After British Prime Minister David Cameron’s speech in the House of Commons supporting us bombing Isis positions in Syria, he now appears to have got many sceptics in his own party, such as Crispin Blunt MP, to support him.
It seems to me inevitable, given that Labour are split on the issue too, that Mr. Cameron is going to get a Commons majority for this action. The main reason appears to be that we should support our allies. That may be admirable if of course we think the French and Americans are pursuing the right policy. But I have my reservations.
The U.K. government’s track record on recent military interventions has been poor. I can well remember Tony Blair telling us that the invasion of Afghanistan in 2001 to take on the Taliban was to make the streets of Britain safer. I’m not sure we quite achieved that goal.
Indeed the rationale for subsequent wars in Iraq not to mention the mindless removal of Gaddafi in Libya all appear to have been poorly thought through.
We have destabilised much of the Middle East and North Africa and see a growth in Isis throughout these years.
To be told by the Prime Minister that somehow bombing Syria will end the Isis threat is frankly wholly unbelievable.
I can’t work out who we’re actually for. After all two years ago we were going to arm the rebels to take on Bashar al-Assad. Now it turns out that had that intervention happened we would have directly aided Isis.
Yet the game of picking out good guys and bad guys continues. Now we’re told that an estimated 70,000 people in the Free Syrian Army are the good guys. And they are the people that we’re now helping.
So tell me Mr Cameron, are we now for Assad or against Assad? Can you prove to me that these 70,000 really are the good guys? Or are we once again to enter into military action without any really clear long term strategic goals?
From the point of view of military history, aerial bombing, be it carpet bombing or even today’s more precise methods, is on its own as a means of military victory highly questionable.
If we intend to attack Isis in Raqqa it seems to me quite impossible even with modern technology that there will not be a significant number of civilian casualties.
I wonder whether such action might even strengthen recruitment to Isis.
Nowhere in military history has bombing on its own without ground forces achieved any desired goal.
Surely we need to be thinking about this in a much bigger way.
I am not a pacifist or an anti-interventionist. I do not believe Jeremy Corbyn would sanction military action in any situation. I would. But I also understand that defeating an ideology is somewhat more important than an army dressed in field grey.
To take on Isis properly there will have to be a grand coalition. And we will need ground troops from all the North African, Arab and affected states. We will need to fight simultaneously in Nigeria, Kenya, Iraq, Syria, Libya and many other countries besides. And the West will have to swallow some pretty bitter pills.
I remember being denounced by Nick Clegg in our debates running up to the European Elections for saying that Putin was not our real enemy. That does not mean that I would invite Putin round for Sunday afternoon tea, but it does mean that on the battle against global jihadism we need to recognise that we’re on the same side.
For many in Washington and London this is a difficult realisation. And dare one suggest that the same may even apply to Assad? However awful we may believe him to be.
In conclusion, I will back military action when I can see a proper plan with real co-ordination and the active involvement of ground troops from many affected countries. If the House of Commons votes as I believe it will for the current Cameron plan, we will be repeating the same mistakes again.
I am confused. A recent opinion poll in the Daily Mail showed that after one speech to the Conservative conference wearing leopard skin shoes where Theresa May sounded tough on the immigration crisis, that the British public now love her and think she’d be great to help lead a leave the EU campaign to get back control of our borders.
This longest serving Home Secretary for sixty years is presiding over record numbers of net migration to Britain now running at over a third of a million per year (if you believe the figures… which I don’t). She has been a total and utter failure. Net migration has not been reduced to tens of thousands a year and yet on the basis of one speech she is Saint Theresa of Immigration Controls. I don’t get it.
PEACE AT LAST?
I do admire Arron Banks. Self-made, punchy and forthright. And not everyone’s cup of tea in the Westminster Village.
It takes a big man, when fighting in a mortal battle for the designation for the official Leave campaign when pitted against another group, to make a generous offer.
But Banks did that this week in writing to Matthew Elliot at the rival Vote Leave group and calling for talks with no pre-conditions. Well done him. The sooner we have a united umbrella to fight the Leave campaign the better.
Nigel Farage MEP is the leader of the UK Independence Party