Dennis Skinner on Isis
I do not believe the prime minister’s current proposal for airstrikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it. — Jeremy Corbyn
The invasion of Iraq “substantially” increased the terrorist threat to the UK. — Baroness Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5
Isn’t it essential in any prelude to a war to be sure of your allies and be sure of your objectives? Isn’t it a fact that Turkey has been buying oil from Isil, they’ve been bombing the Kurds and the Kurds are fighting Isil, they shot down a Russian jet even though Russia wants to fight Isil. — Dennis Skinner
David Cameron makes case for war with Syria
Were we to believe the hysteria in the media, David Cameron made a convincing case for bombing Isis.
He did nothing of the sort. Either unbelievably naive, or like war criminal Tony Blair, launching the UK on another illegal war with all the consequences.
The forces on the ground Cameron is to call upon are non-existent.
The Kurds are the only effective force, they will fight to defend Kurdistan, they are not interested in liberating Syria.
letter from Jeremy Corbyn to Labour MPs
Jeremy Corbyn has laid out what are his criticisms. For doing so he was charged by one idiot Labour MP with mounting a coup. Labour MPs were reported to be angry. At least two unnamed former ministers have called for his resignation.
The Prime Minister made a Statement to the House today making the case for a UK bombing campaign against ISIS in Syria. A copy of my response has already been circulated.
We have all been horrified by the despicable attacks in Paris and are determined to see the defeat of ISIS.
Our first priority must be the security of Britain and the safety of the British people. The issue now is whether what the Prime Minister is proposing strengthens, or undermines, our national security.
I do not believe that the Prime Minister today made a convincing case that extending UK bombing to Syria would meet that crucial test. Nor did it satisfactorily answer the questions raised by us and the Foreign Affairs Select Committee.
In particular, the Prime Minister did not set out a coherent strategy, coordinated through the United Nations, for the defeat of ISIS. Nor has he been able to explain what credible and acceptable ground forces could retake and hold territory freed from ISIS control by an intensified air campaign.
In my view, the Prime Minister has been unable to explain the contribution of additional UK bombing to a comprehensive negotiated political settlement of the Syrian civil war, or its likely impact on the threat of terrorist attacks in the UK.
For these and other reasons, I do not believe the Prime Minister’s current proposal for air strikes in Syria will protect our security and therefore cannot support it.
The Shadow Cabinet met today for an initial discussion and debated the issues extensively. We will meet again on Monday, when we will attempt to reach a common view.
I will get in touch again when we know the timing of the debate and vote.
Leader of the Labour Party
Jeremy Corbyn has an honourable position of consulting people. What is wrong with communicating to MPs his position? And how can he be mounting a coup? Is he going to topple himself and replace himself as party leader?
More hysterical commentary in the mainstream media, the Labour Party in disarray.
It is less a party in disarray, and more a group of Labour MPs who will do everything to stab Jeremy Corbyn in the back. They will even go to war, to stab Jeremy Corby in the back. It is time, the many people who have joined the Labour Party, to turn it into a party that represents the 99%, once and for all, kicked out these MPs.
Why could not an actor or producer have read out the letter in order people understood what were his reservations?
Basically, bombing will make the situation worse, and there is no overall plan.
Syria and Iraq, are artificial countries, lines on a map drawn up by the French and British following the collapse of The Ottoman Empire. Lawrence of Arabia drew his own map based on the reality on the ground. He was sidelined.
These countries no longer exist.
We have Kurdistan in the north.
We have Isis, straddling Iraq and Syria.
The only viable political groups are the tribes, whose roots go back thousand of years.
War criminals Tony Blair and George W Bush destroyed Iraq. The Sunnis were marginalised.
Assad carried out repression, gunned down his own people, bombed his own people.
Repression, marginalisation of the Sunnis, out of which grew Isis.
Without addressing the root causes, something like Isis will arise.
To do nothing is always an option.
If we do nothing, Isis will expand, they will seize more territory in the Middle East, then Europe.
Eventually we would have to deal with Isis, only at greater cost.
By the time we got around to dealing with Nazi Germany, it cost 20 million lives.
stop the flow of money to Isis
Jeremy Corbyn has suggested we stop the flow of money to Isis. This is a necessary but not sufficient condition.
The Gulf States, Saudi Arabia and Turkey, are financing Isis. Isis is selling oil through Turkey. Money, goods, weapons, oil and people flow across the Turkish border to Syria.
When Muslims leave UK and France to join Isis, they do not hop on a flight to Syria. They fly to Turkey, then cross the border onto Syria.
But even if we cut off the external flow of money, we underestimate Isis. They are mainly self-financing.
Isis is taxing local people. Isis is selling slaves. Isis is profiting from people smuggling to the tune of half a million pounds a week.
Tony Benn on bombing Iraq
I was in London during the Blitz in 1940, living where the Millbank tower now stands, where I was born. Some different ideas have come in there since. Every night, I went to the shelter in Thames House. Every morning, I saw Docklands burning. Five hundred people were killed in Westminster one night by a land mine. It was terrifying.
Are not Arabs and Iraqis terrified? Do not Arab and Iraqi women weep when their children die? Does not bombing strengthen their determination? What fools we are to live as if war is a computer game for our children or just an interesting little Channel 4 news item.
Every Member of Parliament who votes for the Government motion will be consciously and deliberately accepting responsibility for the deaths of innocent people if the war begins, as I fear it will. That decision is for every hon. Member to take.
In my parliamentary experience, this a unique debate. We are being asked to share responsibility for a decision that we will not really be taking but which will have consequences for people who have no part to play in the brutality of the regime with which we are dealing.
The Blitz, strengthened the resolve to defeat Nazi Germany. Why do we think bombing of Isis is different? Every time we destroy a school, a mosque, what do we think the impact will be where ‘an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth,’ is taken literally, where every killing has to be avenged?
Simon Jenkins, former editor of The Times
Simon Jenkins, former editor of The Times, could not have put it better:
Jeremy Corbyn’s challenge to David Cameron on the bombing of Syria is unanswerable, and every Labour MP knows it. So too is his explanation of his position in his letter to his party. A British prime minister’s statement on the eve of war should never be taken at face value. We have heard these bombastic calls to foreign aggression – festooned with jingoist opinion polls – too many times. In Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, windy rhetoric and strategic waffle have substituted for rational argument. Cameron’s statement yesterday, full of talk of values, ways of life and examined consciences, was a classic of the genre.
Corbyn’s Labour enemies, consumed with hatred for his clique, were yesterday rerunning Suez. They were frantic, not about the bombing of Syria, but about being outflanked by a cynical Tory party on a matter of peace and war. Bombing Syria has nothing to do with terrorism, except possibly to increase the likelihood of it in Britain. It has nothing positive to contribute to Britain’s national security, which is not currently under threat. The idea that Isis might undermine British values is an insult to those values. That it might attain a caliphate in the Mile End Road is a fantasy of men shut up too long in a Cobra bunker.
When we go to war, we kill people, we send people to their death.
It is not something we do lightly, it is a last resort.
No Member of Parliament should be forced by his party how to vote, it should be as suggested by John McDonnell, a free vote in the House of Commons.
talk to tribal leaders
It has been suggested talk to Isis, enter into negotiations.
Isis will not talk, those who tried have got nowhere. Canon Andrew White invited Isis to dinner. They responded by offering to chop his head off.
Al-Qaeda were a problem in Iraq. We did not defeat them using force. We defeated them by talking to tribal leaders and convincing them to change sides. We then betrayed them.
We know the war with Iraq increased the risk of terrorism. MI5 had its budget doubled the deal with that risk.
Bombing will make the situation worse.
Russia has been bombing Syria for over a month. It has made not an iota difference.
US has been bombing Isis for a year. During that period Isis has gained territory.
Bombing is not only counter-productive, it is futile. US planes are returning with full payload. They cannot find anything to bomb.
The only way to defeat Isis, will be a coalition of US, France, Russia and UK, others if they wish to join, with direct intervention on the ground.
Iraq gives a false impression of how easy it will be. In Iraq, conscripted soldiers, who either surrendered, or ran away. There were exceptions, where they dug in. We have seen how effective the Iraqi Army has been at fighting Isis. They run away, leaving behind all their weapons.
Isis are committed, they have had over a year to get dug in in towns. There would be brutal hand-to-hand fighting, many lives lost on both sides.
Syria would then have to be occupied for at least ten years. A rebuilding of the country. Democratic structures, not the sham democracy we see in the West, a participatory democracy based on the tribal groupings, networking and cooperating with each other. The physical infrastructure would be rebuilt by local people to give them employment.
Assad and his military would have to go. Anything less would be a betrayal of Syrian people. Assad put on trial for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
And what of the national borders? Syria and Iraq no longer exist. They never did exist, apart from lines on a map. On the ground, they no longer exist.