just wants Britain to get stuck in and grab a share of… well, something, quite what is not clear.

    Now that this looks less likely to provoke a direct conflict with Putin, it looks less stupid than it did. However, Cameron’s motivation and attitude are still the same – Gung-ho!

    Of course it would be a better world if Daesh could be destroyed. However, if an “international mission” then fell to fighting amongst each other over the fate of Syria and of Assad, then heaven forfend, we might have done better to leave Daesh alone. Let’s face it, we now know that it would have been a lesser evil to have left Saddam Hussein alone, and left Gaddafi alone.

  • Tony Greaves 21st Nov '15 - 7:42pm

    How many people are still living in Raqqa? Difficult to find out but it may be 250,000, or perhaps 400,000. How many will be killed by the present “targeted” bombing? How many are desperately trying to get out to add to the number of refugees in Turkey and Lebanon?

    Does anyone really think that bombing “targets” in Raqqa will seriously affect ISIL/Daesh’s ability to wreak mayhem in Europe? In the short, medium or long terms?

    There may be good reasons for providing tactical air support to local ground operations by such as the Peshmerga (when they are not being bombed by Turkey). Bombing large cities still half full of people is not a good idea.

    Tony Greaves

  • ISIL was created by the United States, with the help of Saudi Arabia and Qatar, as a cat’s paw to use against Assad, and in order to fuel sectarian conflict between Sunnis and Shi’ites (divide and rule). The monster thus created is now totally out of anyone’s control and is menacing not only Arab Shi’ites and Kurds, but people and cities here and Europe, and potentially also in the United States.

    George Galloway quite rightly said that the Arab states themselves should deal with ISIL, but that never happened. Their leaders hate Shi’ites much more than they hate homicidal fundamentalists. Sadly, we now find ourselves in a position where it falls to the Western powers to destroy ISIL, and they should do as as quickly and comprehensively as they can, while avoiding civilian casualties as far as possible. I am still opposed to sending Western troops into Syria, because they could end up being there for a very long time, creating an even greater level of grievance against the West than currently obtains.

  • Jayne Mansfield 22nd Nov '15 - 9:01am

    @ Councillor Mark Wright,
    I find it impossible not to agree with Lord Greaves’ second paragraph.

    There are already countries bombing Isis strongholds, what would we achieve by joining them? What Cameron is planning is simply a gesture that will kill countless civilians . He has given us no indication of what comes next. It seems a case of bomb now and think later.

    He might see himself as Churchillian and those who are more cautious as appeasers, but he seems clueless as to what the medium and long term consequences of his actions might be.

  • It’s not so long since our parliamentarians were falling over themselves with enthusiasm for bombing the other side in the Syrian conflict. We can only hope for a more thoughtful and considered approach this time. It is a sad fact that, faced with intractable problems, politicians always seem much happier doing something dumb than in appearing to do nothing.

  • @ Cllr Mark Wright : ” Many people there welcome the air-strikes that being their freedom closer”………………

    And how do you know that Cllr Wright ? And if it was Bristol we were talking about ?

    Tony Greaves is absolutely right on this one.

  • Bombing always causes civilian casualties and that in turn creates martyrs and helps terrorists recruit more members.

  • I’m all for enacting a solid, pre-conceived ground plan with a well-defined and limited scope based on cast iron intel. That’s probably not what’s going to happen, so whilst it’s encouraging to see so many folks above reassure us that it won’t be like Iraq, there’s no reason to suppose they’re right. I don’t understand the situation well enough to be able to make life and death judgements on hundreds of thousands of Syrians, based on my feelings and some newspaper articles. I find it hard to believe dropping bombs is welcomed by residents, so I think the onus is on those making these claims to prove them beyond reasonable doubt.

  • Eddie Sammon 22nd Nov '15 - 4:05pm

    This is good from Tim and makes me more likely to vote Lib Dem again, because to be honest whilst Tim was talking like a pacifist I wasn’t even close to voting Lib Dem at the next opportunity.

    Concerns about civilians are fair, but we have to think of the civilians that ISIS hurt too and I also consider our soldiers civilians, especially in a just war.

    I’ll almost certainly be supporting airstrikes on IS. However my preference is for limited and unilateral airstrikes on Daesh and possibly on Assad’s military equipment too. This is because I think if Assad stands down locals will drive ISIS out, rather than foreigners doing it.

    I say unilateral, because I don’t actually think the UN is very legitimate. Why should we allow dictators from other countries to vote on our policies?

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