Syria

No real winners in war

David Cameron chairs No 10 meeting 28 August

This morning I wrote to our MP, Roger Godsiff expressing my concerns with regard to Cameron’s apparent  ‘need for speed’ to enter into military intervention in Syria.

If chemical weapons have been used then those responsible must be must be dealt with in an international court. It is imperative that Western intervention must not be the reactive response that Cameron was suggesting. This ‘we must do something response’ that results in purely reactive action, will ultimately be ill thought out. This lesson should have already been learnt with the Iraq war and the heavy price paid.

Intervention yes, but not military intervention. Action needs to be taken into working towards and ensuring the success of a UN-brokered peace process involving all the local and regional players. This is the only solution and this can only come after the inspectors have been in and reported on all of the facts.

I am sure that many of you share my concerns which I have asked Roger to take forward to the debate tomorrow. I also asked him to vote against any calls for immediate military intervention. For the Syrian people their situation will only get worse as their nightmare continues. There are never any real winners in war.

Without Labour’s support, and the support of many of his backbenchers and Lib Dem’s, Cameron’s plans for military action will have been defeated in the Commons tomorrow.  This means that tomorrow’s vote in the House of Commons will no longer be about authorising the use of British military force following the amendment put forward by Labour:

This House expresses its revulsion at the killing of hundreds of civilians in Ghutah, Syria on 21 August 2013; believes that this was a moral outrage; recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons; makes clear that the use of chemical weapons is a grave breach of international law; agrees with the UN Secretary General that the UN weapons inspectors must be able to report to the UN Security Council and that the Security Council must live up to its responsibilities to protect civilians; supports steps to provide humanitarian protection to the people of Syria but will only support military action involving UK forces if and when the following conditions have been met:

  1. The UN weapons inspectors, upon the conclusion of their mission in the Eastern Ghutah, being given the necessary opportunity to make a report to the Security Council on the evidence and their findings, and confirmation by them that chemical weapons have been used in Syria;
  2. The production of compelling evidence that the Syrian regime was responsible for the use of these weapons;
  3. The UN Security Council having considered and voted on this matter in the light of the reports of the weapons inspectors and the evidence submitted;
  4. There being a clear legal basis in international law for taking collective military action to protect the Syrian people on humanitarian grounds;
  5. That such action must have regard to the potential consequences in the region, and must therefore be legal, proportionate, time-limited and have precise and achievable objectives designed to deter the future use of prohibited chemical weapons in Syria; aan
  6. That the Prime Minister reports further to the House on the achievement of these conditions so that the House can vote on UK participation in such action.

This House further notes that such action relates solely to efforts to deter the use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any wider action in Syria.

The full text of the Government’s motion on Syria can be read here

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