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Gale's View - Syria

September 31st 2014

It is alleged that a year ago the House of Commons voted against "war in Syria". That is incorrect. No such motion was on the order paper.  What the house did vote upon was the right of the Prime Minister to continue discussions with the President of the United States that might have led to proposals for military intervention in Syria. Such proposals would, if brought forward, have precipitated a further vote in the House of Commons.
It is, in the context of the recent "recall vote ", necessary to set that record straight because while I respect and have some sympathy with those of my colleagues who contributed to that defeat of the Government a year ago the fact remains that had the Prime Minister not been so shackled we might not be where we are today.
In sharp contrast to Blair's phoney "45-minute threat" to the United Kingdom from Iraq we know that the civilised world in general and our homeland in particular are currently exposed to the very real prospect of terrorist attack by a team of fanatical murderers operating under the guise of an "Islamist State " that has nothing to do with Islam and everything to do with a medieval and barbaric form of well-funded anarchy. Already a number of hostages, including one British national, have been slaughtered in the vilest possible manner and it is certain that more such "executions" will follow. We also know that some of those who are gleefully participating in these atrocities are home-grown and likely to try to return to the United Kingdom and to seek to perpetrate further acts of indiscriminate carnage.
Under these circumstances to do nothing is not an option. Appeasement, that has disastrously been shown throughout history to have failed, will earn not respect or restraint but derision as a sign of weakness. While there can be no guarantee that targeted air strikes upon strategic targets in Northern Iraq will prove successful they will most certainly degrade he operational capacity of the self-styled ISIL.
It is highly likely, though, that as the main ISIL command-and-control centres are located within Syria further strikes against targets in that country will prove necessary. Whether there is the political will within the United States, the European Union, the United Kingdom and the coalition of Middle Eastern states already involved to embark upon such action only time will tell. Here in the UK the Prime Minister has bound himself to a further vote in parliament which is clearly a high-risk strategy. With Putin's Russian Federation clearly determined to block any enabling UN resolution those who seek to frustrate further military engagement will have their justification but we, in the House of Commons, will bear a heavy burden of responsibility if we do not authorise odour own Government to take such steps as are necessary to eradicate what must be the greatest threat to our civilisation since the rise of Nazi Germany and the holocaust that followed.

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