Skip to main content

tv   [untitled]    December 2, 2015 7:00pm-8:04pm EST

7:00 pm
syria and second question was how would the u.k. plan secure long sterm stability and reconstruction given the u.k. spent 13 times more bombing libya than on its post bombing. i asked the prime minister, how much does he estimate this will cost and how much has he allocated from the united kingdom. i'd like to turn to those two questions. because on the issue of ground forces we have been told, that there are 70,000 troops opposed to assad and daish, which could take the territory that they hold. the problem is, that only a part of those forces are moderate. and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever they would definitely deploy from other parts of the country to come to daish. now, i asked the prime minister and intervention, of those 70,000, how many are moderate
7:01 pm
and how many of them are fundamentalists. i have not had an answer to that question and i would invite any member from the government side to tell the rest of the house what that is. >> come on. >> silencsilence. >> respect. >> critical issue posed by the -- i will give away in a moment to the esteemed chairman of the intelligence and security committee, of course i will, but this is an absolutely vital point. this is a vital point that was raised by the foreign affairs select committee. a key part of the argument of having any credibility that a bombing strategy will lead to meeting a long-term peace in syria and dealing with daish is that there are ground forces capable of taking the ground when they manage to displace and degrade forces. we have asked repeatedly, i ask
7:02 pm
again, i will give way if member from the government side wants to explain to the house, i see the foreign secretary, i'm happy to give way to him if he will confirm what is the make up of the 70,000 forces. mr. speaker, i've now asked a question directly to the prime minister, which he didn't answer. i've challenged the foreign secretary to answer the question. is there anybody else from the government side who will absoluteaps the question? i give way to the honorable gentleman. >> because we asked the similar point that the defense select committee yesterday and what the point of the right honorable gentleman is making is a nitpicking quick blink point, which if he will hear me out, is dancing on the head of a pin.
7:03 pm
to try and achieve the result of the honorable gentleman. there are these people, we have to trust them, they are not on assad's side or isil's side, we need to work with them. >> the prime minister's been asked the question. the foreign century was given an opportunity to confirm the answer to the house. members from the government side were asked, they haven't. i see another member prepared to intervene, so let me accept that if we were going to get an answer to the question of the 70,000 nonassad and non daish forces in syria, how many are moderate and fundamentalists. i give way to the honorable gentleman. >> he is a clever man and rare asks a question he does not know the answer to. i put the question back to him. how many moderates he thinks there is and he seems to be tied up on the 70 thourk.
7:04 pm
he seems to have forgot the kurds in syria, the several bah tall ons of syria christians and the arabs in north and northeast syria, who will work with the free syrian army to take in daish. >> no answer. >> mr. speaker. anybody watchinging this debate and reading in future will be able to recognize that this question has been asked time and time and time again and we have not had an answer to that question. it is a fundamental, i have no given way. a significant number of times and nobody has answered. if my esteemed colleague is able to answer the question i would be delighted. >> what interests me about the
7:05 pm
argument that the right honorable gentleman is putting forward is he raises perfectly legitimate questions, which should, i hope, be answered in the course of the debate. once he glosses over is what is party's position is. to do violence and cruelty in the area and terrorism in europe and if indeed, these actions at the moment involving our allies, both in syria and iraq. are achieving that goal, i find it very difficult to understand how he can argue that we ourselves should not cooperate. at the greatest respect for the right honorable gentleman and he makes good points and i will come on later, some of the questions he make, but just know respectfully we haven't heard an answer to the question, which has posed on the government front bench, have the
7:06 pm
opportunity again if they wish to tell the house. if the honorable gentleman can answer the question, i'd be delighted. >> i thank the right honorable gentleman for giving way. as member of the foreign affairs select committee, half of the committee other thin the middle last week. went to cairo, ayman and we went to beirut. cities which have suffered destruction. we spoke to military people, counterterrorism people. it's about ten to 15,000 and that was the answer by everyone there. that's a very important intervention, so in her experience, she is suggesting that the government's figures that we have been provided are massively wrong.
7:07 pm
this is a very, very important point, mr. speaker. we are now hearing on a crucial issue raised by the foreign affairs subcommittee, a crucial entry far from the 70,000 we've heard, it's less. this should worry us all and i will make some progress. the problem with this issue and it is a critical issue is that only a part of the forces that the prime minister and his colleagues have spoken about are moderate and it is absolutely no evidence what soever that they would definitely deploy from other parts of the country to counter daish and it appears to be totally wishful thinking that in a conference of cease pyre, we can expect any redestruction of any forces from other fronts in syria. on stabilizing and rebuilding
7:08 pm
syria, mr. speaker, the second question that i pose to the prime minister, we're advised by the world bank that it will cost $170 billion to rebuild syria. the prime minister has made a commitment to contribute one billion pounds towards this, which is welcomed new money to deal with the rebuilding after the stabilization of the syria, which we welcome. we are entitled the ask however whether a contribution of less than 1% of what is required is realistically going to be enough. now, yesterday, like some other members of the house, i took the time to meet syrian exiling to discuss their experiences and to hear their views. it was heartbreaking to hear about people who are literally surviving just on hope of 16-year-olds who om wish to attend their makeshift schools in the basement while barrel bombing by the assad regime from above and they asked whether we
7:09 pm
are seriously asking people to stop fighting assad and move to another part of the country to fight daish. they asked how we expect people to fight if they have no feeling of any support. now, yesterday, mr. speaker, we are written to at parliamentariance, from u.k., from the syrian community in manchest manchester, from kurd's house frrks the syrian community southwest. peace and justice, scotland, from the syrian welsh society frrks the syrian platform for peace and the syrian association of yorkshire and in their letter to us, they said that mps are being asked the wrong question on syria, that being whether or not to bomb daish. they said now, if i can just make the point, they said from these many organizations from across the united kingdom, that
7:10 pm
taish must be defeated for the sake of people in syria, as well as for the safety of people in europe, britain as well. however, they stressed that the greatest threat to syrians comes from assad rather than daish wrrks the number of civilians killed by assad's forces, being over two and a half times the number of civilians killed in the second world war. >> i am regretful, he's making a very important point in this debate. irrespective of how this house of commons votes tonight, is it important we do see a successful political resolution to the difficulties in syria and give p that the prime minister has set out time scales where he expects there to be a transitional government, was he as surprised as i was at those time scales given the current impasse between the likes on the one hand of russia and iran and on the other hand, the usa and
7:11 pm
france and others in respect of the future of assad. >> makes a good point. i'd like to come on to the political process, but i'd like to give way to the honorable gentleman who i wish to commend on behalf of all of us who have supported the campaign who have called it by its real name, d ark ish and nothing else. >> his entire party for being one of the first to sport support me in this campaign when i first raised the issue. the terminology to ke de feet this evil organization. to join his own foreign secretary, his chair of home select committee, to join the equalities minister, to join the treasury minister, to ensure we use the right terminology to defeat these terrorist organizations now that the goth has adwreeed to use the proper
7:12 pm
terminology. >> i agree with everything. the honorable gentleman has said and can i just say as somebody who is tremendously proud of having reported for the bbc world service for nearly a decade, it is beyond me that my former employees cannot find it in themselves to use the appropriate terminology and i call on them to do so. i need to make some progress. returning to the syrians that i met, they made an appeal that civilian protection should be a primary concern in any military action by the u.k. and to protect them, nps need to explicitly by concrete action, end the air attacks on civilians. this is the point raised from the honorable gentleman. the snp as i believe all parties in the house and all members in this house support the international initiative on syria agreed in vienna, to secure a cease fire in syria, so
7:13 pm
transition to a stable representative government and countering terrorist groups in daish. we believe these will only be secured in a serious, long-term commitment and this surely must be the key diplomatic priority for this government the make sure that the time scale is as quick as can be delivered. the u.k. must step up its support and other diplomatic efforts to secure a cease fire in syria. political transition, combatting terrorists like daish and planning for the long-term reconstruction stability and support. i believe that the government has not answered the questions posed by the foreign affairs committee at the house of commons. in fact, neither do a majority who voted on the issue. in these circumstances, mr. speaker, we cannot support the government. it is important, however, mr. speaker, and this is very, very important. that a message goes out to our armed forces that regardless of the differences that we have in
7:14 pm
this place -- safety and we appreciate their professionalism. this is particularly relevant for me as it would appear that most aircraft deployed to the region will be from my c constituen constituency. the u.k. government is going to have a huge problem with legitimacy and mandate for this operation in scotland. it may well win the vote tonight, but it will do so with the support of only two out of 59 scottish mps. and opinion poll released today shows that 72% of scotts are imposed to the bombing plans of the government. under normal circumstances in a normal country under these circumstances, the armed forces would not be deployed. mr. speaker, i was a cosponsor of the 2003 amendment to oppose invading iraq and i'm proud to
7:15 pm
cosponsor today's amendment. i appeal to colleagues on all sides to make sure we do not ignore the lessons of afghanistan, of iraq, ignore the lessons of libya. let's not repeat the mistakes of the past, let's not give the groan light to military action without a comprehensive and credible plan to win the peace. >> dr. liam fox. >> thank you, many speaker. it's very important for the whole hall that in this debate, with we are clear, this is not about provoking a new confrontation. we have already confronteded peace and decency and humanity. we have seen what you're capable of in terms of beheadings, crucifixions, mass rape. we have seen the refugee crisis they have provoke with this
7:16 pm
terrible human cost and we have seen their willingness to export jihad when they're able to do so. it's also not about bombing syria, per a, as it's being portrayed outside. it's the extension of a military campaign that we are not ready for in iraq. across waters effects a nonexistence border in the sand and i'm afraid the one lingness to answer the question about the friend will give the clear impression he's not swrus against the extension of the bombing campaign into syrian territory, but he's against bombing daish at all. and that is a very serious position to uphold and to understand the nature of the threat we face and why it requires a military response. we need to understand the mind set of the jihadists themselves. first of all, they take an extreme and distorted religious position. they then dehumanize their opponents by calling them infidels, heretics and let's
7:17 pm
remember the majority of those killed are muslims, not those of other religions. they then tell themselves it's god's work and because of that, no laws, no borders and the deploy extreme violence in the prosecution of their self-appointed mission and we have seen that violence on the sands of tunisia. in the screams of the jordanian pilot burned alive in a cage. about the nature of the threat we face. this is not like some of the armed political terrorists we've seen in the past. this is a fundamentally different threat. this is a group that does not seek acome documentation f. they seek domination. we need to understand that before we are able to determine what our response should be. i will give way understand once.
7:18 pm
>> to my right honorable friend. he will know of concerns about daish starting to leave syria to go to libya. in growing numbers. does he agree with me that when we are tackling them in syria, we will have to continfront then libya. >> absolutely right. we have not chosen this confrontati confrontation. they have chosen to confront us and the free world and decency and humanity. it is absolutely a prerequisite for stability and peace in the future to deal with this threat. now, there are two elements. the military element and the political element. on the military question, will british bombing as part of an ally action in syria be a game changer? no, it won't. be it will make a significant and serious contribution to what the alliance is able to do and the prime minister's absolutely correct when he says that some
7:19 pm
of the weaponry we poesz enables us to diminish civilian casualties. it's importance in it from a humanitarian point of view and also in not handing a propaganda weapon to our opponents in the region. britain can contribute to this. we did this successfully in libya, minimizing casualties. it is not an unimportant contribution to me. i believe we must be rational and cautious about implications. no war, no conflict is ever won from the air alone and the prime minister was right to point out this is a part of the wider response. in we downgrade the command and control of daish territory, it will need to be taken and held and i believe that ultimately, we h need to see on the ground to be successful in the town. there may be syrian fighters of
7:20 pm
a number -- may be capable of doing so. but we have to recognize that there needs to be a wider able toy take and hold territory, but can can i say to those opposinging the motion, the longer we wait to act, the smaller that number of allies is likely to be. and the less their capability is likely to be as part of a wider coalition. and if we do not have stability and spearty on the ground in syria, there is no chance of peace. whatever happens in vienna. >> mr. speaker. on the political side. our allies simply believe it's absurd for britain to be part of a military company in a riot, but not in syria. it is a militarily absurd position for us to hold and we have a chance to it today but, we must not contract out the
7:21 pm
security of the united kingdom to our allies. it is a national embarrassment. that we are asking our allies to do what we believe is necessary to tackle a fundamental threat to the security of the united kingdom and this house of com n commons should not stand for it and finally, on that, when we do not act, it makes it much more difficult for us diplomatically to persuade other countries to continue their air strikes. from the coalition attacks daish is of great significance. we have a chance to reverse that if we take a solid position today. mr. speaker, this motion and the action it proposes will not in itself defeat, but it will help and alongside the vienna process, it may help bring peace in the long-term to the syrian people, but without the defeat, there will be no peace. we have not chose p this
7:22 pm
conflict, but we cannot ignore it. to do nothing is a policy position which will have its own consequences. if we do act, it doesn't mean we will not see a terrorist atrocity in this country, but p if with we do not tackle daish over there, there will be an increasing risk we have to face the consequences over here. that would be an abdication of the primary responsibility of this house of commons, which is the protection and defense of the british people. that is what this debate is all about. >> hear. >> sir general kaufman. >> mr. speaker. there is of course absolutely no doubt that daish is a vile, loathsome, murderous organization. the attack in paris, the murder of 130 innocent people, could just as well have been in
7:23 pm
london. and their choice of paris was a retaliation against french activity. in their region, but that does not justify our taking activity if it were appropriate, relevant and above all, successful. they claim to call themselves islamic. and the prime minister talked about reclaiming islam from them. they do not own islam. hundreds of millions of muslims throughout the world are appalled by the murders, the beheadings, the kidnappings, all of the abominable things they do, but mr. speaker, our
7:24 pm
loathing of is, our wish to get rid of it, to defeat it, to stop it, is not the issue here. today. the issue here is what action could be taken in order to stop them. in order to get rid of them. and i have to say that i don't see such an action. the prime minister spoke about getting a transitional government in syria. he spoke about the situation in syria. i've been to syria many times. i did it with some distaste, shadowing foreign secretary and met leading officials in the syrian administration. murderers. i knew they were murderers.
7:25 pm
they murder their own people. they murdered 10,000 people in hama alone. i would be delighted to see them got rid of, but they're not going to go. and when there's talk about negotiations in vienna, the assumption that somehow or other, that is going to result in getting rid of assad, getting rid of the administration, is a delusion, putin, one of the most detestable leaders of any state in the world, will make sure that because they're his allies and because they suit him, action against them is not going to be successful. so, what is the issue today? it isn't an issue about changing the reveem in syria. which would make me very, very happy indeed. it isn't about getting rid of
7:26 pm
daish. getting rid of it would make me very happy indeed. it's about what practical action can result in some way in damaging daish. in stopping their atrocities. in stopping the people who are fleeing from them. in stopping the people who are flocking to them. including sadly, some small number of people from this country. if what the government were proposing today would any any way not simply or not totally get rid of daish, but weaken them in a significant way, so that they would not go on behaving in the abominable
7:27 pm
fashion that we see, i wouldn't have any difficulty voting for this motion, but there is no evidence of any kind that bombing daish, raqqah, will causen upsurge of the people in the region to get rid of them. what it would do, might cause damage, won't understood mine them. what it will undoubtedly do, despite the assurances of the prime minister, which i'm sure you've given in good faith, it will can kill innocent civilians and i am not going to be a party to killing innocent civilians for what will simply be a
7:28 pm
gesture. i'm not interested in gesture politics. i'm not interested in gesture military activity. i'm interested in effective military activity and if that is brought before this house, i vote for it. when the previous conservative government came to us, and asked for our support, to get rid of saddam hussein from kuwait, i shadowed foreign secretary formlated the policy that led labor members of parliament into the division lobby to vote for that. i am not interested in gestures, i'm interested in effective activity. this government's motion on active that will follow including military action from the air will not change the
7:29 pm
situation on the ground. i'm not interested in making the show. i'm not interested in members of this house putting their hands up for something that in their own hearts, they know will fot work. and for that reason, i shall vote against the government motion this evening. >> order. an eight-minute limit on back bench speeches will now aply. >> mr. speaker, there are those who have honor bly opposed intervention since 2003, including my friend and member of the foreign affairs select committee. who is the mover of today's principal amendment. he was rilgt in 2003, which is the subject of a committee inquiry, however, it is my
7:30 pm
judgment that he was wrong last year to impose our support against isil. i don't know wh he would say to the yazeezidi family to the ter that isil brought and i'm satisfied our military effort in iraq over the last year has been to the enormous credit of our armed forces and the stabilization of iraq in the face of a rapidly advancing threat from isil. holy justified, the strong majority this gave for that intervention. the reality we should acknowled acknowledge, of course. >> i will answer them the best i can. the reason i think a number of us opposed the motion about air strikes in iraq last that we had a plan that we had not beaten
7:31 pm
isil in iraq, sparked nearly a million, they have nothing near that in syria and we still have that plan. it was absolutely necessary that the international community went to the aid of the government and people of iraq. i've just had an e-mail from somebody i'll keep anonymous because they're working in raqqah. daesh are the death stretching from the east. when you see them, it is as if they have from the angel of death. they are in raqqah right now. a mother.
7:32 pm
>> well, i agree with my honorable friend. whether we like it or not, isil is at war with us. we don't have to -- about weapons of mass destruction nor is this a threat to the sit sepulvedas of the down cowen tri for their own government. this is about our society. this is not a war of choice. from the proposition that isil must be denied the territory they control. will be the work of many years even decades. the real estate re taking of this territory is an urgent and immediate requirement. this is the mission. was the civil war rages in syria, it is virtually impossible to achieve that. that is the necessary first step.
7:33 pm
and finally, after the gauche yass and agreement, a way can be seen to that tran sixth. before then, i don't believe that government was able to answer -- of which ground forces will take hold in syria to the satisfaction of the committee. in this wake of that, i believe they can and did. and indeed, the prime minister made the point today rather revealingly when he mepgsed the real plan. and it's the real plan is the ideal solution, which is referenced on page 20 of the prime minister's response to the foreign affair's select committee, when he envisions the political transformation in syria allowing a new reform of the army to enable it to tackle terrorist groups in defense of the sir yap nation.
7:34 pm
the syrian army fighting alongside the free syrian army ideally need to be the forces that reclaim syria for a new syrian republic. but we should not imagine for one minute that this is a task they will be able to accomplish on their own. we need to influence the policy of our coalition partners and the policy of the whole international community to face up to the reality that this entails. this is the crucial issue. how would we, the united kingdom, exercise the greatest influen influence? everything i have heard in the last month taking evidence of this issue suggests our role as a compromise and limited member of the coalition against isil operating only in iraq, weakens that influence. now, we can debate the efficacy of air strikes and the additional capability that
7:35 pm
brimstone missiles bring to the whole coalition, but the truth is, we all know that those issues are marginal to the outcome. what is not marginal is getting the international politics right. and it is not in the interest of our country or the people we represent for this house to deny the government the authority it needs today. i am now satisfy ied that the government who along with the americans, helped block the transition process by our preconditions about the role of al assad can now play. a critically constructive role in the transition. indeed, my criticism of today's motion is that the government should be seeking wider authority from the house. limiting the targeting of isil and excluding al news ra and future groups that will be listed by the united nations under the u.n. security council resolution 2249 is a restriction
7:36 pm
i do not understand. if armed groups put themselves beyond record in the judgment of both the international syrian support group and the security council, then our armed forces should be authorized to act within the law. equally, the limitation on deploying u.k. troops in operations i believe shows a lack of forsight. we know that both syrian and iraqi armed forces is going to need the maximum possible help which arguably should include the embedding of trainers in the fighting echelon capability that includes engineers as well as comprehensive lodgist cal support support, command and control functions, where will these come from? and the truth is, that since this mission must succeed, if necessary, these war winning
7:37 pm
capabilities may need to be found from beyond countries and the whole of the united nations with effective military capability, maybe required to provide that including us. however, if the government has chosen the path, i'm afraid i can't give way to my honorable colleague and friend on the committee who's made such an excellent impression on the committee so far because i'm time limited. if there is time at the end, i will take his into action. however, if the government has chosen a path that is going to require it to come back to this house for more authority, then that's the government's choice. to my mind, isil is such a clear and present danger to the civilized world that if all necessary means are endorsed by the security council, then sho should this house. before the foreign affairs committee will continue our
7:38 pm
inquiry into the international strategy to defeat isil and on behalf of this house, to hold the government to account in detail. the lady for the valley who is sadly unwell, hopefully in recovery and we wish her a speedy recovery, has communicated to me she would be supporting the government this evening. the honorable member for sads few does not take much guess in as to wh side he will be on this evening and in my vumt, this house will best discharge its responsibilities by giving our government the authority it needs. not just to act with our international partners against this horror, but to influence them to make the necessary compromises in our national objectives and to ensure the collective security of all nations. i give way to my honorable friend in fr northeast. >> i'd like to thank the neighbor and if i could take the
7:39 pm
opportunity to pay tribute to his work as chairman of this committee, we will be on opposite sides tonight. i pay tribute to that. earlier on, the member mentioned the probability, it says in a report, several of our witnesses suggested by participating in military action against isil in syria, the u.k. would compromise its diplomatic capability. >> that's a point, going to have to come to our own conclusions. i have to say to him and to the house that nothing i've heard in the lost last month has pointed to anything except the opposition. ministers have been clear. every country we went to who is asked this question said that the position was compromised by the fact we were only half in and half out of the coalition. it's of no conceivable benefit and one this house should
7:40 pm
rectify this evening. the prime minister challenges that we were present 12 years ago when another prime minister delivered a compelling performance and we made the united kingdom party to a disaster in the middle east. it's right that we should be mindful of our recent history. but we must not be ham strong by it. >> margaret beth. >> mr. bates centers on national security an the safety of our constituents and there will be differences of view within and between every party in this house. so, in good faith and conscious, members will reach different conclusions. anybody who approaches today's debate without the gravest doubts, reservations and anxieties simply hasn't been paying attention. but we sit here by our constituents to exercise our
7:41 pm
best judgment, each our own best judgment. this is a debate of contradictions. echoes the u.n. resolution in the threat they describe as an unprecedented threat to international peace and security. the proposal before us amounts as my honorable friend for gordon said. only to a relatively minor extension of action we are already i understand taking. we are being asked to agree to act both in iraq and syria. precisely because that is what daesh do and their headquarters is in syria. we're being asked to make a further contribution to an existing international effort to contain daesh from extending the mayhem and bloodshed that accompanies their every move across the middle east. serious questions are being
7:42 pm
raised and i respect those who raise hem. there is unease about ground forces and the aftermath and rebuilding. some say simply that innocent people are more likely to be killed. military action does create casualties, however much we try to minimize them. so, should we on those grounds, abandon action in iraq although we undertake it at the request of iraq's government and it does seem to be making a difference? should we take no further action against daesh, who are themselves killing innocent people and striving to kill more every day of the week? or should we simply leave it to others. would we make ourselves a bigger target for daesh attack? we are a target. we will remain a target. there's no need to wonder about it.
7:43 pm
daesh has told us so and continues to with every day that passes. we may as well take them not just at their word, but in deed, at their deeds. they have sought out our fellow country men and women to kill. including aid workers and other innocents and whatever we decide today, there is no doubt that they will do so again. nor is the consequence of inaction simply daesh controlling more territory, more land. we've seen what happens when they take control. the treatment of groups such as the yezidis in all its who should surely make us unwilling to contemplate any further extension of daesh controlled territory. in action, too, leads that way to death and destruction. quite separately, there are those not opposed in principle to action who doubt the efficacy of what is proposed.
7:44 pm
a coalition action which rests almost wholly on bombing they say will have little effect. well, tell that to the -- and don't forget that if there had been no bombing in kosovo, perhaps a million albanian refugees would be seeking refugee in europe. tell that to the kurds, who if memory serve, pleaded for international air support without which they felt they were losing control to daesh. tell them in situation rot. lou military action should be avoideded because that would be casualties. it was british military action that brought them back. of course, it took place in conjunction with political and diplomatic activity and i share the view that it is substantially strengthened and i was heartened by what the prime
7:45 pm
minister told us today. our conference did call for a united nations resolution before further action and we now have a unanimous security council resolution. more over, that resolution calls on member states in explicit and unmistakable terms to combat daesh's threat, and i quote, by all means. and it calls to again, i quote, for us to eradicate the safe haven they have established in iraq and syria. those are the words of the u.n. resolution chlts. and though it speaks of the need to pursue the peace process, the yupted nations resolution calls on member states to act now. more over, our french allies have explicitly asked us for such support and i invite the house to consider how we would
7:46 pm
feel and what we would say if what took place in paris has happened in london, if we had explicitly asked france for support and france had refused. these are extremely, i'm sorry, no. these are genuinely extremely difficult as well as extremely serious decisions. it is the urgings of the united nations and the government in france that for me, have been the tipping point in my decision to support military action. >> john barren. >> mr. speaker, mr. speaker, i refer the house to the amendment in my name in that of the the honorable members. there are many on both sides of the house who feel that air strikes extending air strikes into syria is not a wise move. in the absence of a long-term
7:47 pm
strategy, realistic strategy, both military and nonmilitary, otherwise, we risk repeating the errors that we made in iraq, in helmand, in libya and would have made only two careers ago in this house if we had allowed the government to intervene on behalf of the rebels. that strategy must include comprehensive layout to the military plans, it must include thought given and plans made for the after math and indeed, an exit strategy. but many of these questions that we have asked remain unanswered. but can i just say that we all accept there are no easy answers in foreign policy nowadays, just a series of tough decision, but as such, there has got to be respect on both sides to those views held.
7:48 pm
one or two people have suggested one is playing politics or personalities with thissish. issue. i would refer them to my voting record on iraq, my opposition to the extension of the afghan mission to helmand, my opposition to libya and indeed, two years ago, in this house when we were asked to support bombing the rebels and then extendinging or striking assad. i have been called a pacifist and worse. and i would refer to, i would refer those people to my military record as soldier in where i've got the medals to prove i'm certainly not a pacifist and also to my record in northern ireland at a platoon commander during the 1980s. by all means. >> i have huge respect for my friend.
7:49 pm
as a military man, would he agree with me that in all military operations throughout history, the first thing tho goes wrong on day one is the plan. however, however, that should not stop us from making the effort and succeeded in the end where we hope a peaceful solution can be found. >> i would disagree with my honorable friend at all, but at the same time, we owe it to those participate ng any military action that we think very carefully through the plans to make sure they are as realistic as comprehensive as possible, otherwise, i suggest we do risk repeating past errors. yes. >> i have huge respect for his military record. now, while he makes some eloquent points about the complexity of the situation and the seeking of a political
7:50 pm
solution in the end, surely, the protection of our people and the safety in our streets has to come first. >> i agree with my honorable friend. and we, there are many on both sides what i don't see in this plan is a clearly laid out strategy, and that is why we have got to ask these questions and try and get some answers. but perhaps the most damning, mr. speaker, against those of us who say we don't want to support the extension of military air strikes is that we're sort of sitting on our hands. we don't want to do anything. we want to stick our heads in the sand. and i would refer to that point
7:51 pm
that we do believe, or many of us believe anyway, in the need for military action to take on terrorists. many of us supported that initial deployment in afghanistan in 2001 and we succeeded very quickly in a couple of years. where we had trouble with afghanistan is where the mission warped into nation building where we didn't realize what we were getting into and didn't have the resources to back it up, but we need a long-term strategy. well, let me give some examples. let's talk about the non-military side of this. we've been talking about disrupting daesh's financial flows and business interests in this place for at least a year if not 18 months. there has been no noticeable disruption of those business interests or financial flows. we have commanded the skies in syria. why are we not disrupting those
7:52 pm
business and financial interests? there's been no real answer about that. why aren't we doing more to disrupt their prominence on social media? again, we've talked about it in this place many times, but i do not see any evidence of us actually disrupting that prominence. something we should tackle, but perhaps above all, mr. speaker, we should be tackling the ideology and the sectarianism that feeds the extremism that these groups, including daesh, feed off. that's a long-term strategy. you can't do it overnight, but again i don't see much evidence of that. where are those awkward questions to our allies in the region about feeding this extremism? we're not getting that message across. but i come back to the point that has been raised before but
7:53 pm
could see of the foreign affairs committee's recent visit to the middle east about these mythical 70,000 troops. we all know -- we all accept you cannot bomb isil out of existence through air strikes alone. it will take ground forces, but everybody is having trouble identifying what those ground forces should be and who should actually supply them. we visited various capitals. we visited teheran. we visited riyadh. we visited abu dhabi. the point that kept coming across was the belief there are very few moderates remaining in syria after five years of civil war. even if you believe the 70,000 figure, even if you believe they were all moderates, what the strategy doesn't address, and i
7:54 pm
haven't had an answer back and i have asked this question before, is what is stopping these moderates once the common enemy, once they've been told to swing around, stop fighting assad, take on daesh, what is to stop splintering into a thousand ma -- militas that we saw in libya. they are libel to turn on each other just as they are to turn on an enemy if they are so set to do so. and we should make this point -- i'm sorry. i've allowed two interventions. i must crack on. we should now draw the lessons
7:55 pm
with iraq. we are struggling to defeat daesh in iraq and that is with estimates of 900,000 security forces on our payroll. i mean, one strategy you could employ is actually finish the job in iraq before we actually start thinking any long-term strategy in syria, but again we're struggling. and that is one of the fundamental differences between iraq and syria. as for the issue about taking -- about sitting at the top table, can i address this point very centrally, because again this was a strong message when we were visiting the middle east? we're already at the top table. china is not intending to intervene in this situation and yet sits at the top table in vienna as a member of the p5. it's quite clear we are showing solidarity with our partners. in conclusion, mr. speaker, the
7:56 pm
short-term effect of british air strikes will be marginal. i think most people will accept that. but as we intervene more, we become more responsible for the events on the ground and lay ourselves open to the unintended consequences of the fog of war. without a comprehensive strategy, air strikes will reinforce the west's long term failure in the regionally at a time when there are all too many aircraft chasing too many targets. time and time again the executive makes a case and time and time again it turns out to be wrong. the foreign affairs committee produced a very reasonable and thoughtful report arguing against air strikes in syria in the absence of a comprehensive long-term strategy. returning from my travel, i and
7:57 pm
other colleagues still hold to that view and it was the decision of the committee last night that the prime minister had not adequately answered or addressed our concerns. mr. speaker, i will oppose this military action and will intend to move the amendment in my name and that of other honorable members. we have stood at this very point before. we should have no excuse for repeating our errors and setting out on the same tragic misguided path once more. >> johnson? >> it is during my time in parliament that it's become a convention that this house authorized military action whereas previously it was for a prime minister to do under the guise of role prerogative. and this new convention, i believe, places a responsibility upon members of parliament to weigh out the arguments and vote
7:58 pm
according to their conscious rather than a parliamentary whip. what i'm pretty sure about is that nobody on any side of this house would seek to justify their vote tonight by pleading that while they disagreed or agreed with the proposition, the whip forced them to vote the way they did. on votes such as this, with the exception of the front bench, the whip is irrelevant. while i'm grateful to the shadow cabinet, i don't think it will make the slightest difference to the way we make our decision. i intend to vote for the motion this evening for one basic reason. i believe that isil daesh poses a real and present danger to british citizens under its dedicated operations unit not based in iraq where the raf is already fully engaged, but in
7:59 pm
syria. this external operations unit is already responsible for killing 30 british holiday makers on a beach in seuss and a british rock fan who perrishished with another 129 others in the paris atrocity weeks ago. in fact, the fact is just as al qaeda needed the safe haven they created for themselves in afghanistan to plan 9/11 and other atrocities, so isil daesh need their self-declared caliphate to finance, train, organize, and recruit to their wicked cause. yes, they there may be cells elsewhere, but there is little doubt that the nerve center is in raqqah. just over 14 months, this house
8:00 pm
sanctioned military action in iraq. nobody expected that action to bring about a swift end to the threat from isil. indeed the prime minister in responding to an intervention said this mission will take not just months, but years. many honorable and right honorable members felt at that time that it was illogical to have the effectiveness of our action diminished by a border that isil daesh didn't recognize. we were inhibited by the absence of a specific u.n. resolution, and so there was some justification for this house to confine its response to one part of isil held territory in september 2014. there can surely be no such justification in december 2015. no such justification after paris. no such justification given the
8:01 pm
requests for help from our nearest continental neighbor and close ally in response to the murderous attack that took place on the 13th of november. no such justification after u.n. security council resolution 2249. paragraph 5 of that resolution unanimously agreed, and i quote, calls upon member states that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures to eradicate the safe haven isil has established over significant parts of iraq and syria. i give way. >> i thank the honorable member for taking my question. a similar call from france was met by germany with germany sending reconnaissance aircraft, but refusing to bomb.
8:02 pm
>> mr. speaker? germany are constrained by their history, but the point i'm making is that after recent events where we sit now in this parliament having authorized military action in the raf we can no longer justify not responding to that by extending our operations into syria. if we ignore that part of u.n. resolution 2249 that i've just mentioned, we're left supporting only the pieties contained in the other paragraphs. uneequivalently condemning, reaffirming those responsible must be held to account. in other words, britain, this country, will be expressing indignation while doing nothing to implement the action unanimously agreed in a motion
8:03 pm
that we had helped to formulate. furthermore, there is no argument against our involvement in attacking isil daesh in syria that cannot be made against our action in iraq where we've helped to prevent isil's expansion and reclaim 33% of the territory it occupied. i'll give way in a second. prime minister pointed out in his response this means raf tornados with these special pods so sophisticated that they gather 60% of the coalitions tactical reconnaissance in iraq can be used to similar effect in syria so long as another country then comes in to complete the strike. this is a ridiculous situation for this country to be in. i give way. >> this is the difference in iraq to syria that on the ground in


info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on