Mr Redwood’s contribution to the Statement on Syria, 20 May

Mr John Redwood (Wokingham) (Con): What is the current balance of strength between moderate, democratic forces and undemocratic, violent, extreme forces within the opposition? We do not want to help the latter.

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): I cannot give my right hon. Friend a precise percentage—obviously such a thing does not exist—but from everything that can be gathered and ascertained, the great majority of opposition fighters and supporters support the National Coalition or groups affiliated to it. That coalition is committed to a democratic, non-sectarian future for Syria, but the extremist groups are undoubtedly growing in strength. I would argue that one reason for that is that somebody who wants to join an extremist group can get a rifle and training immediately, whereas those who go to support a moderate group cannot. We have to bear that in mind in the debate we have started to have in the House.

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2 Comments

  1. zorro
    Posted May 22, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Permalink

    ‘but from everything that can be gathered and ascertained, the great majority of opposition fighters and supporters support the National Coalition or groups affiliated to it.’……Really?…….I would suggest that the evidence suggests quite the contrary. Arms have been supplied by Saudi/Qatari/Turks and it is quite clear that the most active and vociferous have been the extremists on the rebel side.

    zorro

  2. David Langley
    Posted May 23, 2013 at 8:49 am | Permalink

    It all depends on who is speaking when discussing extremist groups. In Syria an extremist group could be the proportion of the population who is sick of dictatorship and the use of brutality by the regime instead of the ballot box to get their way. I do not like our foreign policy statements they are too vague and misleading. When the middle east is under discussion we would do well to ensure that democratic governments are not infected by a desire to interfere with a countries right to self determination. Our well meaning efforts in the past to stabilise regimes has all too often backfired.
    The UN is the only true body capable of a correct determination and acts to support a democratic surge in a totalitarian government and population. Some members of the security council however have not supported a more robust response to dealing with dictatorships because they are incapable of regime change and are frightened of the uncertain outcomes.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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