Answer to constituents on Syria bombing

A number of constituents have contacted me opposing UK bombing in Syria. In view of the interest I am sharing my reply to them here:

I opposed bombing the Assad regime two years ago when the Coalition government wished to do it and was pleased Parliament got the government to withdraw the planned motion for military action. Parliament subsequently went on to vote down a motion that anyway did not offer permission for the use of force. I did not support that diluted government motion.
This time I accept that Daesh is a serious threat to us as it is a movement that has people and sympathisers in western countries as well as in Iraq, Syria and elsewhere in the Middle East. I have urged the government to take stronger measures to police our borders, to improve intelligence as they are now doing, and to reinforce our defences against home grown terrorism and against would be terrorists seeking entry to the UK.
I have asked the government a series of questions about their wish to add UK bombs to the bombing campaigns of the USA, France and Russia currently being undertaken in Syria:

1. As all agree ground troops are needed to work with bombing campaigns to destroy or remove Daesh from Syria, who will provide the ground army? How can we be sure they will work well with us, directing our bombers , reporting back on what has been achieved from the air and using the opportunity the bombing campaign provides to retake territory on the ground?
2. Is the UK government clear that its only military objective is to attack Daesh, or does it also still wish to remove the Assad regime?
3. What is the political strategy for rebuilding responsible government in Syria? Who will govern the areas currently run by Daesh if the military campaign works?
4. Is the UK planning to work alongside Russia, or is it possible to run a different military campaign with different objectives to the Russian one without entailing dangerous disputes with Russia?
5. The Free Syrian army is said to offer ground troops to win this war. Who commands them? Where are their forces? Can these very divergent groups of fighters be an available army for this task? How would we be able to co-ordinate with them? Why if there are 70,000 of them have they not already retaken Raqqa?

I await considered answers to these questions. I have no wish to impede assisting our allies or preventing further terrorist abuses, but I do wish to see a thought through strategy with emphasis on a future political settlement.

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7 Comments

  1. Antisthenes
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 7:38 am | Permalink

    As Nigel Farage might say that is mere detail and I do not do detail. Not exactly a statement that would conjure up trust. Sometimes though the process has to be started and the detail hammer out as you go along especially as there as so many unknowns. At least we know the immediate goal and that is to destroy ISIL the rest we have to do on trust. Hoping that the politicians make the right decisions(this time having learnt from past mistakes) as they are confronted by each of the items on your list and events turn out to be favourable.

    They may make a hash of it as usual but then not doing anything because of that fear may be worse. Humans are always making a hash of it but we are still here and life goes on for batter or worse.

    Doing something and doing it now has the ability to throw up all sorts of opportunities to make amends for past failures and to design settlements that will bode well for the region and improve relations between the Middle East, Russia and the West.

  2. Tad Davison
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 12:27 pm | Permalink

    My sentiments exactly, and funded once again on logic and common sense, but I would go much further.

    How come the means to fund IS i.e. the massive fleet of road tankers that ships stolen oil, hadn’t been attacked to any effective and committed extent by the allies until the Russians stepped in?

    Where have these tankers been headed, and who has been buying the oil stolen by IS?

    Who would benefit from such a lax policy?

    Who has been supplying weapons to IS?

    Who has been buying the stolen and pillaged historical artefacts from IS?

    Where fanciful figures of the numbers of freedom fighters are proven not to exist, can we remove those who provide such dangerously flawed intelligence, along with the politicians who cite it?

    Can we have an accurate projection of where we will be in five years time whether we bomb in Syria or not?

    Is this just a part of a bigger and far more dangerous geo-political western strategy to oust Russia from the region, rather than treat her as an equal partner?

    That’s just for starters, but will do for now.

    Tad Davison

    Cambridge

  3. Dennis
    Posted November 29, 2015 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

    If we cannot build enough houses here what contribution can we make in rebuilding Syria?

    It is continually stated that we have foiled many terrorist plots here. No journalists ask how many of the plotters are in jail, where and when the trials were conducted and what the sentences were. If they were foiled abroad surely some details should be available about the outcomes. This lack of info seems very suspicious to me.

    • Tad Davison
      Posted November 29, 2015 at 3:06 pm | Permalink

      Dennis,

      I never trust anybody who asks me to trust them without question. I recall parliament did that after being told at privy council level by one T. Blair that WMDs were at 40 minutes readiness to be used against us, and look where that got us!

      Tad

    • Dennis
      Posted November 29, 2015 at 7:25 pm | Permalink

      Of course there shouldn’t be a need for building more houses, there are far too many already. What there is is far too many people which also makes the UK a very unfair society using more than its fair share of the ecosphere etc.

  4. Sue Doughty
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 11:59 am | Permalink

    Please vote in favour of using our armed forces to interrupt and destroy Daesh’s attempts to kill or maim me here in the UK wherever that intervention may need to be done. The future of Syria is being debated in transnational meetings with a view to having the new Syria being more representative (that means Arab, not a satellite state of Russia).

  5. Louise Brown
    Posted December 1, 2015 at 4:27 pm | Permalink

    Bombing Syria is not the answer, I think Tad and yourself have shared good questions. My only doubt is that we won’t get answers.
    Regards
    Louise

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    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, He graduated from Magdalen College Oxford, has a DPhil and is a fellow of All Souls College. A businessman by background, he has been a director of NM Rothschild merchant bank and chairman of a quoted industrial PLC.

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