ISIL & Syria

Catherine_standard.jpg

The international community is now facing not only a deteriorating context of insecurity in the region but one of the greatest humanitarian crises since the Second World War.

I am deeply concerned about the hundreds of thousands of people who have been forced to flee their homes and seek asylum in other countries throughout the Middle East and Europe. I attended the urgent debate on the refugee crisis in September 2015, and strongly supported Yvette Cooper’s call to increase the number of refugees the UK was going to accept. 4,000 refugees in one year compared to the hundreds of thousands that Germany is accepting is an unambitious and disappointing target.

I have also tabled a number of Parliamentary Questions to the Prime Minister and Secretaries of State for International Development and Foreign Affairs to demand details of the action they will take to address this desperate situation. Finally, I have written a joint letter with Tulip Siddiq, MP for Hampstead and Kilburn and Sir Keir Starmer QC, MP for Holborn and St Pancras urging the Prime Minister take a leading role in tackling this crisis. The full letter can be found here.

ISIL/Daesh pose a threat both regionally in its main area of military operations and internationally through terrorism. ISIL/ Daesh's depraved acts of violence have included subjecting women to unspeakable sexual violence, killing gay people and murdering innocent civilians in Paris, Egypt, Beirut, Ankara and Tunisia. Labour has consistently called on the Government to strain every sinew to secure international agreement on a plan to end the Syrian civil war – which has created the chaos, fear and violence in which ISIL/Daesh has thrived and has led to a large number of refugees seeking shelter in Europe – and to develop a plan to end the threat from ISIL/Daesh.

I welcome the United Nations Security Council's unanimous approval of this resolution that urges UN member states to take all necessary measures to combat ISIL/Daesh in Iraq and Syria because of the unprecedented threat it represents to international peace and security. I will carefully consider any proposals the Government brings forward to address the persisting threat of ISIL/Daesh, but it is essential that any proposal brought forward command the confidence of parliament. As I am sure you are aware, the Prime Minister made clear in the Commons debate last year that British involvement in air strikes against ISIL would only be extended to Syria with Parliamentary approval.

It is deeply concerning, therefore, that we have now learnt via a Freedom of Information request that some UK pilots have been embedded with Coalition forces conducting air strikes against ISIL in Syria and that the Government had approved this without consulting or informing Parliament. I believe that Parliament should have been told about this action and that the Government have acted in a way that has put trust and confidence at risk. I hope that, going forward, the Government learn from this and carefully and clearly lay out any further proposals for UK military action against ISIL in Syria.

There also needs to be more resources and effort directed to planning a Syrian Peace Process, which would secure an immediate ceasefire and planning for a transitional government prior to national elections. This may appear a distant goal, but it is nevertheless crucial we help facilitate this process as ISIL/Daesh thrives where vacuums of power and conditions of chaos exist.  

Ultimately, the decision to commit UK forces into conflict zones is the most serious decision a Government can take. I have a number of reservations about the UK committing military forces into a context which is so complex and where there is no single enemy, that is why I believe it is crucial that any Government proposal brought forward must address the key issues and tests Labour have raised.

Do you like this post?

Reactions


commented 2015-12-02 11:20:49 +0000
Please do not vote to bomb Syria. Innocent civilians will be killed if you do, and the pro-bombers have not been able to explain how bombing will make us any safer in Britain or anywhere else or achieve anything positive in Syria.
commented 2015-12-01 21:05:09 +0000
Whilst abhorring ISIL and all it stands for I do not believe that bombing in Syria will resolve the situation or help to protect the Sryrian citizens. Any solution needs to involve the stepping down of Assad who has caused the death or homelessness of many more Syrians than ISIL I hope that you will vote against any motion that involves bombing in Syria.
commented 2015-12-01 21:04:58 +0000
Whilst abhorring ISIL and all it stands for I do not believe that bombing in Syria will resolve the situation or help to protect the Sryrian citizens. Any solution needs to involve the stepping down of Assad who has caused the death or homelessness of many more Syrians than ISIL I hope that you will vote against any motion that involves bombing in Syria.
commented 2015-11-29 11:58:37 +0000
This was very helpful.

On a strictly legal basis:

“It is always preferable in these circumstances to have the full backing of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) but I have to say what matters most of all is that any actions we would take would…be legal,” David Cameron to the House of Commons last Wednesday.

But UNSCR 2249:
“calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter…on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq.”

Use of force is one of the most difficult things for the UNSC to sanction – it is a last resort measure, and a rare one. The lack of Chapter 7 language in the resolution pretty much means that ‘use of force’ is not on the menu unless states have other means to wrangle “compliance with international law.”

So for the above reasons legal and other I believe MP’s cannot sanction our bombing of ISIL and it would be appropriate to whip MP’s
commented 2015-11-28 15:06:06 +0000
I write to ask that, despite your reservations and inclinations, you support UK military involvement in Syria. I am aware of the dangers and risks and of how confused this set of interlocking alliances and enmities is, but the power to intervene does not inevitably mean we will make matters worse: that depends on how the political leverage and military potential is used and Labour MPs should vote in favour so that the party then has the authority to speak on where we go next: voting against will further marginalize us from national decisions.
commented 2015-11-27 17:34:00 +0000
from what I have heard, air strikes will achieve nothing, nor will boots on the ground, except for killing innocent people and worsening an already desperate situation for civilians in Syria. I believe that decisive action including sanctions should be taken against the forces funding and fuelling Daesh . I hope you decide to vote against the government’s proposal.
Best wishes
Rahel
commented 2015-11-27 17:32:31 +0000
from what I have heard, air strikes will achieve nothing, nor will boots on the ground except for killing innocent people and worsening the situation for civilians on the ground. I believe that decisive action including sanctions should be taken against the forces funding and fuelling Daesh . I hope you decide to vote against the government’s proposal.
commented 2015-11-27 16:24:17 +0000
International agreement in support of a political and diplomatic resolution of the Syrian civil war is essential. The USA and its allies have blocked any such resolution with its intransigence in regard to President Assad. Their refusal to negotiate has lead to the prolonging and escalation of the conflict. It is time the international community put pressure on Turkey and Erdogan to end its continuing support of Daesh, first of all by putting an end to the illegal export of oil, through Turkey, that is essential to their funding. Erdogan has made it clear that he sees the Kurdish forces (which are the only ones having any kind of success in fighting Daesh) as by far the greater threat to him than Daesh. Cameron’s plans to approve UK air strikes in Syria is an attempt to position himself as a World Leader on the international military stage. UK airstrikes would do little good, but potentially a great deal of harm. I am dismayed that so many members of the Shadow Cabinet seem to be in favour of them. I urge you, Catherine, my representative in parliament, to oppose any attempt by the Tory Government to commit UK forces to bombing raids in Syria. Please read this article.
http://www.lrb.co.uk/v37/n23/adam-shatz/magical-thinking-about-isis?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=3723&utm_content=ukrw_subsact&hq_e=el&hq_m=4046541&hq_l=8&hq_v=b57c610f86

Thank you.

Catherine West MP

Liquid syntax error: Error in tag 'subpage' - No such page slug cookies