The Syria vote

The debate to extend military operations in the Middle East to allow UK bombing in Syria was an important Parliamentary occasion. The government’s motion was approved by a large majority.

I was against the Coalition government’s proposal to attack the Assad government in Syria in 2013, which Parliament blocked. I approached this latest proposal with concerns. I attended various briefings and meetings to understand more of the complex and fragile position in Syria. I had private discussions with senior Ministers and their advisers about their plans.

My first priority is to improve the security of our homeland. I have urged the government to spend more money and effort on policing our borders, and on intelligence gathering so we are aware of movements of people and weaponry that could be used against us here at home. I am pleased the government has now announced extra people and money for counter terrorism research, and is promising better action at our borders. I am still not fully satisfied about border control in view of the way terrorists were able to cross EU internal and external frontiers so easily for the French attacks, and will continue to press for better action in this crucial area.

My second priority was to stress the need for any bombing campaign in Syria to be linked to a ground campaign by forces capable of dislodging ISIS from their strongholds. This force also needs to be able to supply well informed intelligence to those commanding the Allied bombers, both prior to attacking a target and afterwards to report the damage done and whether it was a success. Precision bombing is essential, especially in civilian areas, but is only as good as the intelligence that drives it.
During the discussions I was not satisfied that the Syrian Free Army does represent a competent and available force to recapture Raqqa and to help direct our smart bombs and missiles to targets. The position is different from that in Iraq where we are acting at the request of the Iraqi government and with their ground forces in support. I am not in favour of bombing without a winning strategy that can make things better.

My third priority was to draw government attention to the crucial need for diplomatic and political work to pursue a peace process. I am pleased that the main regional powers, Russia and the USA are now in dialogue. I understand how difficult it is going to be to find a peaceful solution to the Syrian civil war and to find a way of governing Syria in a peaceful and democratic way as one country. The West needs to show understanding of the local and regional forces and needs, and to consider what might be the basis for restoring some law and order and functioning administration in these areas. The Kurds who have proved effective fighters against ISIS will of course want some independent government in the areas they are taking in Iraq and Syria.

The government’s motion was narrow reflecting the concerns many of us had. It limits their action to bombs against ISIS only in Syria, and “acknowledges the importance of seeking to avoid civilian casualties” and accepts that a political strategy is important. I decided however, that without further work on the issues of a political settlement and without credible ground forces to steer and monitor any aerial bombs I was unable to vote for the statement authorising airstrikes immediately, so I did not vote for the motion. I share their wish to pursue peace in Syria and to take action against terrorism and the ISIS threat and agree with the rest of the motion so I did not take the further step of voting against. I left the Commons after the vote with the determination to continue to press for a better political plan for Syria and above all for better control of UK borders at a time of trouble for the Schengen concept.

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98 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 7:23 am | Permalink

    That sounds a very sensible position to take. It is rather surprising that so very few other a Tory MPs saw it the same way.

    It is rather odd that on this bombing I find myself largely on the side of the SNP, Corbyn types, the Greens and the Libdems. How can these parties/people be rational (as I see the situation anyway) on this counter productive bombing and yet so wrong headed on the economy, the EU, the green agenda and almost everything else? It is rather worrying.

    Still some good news. It seems that quietly, behind the scenes, Osborne/Cameron are quietly cutting all the greencrap grants and giving up all the endless waste on the renewable agenda. A shame they have wasted so much on this daft unscientific agenda already. Still importing american bio fuel at double the cost though.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 7:27 am | Permalink
    • Mitchel
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:32 pm | Permalink

      btw,Lifelogic, you should watch Andrew Neil’s show from last night;it featured Corbyn’s brother,a meteorologist who is not just a sceptic but a denier.Even Portillo was moved to express amazement that the BBC had let him on!You would have been in seventh heaven!

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 4:59 am | Permalink

        I shall.

        The BBC’s endless pushing on the climate change exaggeration religion is totally absurd and has been for years. Not just climate change but their high tax, ever large state, ever more EU, anti-development, magic money tree, lefty, PC, bonkers agenda in general.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 6:08 am | Permalink

        My view is that mankind (and indeed co2) does affect the climate, probably on balance making it slightly warmer. Everything people do, build or grow is bound to have some effect. I think these changes are minor in the overall scheme of things. Anyway a little warmer is a net benefit to mankind as is the increased crop yield due to increased C02. Also there are so many factors that as simply unknowable.

        There is certainly no reason to assume that a catastrophic, positive feedback, runaway warming is remotely likely.

        Corbyn’s brother is I think broadly right, especially when he says follow the money. It is largely an excuse for more tax and regulation and to divert public funds into certain private pockets.

        I am perhaps more of the Matt Ridley/lukewarmers school.

        • miami.mode
          Posted December 5, 2015 at 10:50 am | Permalink

          Ll

          Where the overwhelming forces of nature are concerned I think we should all subscribe to the Donald Rumsfeld school of thought on known knowns, known unknowns etc

    • Richard1
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 8:26 pm | Permalink

      I can’t understand the logic of saying if we identify a bunch of jihadi murderers in Iraq we can go ahead and bomb them but if they hop over to the other side of the Syria border – which doesn’t exist and they don’t recognise – then they are immune, at least from the UK? If we can identify these people and their assets why not bomb them before they do the same to us?

      I think it’s very positive the Tories are quietly unwinding green crap. The reason there has been so much of it to date was the libdem influence in the coalition. It makes sense to pay nominal obeisance to the green religion, to forestall attacks by hysterics, whilst quietly getting rid of the most costly policies. The govt can’t overtly come out with Matt Ridley type arguments, it would be like a Victorian MP declaring himself an atheist.

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 10:26 am | Permalink

        I agree with your first paragraph but with the very clear and emphatic caveat that the logic for airstrikes in Syria applies specifically to Syria, as indeed the authorisation just given by MPs applies specifically to Syria.

        Islamic State do not recognise any borders, including those of Turkey, but that doesn’t mean that the RAF should start launching airstrikes against them and their assets in Turkey.

        Likewise with Lebanon, and also Libya where Islamic State is reportedly setting up reserve safe havens, or any other country.

      • DennisA
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

        a bunch of jihadi murderers was identified in Belgium, is the logical conclusion that we bomb Belgium?

        • Richard1
          Posted December 6, 2015 at 10:34 pm | Permalink

          No funnily enough not. Belgium has a government, is a friend and ally of this country, and can be counted on to deal with terrorists just as the Uk would do.

    • stred
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 6:50 pm | Permalink

      Eural may be quietly cutting greencrap subsidies for solar and onshore wind but here are some that are going ahead or being started.

      Lynemouth coal station to be converted to burning US trees, despite the calculations of DECC’s advisor that little CO2 will be saved. The UK is buying 75% of pellets and they are using 50k ton ships, which could be torpedoed easily. American tree lovers are watching to make sure more whole trees are used which could make building timber.

      Offshore wind at double the cost of onshore. 5.1 GW at present. 14 GW in construction or about to be- 10GW by 2020. Dogger Bank approved to have eventual capacity of 24GW.East Anglia approved -cost £2bn. Welsh -£2bn. Dudgeon- £1.5bn. Nearly all foreign owned and manufactured parts.
      re Renewable UK and Catapult- set upby HMG. All will need gas 100% gas backup but no-one wants to build gas station which are taxed and less efficient when shutting on and off. Wave and tidal still receiving loads of money despite minimal returns and firms going bust.

      A task force started to build a £4bn undersea cable to Iceland for us the UK to exchange electricity. They have cheap power- we have expensive. They canuse it more profitably running smelters and chemical plant. Their ethanol can transport energy at lower cost than a cable. re Nature and Euanmearns.

      Greencrap is still being sprayed all over the place.

      • stred
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 6:51 pm | Permalink

        correction- no more trees.

  2. Anonymous
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Thanks, Dr Redwood.

    Indeed. Any foreign mission “to protect our people from terror” sounds completely hollow given the free movement that the terrorists have. One thinks that bombing abroad is a far simpler task than tackling extremism at home.

    The use of ‘Daesh’ over the acronym ISIS seems to let Islam off the hook.

    It isn’t just the terror that is the worry but that this religion seems to be protected by a forcefield of our own creation and that it will – by virtue our own facilitation and timidity -become dominant in British society with or without violence.

    Even relatively moderate Islam conflicts with hard won freedoms and ideals in this country. Its ascendency threatens a reversal of the emancipation of females and homosexuals.

    Only this week a politician was banging on about ‘fisherMEN’ and stating that they should be called ‘fishers’ instead. What madness in a society that turns a blind eye to FGM and the complete subordination of women.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 12:48 am | Permalink

      BTW.

      I’m astonished to hear that politicians who elected to send young people into war zones have been reduced to tears by a few harsh words on Twitter.

      This shows that they were unworthy of making a decision to send troops to war.

  3. Dame Rita Webb
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 7:30 am | Permalink

    Meanwhile in another important vote this week, around 20% of the votes cast came via a postal ballot ….

    • Leslie Singleton
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 4:33 pm | Permalink

      Dear Rita–Yes indeed–What happened to the obvious correctness and appropriateness of the total privacy of the ballot booth? Why isn’t it unarguable that if someone in a position of authority, in particular, but not only, within a family, is so minded he is going to be able to apply pressure that he could not do if everybody within his family or whatever voted truly in private. And while we are at it Tom Watson should apply his investigative skills to understanding what sour grapes means for there is no question of Nigel Farage walking away saying he didn’t want the ‘grapes’, far from it.

  4. Alan Wheatley
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 7:44 am | Permalink

    I thought the inclusion of the word “exclusively” towards the end of the motion showed that bombs would be directed only at ISIS. This struck me as in marked contrast to the PM’s statement in the Commons a few days earlier, when it seems his priority for Syria was regime change, and that ISIS was but a necessary preliminary.

    It is difficult to know what is to be done for the best. On the one hand it makes no sense to restrict ones response to those attacking us to one side of a border not recognised by those attackers. On the other hand the objective and the strategy are not properly addressed, leaving much doubt as to where we are heading and where it will all end. Clarity is not helped by disagreement between all parties involved on every side; other than by ISIS, of course, where fanaticism matches objective.

    But my main concern about the debate is why it was happening at all. In any event, why on that particular motion. Surely to bomb or not to bomb is a military tactical decision. Politics should be about much higher objectives, not about telling the military what they can and cannot do on the battlefield.

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:39 pm | Permalink

      Don’t you recall Cameron’s reprimand to our Generals a few years back (over Afghanistan,if I recall correctly)?:”You do the fighting and I’ll do the talking”.

      We don’t want anyone straying from the narrative…like questioning the phantom army of 70,000 of moderate rebels…do we?

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

        Well another counter productive war on a lie, but not anywhere as evil a lie as Blair’s weapons of mass destruction that can be used in hours (oh but I did not bother to ask the experts what sort of weapons these were).

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 10:47 am | Permalink

      I don’t think it could be left to the military to decide whether or not to attack Islamic State targets on the territory of a country which the politicians have previously agreed will be a member of NATO and therefore officially an ally.

      I am assuming that there may well be such targets over the border in Turkey, either willingly tolerated by the Turkish government or elements of the Turkish state apparatus, or not willingly tolerated but just too difficult for the Turks to deal with for whatever reasons military or political.

      One can really view that as one prefers, given the possibly true or possibly false claims that the/some Turks are actively assisting Islamic State.

      But either way there would have to be a political decision about how to deal with that problem, a decision taken at the highest levels of government; obviously it could not be left to the RAF chiefs to decide whether or not certain areas of Turkey should become part of the battlefield.

  5. Gary
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 7:45 am | Permalink

    if Hammond’s answer to Skinner in the foreign affairs debate is govt policy, then no way are we going to bomb Isis, rather we are going to disrupt the Russians from bombing Isis.

    • Dame Rita Webb
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

      Its becoming rapidly apparent that this has got nothing much to do with Syria. The Bundestag has now allowed Mrs Ferkel to join in too. While most frighteningly of all Turkey is now starting to hinder Russian shipping passing through the Bosphorus.

  6. Ian wragg
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 8:26 am | Permalink

    So you wish to strengthen our borders. Is that to stop the 2000 daily coming to settle or prevent the head bangers leaving for Syria.
    It’s Tory policy to displace the indigenous population and Islamise Britain.
    Gideon says he needs 1.3 million more on the payroll by 2020 to maintain the illusion of growth.

  7. bluedog
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    “I left the Commons after the vote with the determination to continue to press for a better political plan for Syria…” But with respect, Dr JR, are you not confusing two completely separate issues. The conflict between the Syrian government of Assad and various Syrian rebel groups is one thing. The emergence of IS as a force opposed to both Assad and the various Syrian rebels (including the Kurds) is a different thing. The British government clearly recognises this distinction and furthermore understands that absolutely everyone wants a political settlement and peace in Syria. However, with IS controlling very large areas of Syria, and IS is not a Syrian faction, it is clearly extremely hard to obtain peace in Syria. Solution: drive IS out of Syria. Bombing IS in Syria, just as we bomb them in Iraq, is a procedural step towards peace. At a guess, and if it helps, Assad is almost certainly delighted by the concerted efforts by outside powers to remove IS from Syria.

    Reply The two problems are related. If the West could trust the Syrian government and work with them it would make dealing with ISIS a lot easier. That is going to take political change in Syria of a kind to be determined.

    • Tom William
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:56 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply. What you say is true but surely it is better to degrade ISIL in Syria as well as Iraq? Legally there may be a difference, and it looks as if some sort of co-operation with the Russians is essential (and, realistically, through them to Assad, or a Syrian govt.), but ISIL are a threat to us and the western world and to impose a boundary as to where we can bomb them may be legalistic, but is unrealistic. The UN has authorised “all measures” and our traditional allies are also taking part.

      The government of Iraq may have asked us to help but many of their opponents, other than ISIL, are as extreme as in Syria.

      How much is Turkey a real ally? Should its membership of NATO, designed for another era, cause us to defend it when it is in the wrong?

      • bluedog
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 10:25 am | Permalink

        One of the more interesting weekly roundups of events in the Middle East is that prepared by the Israeli website debkafile. What goes on is truly amazing, and in the context of your remarks about Turkey, quite alarming. In the first instance it seems that the Russians have immediately airlifted their new S400 anti-aircraft missiles to their base at Latakia, causing the US and Israel to stop flights over Syria. After the initial feu de joie, one suspects the RAF will be on the tarmac in Cyprus too. Russian aircraft have done two things that could have wider implications. To the north they have apparently destroyed any Turkish military vehicle entering Syria. To the south they have provided air cover to Iranian forces approaching the Golan Heights south of Damascus. Given these activities, it seems impossible to negotiate a political settlement in Syria at present. Indeed, the tensions seem to be rising considerably, with the Russians doing every thing they can to bait the Turks.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 6, 2015 at 2:28 am | Permalink

        “Degrade”, why not just say what you mean rather than use these gentile euphemisms?

  8. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    There won’t be a plan that the West can implement…will there? Unless of course the EU starts chucking huge amounts of money at Syria and that’ll satisfy their foolish plan(s). And I don’t think S. Arabia will be of any use other than to smash that state to their lawless ways. And they won’t address their belief system that calls for helping the brothers….no surprise!

    BBC R4 this am trying to bend the story of fighters (boots) on the ground. There are different VI’s on the ground thats for sure.Russia, whether anybody likes it or not is supporting an elected head, so I’d go along with that at the moment until Daesh and friends are eradicated…not that it will be, ever. Don’t let another Ukraine happen!

    The plan after Daesh will be as before Daesh plus an awful lot of bricklaying. Just keep the EU/UN and UK out of it.

    The plan to cut the financial legs off Daesh has taken too long to be realised and I’d say if that indicates planning style then VI’s are again afoot. We shall see..at least Russia is flushing it all out! The wailing in the HoC was absolutely terrible and certainly showed the useless state of the SNP.

  9. botogol
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 8:43 am | Permalink

    I got the impression that far too many MPs – on both side – approached that vote thinking less about the matter in hand, and more of whipping, the future of Jeremy Corbyn and the use of the phrase ‘terrorist sympathisers’. Bravo for voting (or not voting) on the issues.

  10. miami.mode
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 8:51 am | Permalink

    … I am still not fully satisfied about border control in view of the way terrorists were able to cross EU internal and external frontiers so easily for the French attacks…..

    Totally agree with your stance and with your above statement. Mr Cameron constantly refers to the Paris attacks and the fact they could happen here, but is he therefore saying that it is as easy to smuggle Kalashnikovs and other arms into the UK as it is to drive around the motorways of the Schengen area?

    The US and UK claim leadership in world finance so surely efforts should be directed at depriving ISIS of their finance through the banking system.

    • agricola
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      To the best of my knowledge Muslims do not use the western banking system because they do not wish to pay or earn interest. I am not au fait with how they get around this, but it has led to them having their own banks presumably interlinked with similar banks throughout the Middle East. This would enable ISIL and their supporters to conduct transactions for oil and arms beyond the view of the western banking system. Whether their activities are detectable by the intelligence community is a different matter.

      reply It is unlikely Isis terrorists use western bank accounts for these purposes but the people who buy the oil from them might have.

      • miami.mode
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 11:47 am | Permalink

        agricola

        Thanks for that, but it then begs the question of why our friends in the Middle East who we are trying to help would not spill the beans or perhaps they are not really friends at all.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted December 6, 2015 at 2:25 am | Permalink

        They get round it by charging interest in a different contrived way, then deceiving themselves and calling it something else.

  11. agricola
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:07 am | Permalink

    A very credible decision on your part. To await a well thought out long term strategy, involving troops on the ground and a coherent political plan involving Russia, USA, France and ourselves is acceptable. I would have chosen to bomb, in that our direct involvement gives us a voice in the final settlement. Absence weakens our influence and distances us from support of our neighbour France.

    As part of that plan I would like to see, as ISIL are further degraded and confined, an increasing number of safe havens created within Syria for refugees. The ultimate goal being to re-locate, all those Syrians who have fled to Europe, back to their own country. We need to consider how both Japan and Germany were brought back to civilised behaviour after WW2 and how their economies were rebuilt to the point where the fascism that failed them is no longer a nostalgic thought, in fact is an anathema.

    • Mitchel
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:45 pm | Permalink

      “….a voice in the final settlement….”your point is well made.Information on the ground war seems to be sparse but it does seem the various terrorist forces are being pushed out of some of their positions,with the Syrian Army apparently poised for an assault on Palmyra and the Russians about to open a second air base to offer close ground support to operations elsewhere.Maybe I am being cynical but Cameron’s haste this week has a whiff of the race to Berlin about it.

      • majorfrustration
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 9:54 am | Permalink

        Agree – its all about image or as they say in the US “a chip in the game”

    • forthurst
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:32 pm | Permalink

      There are about 11 million Syrian refugees, only about 3 million of which have left Syria, the remainder having been displaced internally. Thanks to the successful campaign of the Syrian government and its allies, particularly Russia, refugees are beginning to return to their homes, albeit finding them somewhat the worse for wear. As far as the UK and Europe is concerned, the return of Syrian refugees should be the priority, although that is not the priority of the neo-Trotskyites running US foreign policy nor of the regional supporters of Daesh and Jabhat al Nusra; nor is it the priority of the so-called ‘moderate’ opposition which has rather more in common with the Muslim Brotherhood, declared a terrorist organistation by Egypt, who are rather more keen on a sectarian society, perhaps along the lines of the Caliphate of the Ottoman Empire; unfortunately, that would mean that Europe would have to accommodate millions of Shi’ites and Christians who would not fit in and whose lives would be endangered further.

      • forthurst
        Posted December 4, 2015 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

        Incidentally, why would the Syrian people want us to be involved in the ‘final settlement’? Who else should we drop bombs on in order to influence their future system of government?

  12. The Prangwizard
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:12 am | Permalink

    As i wrote yesterday it seems in this imperfect world you demand perfection before you risk a decision. The logic of your position is that all bombing should stop. It also follows that you are prepared as a result to risk IS expansion as it is surely foolish for anyone claim it is making no difference.

    They have friends at high level and much other support in Turkey. Would you sit on your hands again if they expanded there and moved on having acquired an Islamist army from there.

    Would you have voted abstained in 1939 because we didn’t have target spotters in Germany?

    Reply No, of course I would not have abstained in 1939, and trust I would have been pressing for much earlier action against Germany with Churchill in the 1930s. Who knows what any of us will wish to do if ISIL get into Turkey as you suggest – that would depend on the views of the legal Turkish government who remain a NATO member. I do not believe we can defeat ISIL by bombing, and to follow your logic we should also be bombing them in Libya and elsewhere, as they have already spread beyond Syria and Iraq. MY view is where a threat to the UK is direct and substantial as with Germany in the C20 and France in the late C18 you declare war and fight whatever your starting point, and you build up the information and military resources to win as soon as you can. Where the threat is not immediate and massive, and or where the civil war or battle is not our direct battle, then you consider carefully if you haver the power and intelligence to intervene successfully before intervening, and also consider how you get out afterwards leaving things better. I would of course have fought the Falklands and Kuwait liberation wars we prosecuted successfully but think there are more difficult questions to answer about more recent Middle East conflicts, especially in Iraq.

  13. stred
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:16 am | Permalink

    I have quite a good nose for BS and whenever Eural is on the move there is plenty to sniff. Following the vote the RAF were out ther blasting the ISOIL wells to smithereens within hours. Cheers, the British are coming! Then someone mentioned that the job may take a long time, even years. So I googled ‘Syrian oilfields number of wells’ and found a useful publication called Al Monitor.

    The Kurds two years ago controlled much of the oilfields but now Isis have 80%. There are over 1300 wells. The RAF blew up a few, at £100k a pop. £1300,000,000 is rather a lot of money, and that does not include the airfare. Almost every rebel group has been selling the stuff and the area , developed by Shell was producing up tp 160k barrels. No wonder Al Whatever is very rich.

    The idea that the rebel army of 70,000 would be on the way soon to turf out ISIL/IS/ISIS/DAESH/HEADJOBTATE/NUTTERLAND or whatever we have to call them today is also weapons grade BS. They are fighting for their lives against the Syrian army and the Iranians hundreds of miles away. One piece of very good news, if it is true, is that one of their generals has resigned and a truce is on the way. re Al Monitor. If this happens, it will be the much larger Syrian army that clears up the mess, with the help of mainly Russian bombs, which cost less, but unfortunately kill more civilians.

    Which company makes the RAF missiles? How is the share price doing?

    • Qubus
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

      Too many noughts…!

      • stred
        Posted December 6, 2015 at 9:49 pm | Permalink

        Ooops. Only 130 million plus airfare to wreck the well heads. Then, when the free Syrians regain control they can rebuild them with aid from the west. The oil tankers have already been attacked and presumably the trade has been stopped.

  14. Bert Young
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:17 am | Permalink

    The views made in this morning’s blog certainly echo how I think about the Syrian mess .Bombing – no matter how precise and intelligence led ,will not end the scourge of ISIS or the spread of its evil elsewhere . The danger of bombing to the civilians in Syria cannot be ignored , it is bound to cause deaths and massive destruction .

    Cameron will not be in an influential position in a few years and has only considered the short term in his stupid push to engage the RAF ; his decision will be as much a scar as the Iraq involvement is to Blair . We – the public , ought not to be seen at fault in this decision and , when the voting comes back to us again , will show our thoughts .

  15. oldtimer
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:18 am | Permalink

    Thank you for setting out your reasoned position on the Syrian resolution. That sounds reasonable to me. On balance I supported the resolution even though the military argument is slim, being reduced to “degrading” Daesh/ISIL as opposed to “defeating” it and resting on a relatively minor extension of the existing authorisation. It seems to me that the politcal aspects are even more important and are as far from resolution as the military – and probably even more difficult to resolve. Perhaps one day we will make progress beyond gesture actions and posturing statements.

  16. DaveM
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:21 am | Permalink

    You’re quite right. As long as we’re in the EU and have no control over borders, and the ECHR prevents us from deporting enemies immediately, we can’t protect ourselves, which is surely a fundamental human right in itself?

    It’s akin to having a riot in your street, then going out to try and get rid of the rioters whilst at the same time leaving all your doors open and not being able to eject people who walk through them. Idiocy.

    • Anonymous
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 12:30 am | Permalink

      Dave M – Or akin to sending out the cavalry when the Apaches are already in the fort.

  17. majorfrustration
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:37 am | Permalink

    The only reason for the bombing is to restore Camerons standing with the likes of France and America. The “70000 army” is a mith. How many times have we been told that by disposing of “the current despot” then the population will rise up – it just does not happen, It just gives the Arabs room to fight amongst themselves.

  18. Mark
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

    It’s good to see an MP doing his job properly: informing himself, consulting the public, and reasoning out sensible policy. I trust that as events unfold, ministers will come to understand the wisdom of your more logical approach, which I support.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

      It was the more ‘logical approach’ that prevented Mr Cameron arming the so called Syrian ‘rebels’or ‘moderates’ back in 2013. ISIS would be even better armed now if Cameron hadn’t been stopped. ISIS are awash with US supplied weapons from cack handed dumping and captured weapons.

      http://www.channel4.com/news/syria-civil-war-rebels-arm-weapons-david-cameron-backbench

      If Mr Cameron was misguided then what has changed?. Yesterday he presented an ‘unconvincing’ case involving his rag-tag pick up truck army of so called ‘moderates’ about which he and us know very little. On this, the gravest decision any PM has to take, why are so many willing to listen to him now ?.

  19. Timaction
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    …………….and what is the Government doing about the enemy returning from IS? Nothing!
    More political correctness anyone.

  20. Mitchel
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 10:07 am | Permalink

    I caught RT’s current affairs programme “Crosstalk” before leaving this morning;it was quite the best discussion I have heard on the current Syrian situation,featuring guests with deep knowledge of the issues and I would recommend it to anyone with a keen interest in the geopolitics of the region.

    • Chris
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 2:22 pm | Permalink

      I agree with you about the quality of some of the interviewees and reports on RT – Peter Ford and very recently Professor Paul Rogers on Cameron/Syria/Turkey. Far surpasses some of the BBC and Sky coverage which often seems lightweight and even further dumbed down by irritating music.

      • Tom William
        Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

        The same can be said about the English language Al Jazeera.

    • stred
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 6:03 pm | Permalink

      There was an RT programme after lunch today in which Sopie Shevardnaze interviewed a young woman who had escaped from ISIS thugs who used them as sex slaves and sold them to each other. She said they had escaped during bombing raids but these had largely stopped in Iraq. The most appalling part of the interview was about the activities of western women who had joined IS and joined in the mistreatment. They and Christian women may be held in Syria too.

      Some Arabic website is reporting that there may be a truce between the Syrian army and the Free Syrian army and there may be a possibility of a credible force to release these poor women and others. Someone who had escaped talked to the BBC today and also thought bombing actually helped, if it avoided civilians. He said there was no electricity. Perhaps the internet connections could be destroyed too.

  21. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 10:10 am | Permalink

    It seems a bit pointless to rehearse all the arguments for and against the RAF extending its airstrikes against Islamic State from Iraq into Syria, when over the coming months it should become clear whether doing this has in fact served any useful purpose which justifies the obvious immediate risk to our service personnel and their aircraft and the indirect risk to people back home in the UK.

    It will be in order for MPs to monitor the situation and ask for evidence that important Islamic State targets have been found, that attacks on those targets have been effective, and that the casualties among innocent inhabitants have been minimised.

    I presume this is already being done with respect to RAF airstrikes in Iraq?

    As far as ground control of RAF airstrikes is concerned, the motion which has just been passed by MPs “notes the government will not deploy UK troops in ground combat operations”, but I think we know from Iraq that this will not be interpreted so strictly that it will exclude small numbers of special forces being embedded with the various groups fighting against Islamic State to call up airstrikes when appropriate, as well as small numbers of trainers and advisers being deployed away from combat areas.

  22. Atlas
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 10:29 am | Permalink

    Well John, given the outcome of the vote I suppose all we can do now is ‘suck it and see’. By the way: I agree with your analysis and decision.

  23. Vanessa
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    I was dead against bombing Syria. I cannot think of a country in the middle East where we have gone in with the intention of “getting rid” of some warring nutters and to install democracy only to leave the country completely destroyed for the people of that country.

    It does not work but only makes the British government of the time feel better that we are doing our bit. It certainly does not make us, here in Britain, safer nor does it install democracy as we know it and nor should it. These countries have tribal communities which are probably democratic in their way which we do not understand.

  24. Denis Cooper
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 10:40 am | Permalink

    “continue to press for a better political plan for Syria”

    I’m not sure that this is really any of our business unless it is going to end up with a new situation which represents an even greater threat to our national interests and those of our reliable allies. But then despite its NATO membership I’m not even sure that we should count Turkey as one of those reliable allies.

    I don’t envy those who must try to find an enduring political settlement when there are people who are still not prepared to agree to differ over the events of 632 AD and live in peace with each other notwithstanding, and there are others who haven’t forgotten that their forefathers were disappointed in their hopes of a separate nation state after the collapse of the Ottoman Empire and who still aspire to assemble the territory for that state not just from parts of Iraq and Syria but also parts of Turkey, and so on.

    However I am clear that Islamic State, self-proclaimed as the kernel of a global caliphate, cannot be part of any new political settlement, it must be destroyed.

  25. Kenneth
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 10:52 am | Permalink

    I don’t understand why Isis is a threat to the UK.

    • forthurst
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm | Permalink

      …but you do understand why this lying government needed to make the claim in order to win the vote?

    • Richard1
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 8:39 am | Permalink

      What about the murder of British tourists in Tunisia, the murder of 132 people – including a British citizen – in France, our neighbour, friend and ally of 120 years standing, the 7 plots the security services have uncovered over the last year, ISIS’s avowed intention to ferment revolution in democracies like the UK and a takeover by Islamist rule? What do ISIS need to do more to convince you they are a threat to the UK?

  26. David Cockburn
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 11:04 am | Permalink

    By abstaining you do not walk through the lobby with some traitorious people, even if they are not all so and are not all terrorist sympathisers.
    However it was also important for there to be wide support for the motion in order to progress further the destruction of the Labour party in its current form.

    Reply The debate and vote was about our safety and the future of our country in a wider international community, not about the future of the Labour party.

    • Ken Moore
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 1:43 pm | Permalink

      Reply The debate and vote was about our safety and the future of our country in a wider international community, not about the future of the Labour party.

      I agree with Dr Redwood the vote was about our safety.

      Are we really ‘safer now’ as Mr Hammond said after the Syria vote?. His reasoning seems to be that we are already a prime target..so the threat can’t get any worse. Utter rubbish.

      ISIL released a statement that France would remain a terror target as long as they are ‘striking the Muslims in the land of the Caliphate with their planes’.

      The notion that a few extra planes added by the UK can make a significant impact is risible…ISIL are potentially everywhere hiding under a cloak of political correctness.
      Airstrikes just make us more of a target for terrorists as Mr Cameron struts on the world stage like a puffed up bullfrog.

  27. Mitchel
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 11:10 am | Permalink

    “The Kurds……will of course want independent government in the areas they are taking in Iraq and Syria”.Our good friends,allies and fellow Europeans,the Turks,won’t like that.Is Mr Cameron going to propose it (not that Syrian or Iraqi sovereign territory is at his disposal)?

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

      Well this is a problem which is likely to come up later if we rely on the Kurds to do the fighting on the ground. It wouldn’t be surprising if they then said that their men, and women as well, had shed their blood in that cause, and so they had earned the right for their nation to finally have the independent state that their forefathers wanted. And I can’t say that I would blame them if they did refuse to leave territory they had liberated and unilaterally declared it to be a sovereign independent nation state. But of course there is no way that the Turks would agree to release those parts of Turkey which the Kurds might demand as part of their new state.

      • Mitchel
        Posted December 5, 2015 at 1:54 pm | Permalink

        Well I wouldn’t blame the Kurds either but I don’t believe the Turks will be willing to countenance an independent Kurdistan adjacent to their own Kurdish territories and as the US probably sees Turkey as its prime proxy in what is in effect a “war” with Russia in the region I would be surprised if it backed a proposal that the Turks were dead set against.

      • Mark
        Posted December 6, 2015 at 8:36 am | Permalink

        Turkey did far more to re-write borders and create the patchwork quilt of sects and ethnicities than any other coloniser of these parts since the Romans. Perhaps it’s time to sort out the mess they originally made.

  28. Francis Lankester
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 11:13 am | Permalink

    I simply cannot see the logic in bombing in Iraq-to properly save Yezidis and Kurds, but in support of an incompetent Iraqi government; with their permission of course, and sectarian Shiite militia whose presence strikes fear into Sunni Iraqis. They are the real recruiting sergeants for Islamic State, not the bombing. It is the sectarian foundation of much of this area which causes so many problems. Who will deal with that?

    Assad’s opponents are under double threat, from the regime/Russian bombing IS. So they need some support. Not supporting (limited) airstrikes against Assad previously was a huge mistake. That was the last chance to pursuade Assad to leave, keep the state machine in place-unlike Iraq, and start negotiations. The result is another 100,000 dead.

    Of course we should have considerable sympathy for MP’s. Doing nothing can turn out to be equally damaging as taking action so their task is often hard. But taking those kinds of decisions is what we elect and pay them for.

  29. Iain gill
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 11:22 am | Permalink

    The government needs to put much more thought and effort into avoiding the environment which leads to home grown terrorists. We need much more integration and so on.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 11:28 am | Permalink

      Indeed, but if anything the politics is making the politicians go the other way with more religious state schooling cleavages, segregations by area and the government/BBC diversity agenda, loopy lefty bishops and other token religious people in the House of Lords.

      Plus the appalling laws protecting irrational belief systems from any criticism by law.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 11:30 am | Permalink

      It’s difficult to integrate people who don’t want to integrate.

      The British have themselves been guilty of this during some, but not all, periods of the colonial era; at one time in India the British men had no problems about entering into genuine and lasting marriages with local women and a mixed race Anglo-Indian community began to grow up – in fact it still exists in India, as a small constitutionally recognised minority group, presently estimated as 80,000 – 125,000 individuals – until there was a change of attitude, such liaisons were no longer officially or socially approved, and instead British women were taken out, often to die much earlier than they should have done.

      Personally I rather resent the fact that there are some members of immigrant groups who would automatically regard my children as unsuitable spouses for their children, and in extreme cases would even kill their own children rather than see them marry outside the group, and insist upon importing spouses from their countries of origin.

      People of different groups may or may not like each other very much but it is unusual if they do not love their grandchildren even if half of their genes have come from outside the group, and that shared investment in a future generation usually means that they will be prepared to at least tolerate their in-laws even if they never really warm to them, and that process of inter-group marriage is the surest if not the fastest way to bring about integration.

  30. formula57
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 11:58 am | Permalink

    Thank you for setting out your views and more particularly for your efforts to steer government policy on a better course.

    It would be a pity if Mr Cameron were to earn the opprobrium and epithet of “war criminal” in the way another has done. A good start has been made, however, in making this Syrian adventure proof against a future Chilcot since who can say what it is supposed to achieve and why, what will represent success and what criteria will be used to say when it ends or how we judge what comes in its wake?

  31. LondonBob
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 12:05 pm | Permalink

    The largely symbolic bombing in Syria mustn’t become an excuse not to take the more important action in regards to border security/immigration, as well as the diplomatic efforts to press for a settlement between the warring parties. I am pleased to see us backing away from the ludicrous Assad must go stance, although this seems to be more determined by facts on the ground rather than an outbreak of pragmatism/realism in our foreign policy agenda.

  32. Ian Heath
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    So you abstained. Probably a wise choice. It is clear that your instincts were to vote against but the politics made it difficult to do so. I hope I am wrong, but I fear that we will live to rue the day Parliament made such a grave decision primarily on the grounds of being seen to do something in support our allies. I also fear we may have now lost the moral high ground in trying to broker a deal between the belligerent parties. Benn’s speech was stirring but high in rhetoric. However, he was right on one thing, it’s no good talking to Daesh. We need to be able to deal with all the other parties though and to challenge Turkey and the gulf states on their role.

  33. Amanda
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Well done Mr Redwood – an honourable man.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 11:39 am | Permalink

      Alas they comprise only about 10% of the house of commons it seems, given how they tend to vote and the drivel they say. Perhaps because most wise men would, by very virtue of their wisdom, aspire to politics.

      Or as it has been put before:- Anyone aspiring to be a politician shows themselves to be almost certainly rather unsuitable for the job. They usually are the sorts who want to boss people around, waste their money, draw attention to themselves, bomb people, lie to the public, rat on promises made, ram religion down people or save the world from non existent threats (wasting £billions in the process). Perhaps the best thing would be to select MPs at random but with an screening IQ test, they would surely be far more varied, in tune with sense and rather better at the job.

  34. DaveM
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 12:35 pm | Permalink

    Further to my earlier comment and one I made a couple of days ago, I have just heard Mrs May saying that access to flight nominals and the prevention of arms trafficking is crucial in preventing terrorist attacks.

    No, HS. The people and weapons are here already, or they are coming through Europe on false passports. What is crucial is robust border control, political resolve to eject asylum seekers immediately, and the abilty to arrest and/or deport potential terrorists.

    Once again, there is a reliance on abstract, minimum-effort solutions and the refusal to toughen up and tackle the problem head on.

  35. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 1:47 pm | Permalink

    One MP in the Syria debate got it embarrassingly factually wrong of just who Labour, Tory,SNP and others think are “our” allies. MPs did correct him but visibly winced.
    He got to vote nevertheless.

    Such MPs and governments dictating foreign policy and military action based on their ability in real terms to convince a bored electorate to vote for them primarily on whether they wish or wish not to buy their council house is no way to decide on “to kill or not to kill ”
    One hopes that behind the burlesque of what we hold to be a representative parliament there are what HM The Queen famously termed “Forces about which we know nothing” who hold the total reins of power and are not (behaving badly ed) You may call me a dreamer… but I fear I’m the only one.

    • CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:14 pm | Permalink

      Before your “edit” JR, I’d already taken out the important bit and central thrust of what I wanted to say.

  36. BobE
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 1:51 pm | Permalink

    I don’t understand why we don’t compel Turkey to stop buying ISIS oil and also allowing them free passage across Turkey?

    • fedupsoutherner
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

      I can’t for the life of me think why Turkey has been invited into the EU when they are supporting ISIS by buying their oil. Has Europe gone mad or perhaps I should ask has the madness got worse? Agree with all you say today John. Why aren’t you PM?

  37. Margaret
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

    The London bombings marked danger in the UK. Terrorists and their activities are not true to their name; they don’t have British rules. They would change their title to suit the latest bombing project. It is destruction of the west as they look with glee at the damage. It is jealously and hatred. They sometimes call themselves ISIS if it suits.

  38. Qubus
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

    If ISIL really gets so much of its finance from selling oil, why have these oil-fields not been completely disrupted long before now? Surely, it cannot be that difficult to hit immobile targets, and if the oil is being delivered by tankers, as opposed to a pipeline, why not just blow up the motorways?
    We are told that the US have had nearly 3,00o bombing sorties over Iraq/Syria. What have they been doing exactly? And what difference will an extra 4-8 aircraft make, even with their Brimstone missiles ?

    • stred
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 5:24 am | Permalink

      The oil trade has been going on throughout the civil war. The Kurds used to have control, now ISOIL. There are something like 1300 well heads to blow up at £100k a piece. The Russians and Americans have been blowing up some of the tankers and roads,but only recently. Why the US had not acted sooner is an interesting question. The trade has helped the Turkish economy, presumably,while denying the benefit to the Allouites. Which tribe do you back?

  39. A.Sedgwick
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 4:52 pm | Permalink

    I empathise with the dilemma you eloquently identify. This whole parliamentary exercise seemed about satisfying loyalty to our closest allies. I note today the German Parliament has given token support but not much more. Mr. Cameron’s reported comments were unsavoury and uncalled for if the context was as his detractors are suggesting. As I have described him before he is a political opportunist rather than a leader. A much more politically honest approach would have been either to have taken an executive decision outside Parliament or to have concentrated on the ally solidarity argument rather than the longwinded and flimsy justifications e.g. supporting the dubious 70,000 freedom fighters.

  40. JoeSoap
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 4:55 pm | Permalink

    Basically I agree with your position. I guess had everybody abstained, there would be no bombing.

    However finally you have to either press a button or not. Given that you weren’t ready to press the bombing button, I’d have thought a vote against was a more logical position, declaring at the same time that the government could come back later once they had taken the measures you indicated.

  41. Mactheknife
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 5:17 pm | Permalink

    Schengen is dead…the Germans saw to that by unilaterally opening European borders to migrants. Therefore we must concentrate on our own border security, particularly as those immigrants the Germans have allowed to stay, probably numbering in the hundred’s of thousands, will no doubt have free movement within the EU after a settlement period and the award of German citizenship.

    What measures are the government planning for when this happens Mr Redwood ?

  42. Chris
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 5:42 pm | Permalink

    Very interesting information coming apparently from the MoD regarding Cameron’s claim about the 70,000 Syrian fighters:
    Apparently Ministry of Defence (MoD) sources warned Prime Minister David Cameron that his claim there are 70,000 Syrian fighters ready to take on Islamic State was misleading before the House of Commons debate on whether to engage in airstrikes.

    Note that Cameron was apparently told before the debate. Reminiscent of the WMD in 45 mins claim that Blair used to garner support for action? If this claim is true, this behaviour is not worthy of a Prime Minister, I think. It merely reinforces the view that he is being reckless and will use any soundbites to get support. Which members of Cabinet rigorously challenged him on this assertion before the debate? None apparently.

    • Chris
      Posted December 4, 2015 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

      Link to article expanding on this claim about the MoD, is:
      http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/ministry-defence-warned-david-cameron-6950297

    • Ken Moore
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 9:33 am | Permalink

      I can’t believe intellectual giants such as Amber Rudd , Nicky Morgan and Oliver Letwin haven’t taken Cameron to task over this.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted December 5, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      At least the 70,000 lie is only being used to argue that it is not necessary for our troops to go into Syria in order for airstrikes to have a good effect, while conversely the 45 minutes lie was used to argue that it was essential for our troops take part in a full scale invasion of Iraq. It’s much easier to just stop making air attacks if they are failing than it is to extricate ground forces once they have been committed.

  43. Chris S
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 6:38 pm | Permalink

    I have some sympathy for the position you took however I would have voted in favour.

    I appreciate the bad precedent set my Blair and his dodgy dossier, however the PM appears to be a far more honest and sincere politician and I have huge respect for Mr Hammond, The Foreign Secretary. I would have given them the benefit of the doubt.

    As for Corbyn, Livingstone and McDonnell, The PM was certainly right to call those three apologists for terrorists – their record with the IRA and Palestinian groups is evidence enough. However there are others who voted against who do not deserve that accusation.
    The insult should have been as tightly focused as the warhead of a Brimstone missile.

    As for our borders. : clearly they need beefing up. Surely the time has come for security checks to be just as tightly focused on likely suspects only. It is lunacy to waste time applying the same checks to an 80 year old white widow as to a 25 yr old in Islamic dress.

    Any loyal and reasonable person would accept that this is a waste of resources for no reason other than political correctness.

  44. Maureen Turner
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 6:41 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for expanding on your thinking re the vote on Wednesday evening.

    It was good to learn that you put homeland security at the top of your priorities as for some time now it has appeared this was merely an afterthought by our government. Funding for extra counter terrorism research is helpful but this is surely a lengthy process and our
    concerns are for the immediate future.

    If the EU’s inflexibility is such that in times of threat no member country is allowed to close its borders because of some Treaty or other previously signed off then surely that in itself is grounds for divorce. Why should we be sitting ducks for their destructive Project.

    The result of the vote to go ahead with air strikes was much greater than expected but is so limited in its scope just what can the UK’s contribution be other than – something had to be seen to be done – rather than bringing some special expertise to help crush IS apart from a high-tech missile that can hit a moving vehicle.

    Does anyone know in this ever changing alliance of nations what they want to see assuming the only constant is ie., the removal of IS? The West seems to consider Islamic nations will eventually embrace democracy when recent past experience tells us it’s a hard sell. Perhaps the best analogy is we have found ourselves caught up in what the Police call a domestic – not a husband and wife one but a tribal one with territorial ambitions that go back for centuries. IS is just another faction in all of this ghastly mess but they have turned their hatred on the West and they must as the PM has repeatedly said be destroyed.

    Mr. Daniel Hannan has an excellent piece easily found on Speaking for England re the EU,
    (Cats), Flags and the making of Jihadis in Belgium. I found it a rather wistful article.

  45. mike fowle
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

    Your decision seems the most sensible and indeed honourable one. Until we clearly define our objectives and frankly our enemy which is the religion of peace as the BBC insist on calling it, we shall never win. Why don’t the Tories take action against the BBC, a dangerous enemy not just of the Tories but of the whole country?

  46. forthurst
    Posted December 4, 2015 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

    What is extraordinary is that the whole discussion appears to have been conducted without reference to the fact that since Russia joined the fray, considerable progress has already be made in the elimination of terrorists from Syria by the recapture of territory held by terrorist groups; yet, CMD avers that we may need to be in Syria for three years: why?

    Why does the HoC think it has the right to bomb Syria? Presumably the Russian airforce has an agreed strategy with the government of Syria, yet CMD believes it is vital for us to bomb Raqaa independently; the Russian bombing campaign against Raqaa has already been so successful that the Daesh top brass fled about two weeks ago. The people of Raqaa might like a respite from aerial bombardment, especially by those who have no actual intelligence as to where any remaining Daesh assets are located; what the people of Raqaa require is relief by ground troops slightly more substantial than CMD’s phantom army of 70,000.

  47. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted December 5, 2015 at 3:19 am | Permalink

    Suppose that, as a result of bombing and losing finance, ISIL is to a degree militarily degraded and its territory begins to shrink. Who will occupy the surrendered territory? There are many candidates – the Syrian army (pro Assad), the Free Syrian Army and its allies (anti Assad), the Turks (potentially), the Kurds, the Iranian army and its Shia malitias. Once ISIL’s territory has shrunk sufficiently, several of these will be at each other throats.

    What do we expect ‘moderate’ Sunni Moslems to settle for if ISIL is being defeated? Would they settle for a share of government in the old Syria and Iraq? Or would they still want a Sunni Caliphate, less extreme than ISIL?

    When would the fighting stop and diplomacy start?

    Have David Cameron and ‘the international community’ even begun to address these issues?

  48. Ken Moore
    Posted December 5, 2015 at 9:22 am | Permalink

    If only Cameron had engaged parliament in a 10 hour nail biting debate about dealing swiftly & harshly with the IS wannabes from UK instead

  49. Ken Moore
    Posted December 5, 2015 at 9:41 am | Permalink

    It’s a pity DD didn’t become leader and was moved aside by the sharp elbows of Cameron. He could have redeemed himself for his role in the whipping of the Maastricht vote.

  • 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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