Tories’ move to strike in Syria dominate UK discourse

Tories’ move to strike in Syria dominate UK discourse

By ANTONIA FILMER | LONDON | 6 December, 2015

Political, civilian and media discourse in the United Kingdom this week was dominated by the government’s motion to increase UK military strikes into Syria. The carefully composed motion covered the national security threat posed by the ISIS, the legality of the action, with emphasis on the parallel diplomatic and humanitarian efforts and cutting ISIS’ financial lifeline. The goal is to “eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria” and plan for post-conflict stabilisation and reconstruction in Syria.
Jeremy Corbyn, true to his evergreen anti-war stance, is taking the Labour into unfamiliar ideological territory. Historically, Labour, as a party, has supported military endeavour and defence of the realm. Preceding the vote, the Stop the War coalition demonstrated in Westminster; Labour MPs, who did not intend to support the opposition leader, complained of “bullying” and threatened with deselection to coerce them to vote against the motion. After rumours about Labour MPs being whipped into voting against the motion, they were allowed a free vote. As it turned out, 66 Labour MPs voted for the motion.

Cameron quoted King Abdullah of Jordan, who appealed in the Daily Telegraph on 1 December urging UK to join the war against the outlaws of Islam, the Khawarej.


On Monday, in a stroke of unanticipated bad luck for the Prime Minister, the Foreign Affairs Select Committee in a majority vote said it could not support the government’s motion. Nevertheless, a confident David Cameron introduced the motion. Largely, the action is in response to answer the call of Britain’s allies including President Barack Obama, Chancellor Angela Merkel, President Francois Hollande and the King of Jordan, and of course in response to the Paris attack that could have been in London. Cameron said, “We don’t need ground troops to hit Daesh’s headquarters, their infrastructure, their supply routes, their training facilities, their weapons supplies.” He cited a recent incident during which Syrian opposition forces needed urgent support in their fight against Daesh. British tornadoes were eight minutes away just over the border in Iraq, no-one else was close but Britain couldn’t help. So the Syrian opposition forces had to wait for 40 minutes in a perilous situation while other coalition forces were scrambled together. Cameron repeated the necessity to degrade Raqqa several times.
Cameron conceded that the 70,000 Syrian opposition fighters, mostly from the Free Syrian Army, are not the “ideal partners” but they are ground forces who will take the fight to Daesh and in many cases UK can work with them and assist them.
Cameron quoted King Abdullah of Jordan, who appealed in the Daily Telegraph on 1 December urging UK to join the war against the outlaws of Islam, the Khawarej.

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