Dear Citizen MP's,
David Cameron's justification for Airstrikes on Syria is as weak and deceitful as the 2003 'Dodgy Dossier' Blair put before a gullible and pliable parliament to justify the war and occupation of Iraq.
Once burnt twice shy, or are the memories of some Labour MP's so feeble they cannot remember that far back, let alone the disastrous consequence which flowed from the invasion and occupation of Iraq?
In his written response to the Foreign Affairs Committee in which he sets out his case for war, Cameron claims there are 70,000 “moderate rebels” willing to fight the ground war with Isis, so there will be of no need of British boots on the ground.
A quick Google shows this is an infantile and silly lie.
The Kurdish Peshmerga as gallant as they are will only fight in what they regard as Kurdistan, understanding full well if they enter Arab territory it will act as a recruiting sergeant for ISIS. Thus they will play no part in liberating Raqqa, etc. Thus the only reliable rebel ground forces willing to fight ISIS are contingents of the Free Syrian Army, and they're currently not in the area of Syria which ISIS occupies. And in all probability they would not move towards Raqqa, because without being part of an an inclusive agreement Assad's forces would quickly reoccupy the land the FSA vacated.
Other anti-Assad militias like al-Nusra Front or Jabhat-al-Nusra, an open al Qaida affiliate, cannot conceivably be described as moderate, nor can the mish-mash of smaller Islamic militias. By all accounts they're almost as bad as ISIS when it comes to murder, mayhem, torture and kidnapping, thus cannot, nor should they be seen as allies. Not least because their loyalty could never be relied on.
That only leaves the Syrian army who fight under Assad's banner. The Assad armed forces numbered around 300,000 before the conflict and even if it has shrunk by 30-50% due to losses in the civil war as some claim, it still means it has approximately 150,000 men and women under arms, most battle hardened. It also has control of a National Defence Force, made up of Syrian militias loyal to Assad fighting under the umbrella of the army, plus thousands of Hezbollah fighters, who have a regular flow of arms from Iran and air cover from Russia with all that entails.
Without an agreement which produces a joint military strategy to defeat ISIS in Syria, which can be ratified by the UN, and which is supported by all Syria's anti-ISIS parties, including the armed forces of the Syrian State. There should be no LP support for airstrikes, as mission creep would in all probability lead to attacks on the Assad regime and god only knows where that might lead. Yet another failed state in the region or worse perhaps, due to the type of unforeseen circumstance which in Libya has left ISIS with a military presence just 300 miles from the EU border?
If Churchill and Stalin could put differences aside and for the common good become allies to destroy a greater evil, I can see no reason beyond hubris, why Russia, Iran and the West cannot do the same in the 21st century.
For the UK to become entangled in airstrikes before this happens will make this all the more difficult to achieve.
At this time I ask you to vote 'No' to the UK becoming involved in airstrikes on Syria, if the talks which are taking place in Vienna and elsewhere can come to an inclusive agreement between all parties opposed to ISIS it would be a different matter.
|A timely reminder from Steve Bell|