1. Cameron loses Commons vote on Syria action
“It is clear to me that the British parliament…does not want to see British military action”
“”David Cameron, Prime Minister, 20th August 2013
BBC: “MPs have rejected possible UK military action against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government to deter the use of chemical weapons. David Cameron said he would respect the defeat of a government motion by 285-272, ruling out joining US-led strikes.”
Had that very close vote gone the other way, we would be attacking Syria’s government, troops, infrastructure and, inevitably, civilians as “collateral damage”.
2. MPs support UK air strikes against IS in Iraq
Intervention at the request of the Iraqi government was “morally justified” to combat a “brutal terrorist organisation” and was clearly lawful. Britain has a clear “duty” to join the campaign, and IS is a direct threat to the UK and I am not prepared to “subcontract” the protection of British streets from terrorism to other countries’ air forces.
Paraphrasing of David Cameron, Prime Minister, 26th September 2014
BBC: “The UK Parliament has backed British participation in air strikes against Islamic State extremists in Iraq. After a seven-hour debate, MPs voted for military action by 524 votes to 43. Some MPs expressed concerns about the prospect of future engagement in Syria.”
3. David Cameron believes ‘there is a case to do more’ in Syria
“British MPs need to think again about what else British forces can do to help moderate forces in Syria.”
David Cameron, Prime Minister, 2nd July 2015 via Downing Street
Guardian: “No 10 stressed it would be better if military action, likely to be air strikes, only went ahead if there was a consensus in the Commons. Michael Fallon, defence secretary, said Isis was directed and led from northern Syria. He vowed that if there was any decision to include air strikes in Syria as part of a full spectrum response (spot the weasel words), the government would seek the approval of parliament. “Our position remains that we would return to this house for approval before air strikes in Syria. We are clear any action we take must not provide any succour to Assad’s regime.” The prime minister’s spokeswoman stressed that British military assets were already flying over Syria, and British forces were helping to train members of the Syrian Free Army outside Syria itself.”
So we’re training ‘freedom fighters’ / ‘insurgents’ / future terrorists? Isn’t that the classic mistake the CIA has been making for decades?
4. Syria air strikes conducted by UK military pilots
” ” ← (i.e. nothing so far)
David Cameron, Prime Minister, 17th July 2015
BBC: “UK pilots embedded with coalition allies’ forces have been conducting air strikes over Syria against the Islamic State group, it has emerged. Crispin Blunt, Conservative MP and Foreign Affairs Committee chairman, said the 2013 vote on action in Syria was a “totally different decision” to the question of strikes on IS and that that decision had not been undermined. Labour has indicated it would not oppose military action in Syria. Acting leader Harriet Harman has said the case for air strikes was now different to the situation in 2013, when Labour voted against UK military action in Syria.”
When was this discussed and arranged? Apparently a couple of days ago when the Greece crisis was all over the news. What a good day that was to bury bad news.
Both sides of the Commons are all for this. Politicians are odd creatures: opposition in everything, everything, as a matter of principal, regardless of the logic, yet unity in wanting to extend violence. There is something about the desire for power that results in a mind-set of wanting to see others hurt. [ note to self – there’s a psychology essay to be written based on that last sentence. ]
It seems there are three sides in Syria:
- Assad’s regime which is being attacked by the US and allies. UK troops may or may not be embedded and supporting these attacks.
- The revolutionaries trying to bring down Assad’s regime (sorry, who are these people exactly?) who are being trained by the UK.
- IS / ISIS / ISIL / whatever we are to call-them this week are being attacked by the US and allies and (covertly) the UK.
This is like the proxy wars of the Cold War in the1900s where NATO and the Warsaw Pact tested and demonstrated their weapons’ capabilities in other countries by supporting opposing sides. At least then the West and East could pretend we/they were on opposite sides. Now the West seems to be supporting the fighting on all sides.
Had the 2013 vote gone the other way (requiring a difference of just 7 MPs’ votes), we would be openly bombing all of Syria. No wonder Moslems think there is a Holy War going on.
As for training the rebels (the next generation of elite mercenaries and terrorists) trying to bring down and take over Assad’s government, how many of them are now fighting for, leading, arming or training the IS / ISIS / ISIL forces?
Presumably, if and when IS / ISIS / ISIL have been defeated, the airstrikes will continue but against the Syrian government. Therein lies the inevitable argument of the next few days: “We may as well start bombing Assad now to prevent his resources falling into IS / ISIS / ISIL hands“. Yep, I predict a scorched earth policy, although it will not be called that.
Here we are in 2015, still bringing peace with bombs. And how well has that been working since 2003?