Should parliament endorse UK air strikes in Syria? | Comment is free | The Guardian

This is an outstanding, must-read article from the Guardian. With a background of last week David Cameron urging MPs to back an air campaign against Islamic State, the Guardian invites five commentators to debate the rights and wrongs.

Source: Should parliament endorse UK air strikes in Syria? | Comment is free | The Guardian

The first viewpoint was from David Davies, Conservative MP. I have always respected him and identify with his conservative political values. I broadly endorse his viewpoint.

However, the other four commentators were equally valid and their views should be respected too.

Let me try to distil my own thoughts after reading this series of articles.

The American alliance is struggling to find valid military targets in Syria against ISIS which minimize risk to civilians. The British have pinpoint bombing accuracy capability that could make a difference at the margin. On the ground, ISIS has adjusted to the bombing, both going underground and increasingly hiding behind human shields. Meanwhile, the US-led bombing campaign has effectively weakened ISIS and stopped it growing and conquering more territory. Critically, the battle against ISIS cannot be won by air-power alone – ground forces are needed. So far, the really effective ground force against ISIS seems to be the Kurds – but they have been undermined by Turkey for domestic political reasons. One commentator with expert knowledge felt that the UK could energize the rebels effectively as a fighting force against ISIS. Most importantly, the Vienna discussions need to find a political solution for the future of Syria.

For me, the bottom-line is that there is a political and military contribution that the UK can make towards recreating Syria and defeating ISIS. The British contribution is about much more than bombing ISIS targets in Syria. The backdrop is that existing US policy and Obama’s leadership has been ineffective – given the political and military constraints in the US ahead of the presidential election, there is an important place for the UK to join other regional and global players harnessing an international coalition.

David Davies is spot-on, with two critical exploratory questions, namely:

1.What is the political end game and

2. What is the military plan to achieve it?

One response

  1. Dr Alf hits the nail on the head.

    The UK’s political end game is and always has been regime change in Syria as was Turkey’s and America’s.

    Russia simply wants to have a warm water port and wants a stable regime in Syria as does China.

    Neither of them is going to tolerate a Global Caliphate, a resurgent Ottoman Empire or regime change in Syria without being consulted and between them they are strong enough to force the West to rethink and deal with them even taking into account America’s space command.

    So unless we want World War 3 to happen earlier than planned a grubby compromise is necessary.

    Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Jordan and Kuwait want a Global Caliphate the precursor to which will be the overthrow of the Assad regime.

    Turkey wants to recreate the Ottoman Empire and take for itself that part of China populated by Uighurs and that part of Syria and Ukraine populated by Turkmen.

    ISIS cannot be eliminated without regime change in the Gulf states which fund it, “boots on the ground” and very heavy air strikes which will kill both ISIS fighters and commanders and the civilians they hide amongst.

    The West is not prepared to undertake this on the scale necessary and therefore, has no endgame regarding ISIS although it pretends that it does.
    Britain probably should bomb ISIS in Syria to keep faith with its allies, but we should not pretend that our objectives do not conflict or that we can destroy ISIS on the basis of what has been proposed so far.

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