Richard Fuller opened the well attended meeting by giving us some “facts” to chew over.
- the brutality and atrocities carried out by of ISIS in Iraq and Syria, and in other countries such as Yemen.
- the military action of the Western Powers.
- Apparently the Western Powers have a working name for the goings on in Syria, Operation Inherent Resolve. You’ve never heard of it? Me neither.
- a list of countries involved in military action, or Operation Inherent Resolve and some indication of the cost.
- In 2014 it cost a total of 5 billion dollars for all participants. Roughly 11 million dollars a day.
- There have been 8289 air strikes, about two-thirds in Iraq and one-third in Syria.
- The UK has carried out 226 air strikes in Iraq with our 8 aircraft, or all the RAF’s combat aircraft.
- There are 13.5 million refugees, 6.5 million of these are internally displaced people.
We considered a few questions:
2012 – Geneva UN Security Council members + Turkey, Jordan, (and some I missed); the main issue was, “What will happen to Assad?”
Oct 2015 in Vienna was a bigger grouping of nations, the Security Council members plus regional powers such as Turkey & Iran, etc. There was still the question of Assad? In addition there were three, even four or more groups, operating in Syria. In effect a complicated civil war. There was also the question of Iranian v Saudi interests. And a transitional Syrian government was on the agenda. So that clarified the situation.
Then the Turks shot a Russian bomber out of the sky.
Speaker after speaker voiced their opposition to bombing. It was simple. Bombing will not solve the problem.
We have assisted with training forces in the region. We have supplied arms.
What other initiatives are underway? What is happening at the UN? What regional diplomatic initiatives are taking place?
A candidate in the forthcoming Police Commissioner Election spoke of the concerns that bombing will lead to more people leaving the UK to join the fight against “the infidels”. If the Government go ahead with a policy to bomb then we have to pay attention to the effect on the Bedford population.
If we bomb Syria it will never be forgotten. That has enormous implications.
David Cameron has not provided a sound reason to engage in a bombing offensive.
A couple of people said that we should attack ISIS with all means at our disposal.
I don’t think “All means at our disposal” will amount to much when we have two super powers operating in Syria. It’s worth remembering that we also have three members of the UN Security Council bombing Syria, USA, Russia and France, all with slightly different agendas. Turkey, Iran, Jordan, Saudi plus others such as Canada are all involved, doing the same thing, dropping bombs.
On the ground Assad’s army, the Free Syrian army, the Kurds, and various other groups are all fighting ISIS with a lot less than a united approach to solving the problem.
And there in the background are the arms dealers, supplying all sides.
I would say that this whole mess is crying out for a united approach to ISIS, one strategy, a coherent plan that includes:
- an answer to the Assad question
- a rational and coordinated military plan
- a coordinated response to refuges
- what happens when ISIS are no longer in Syria
- how is Syria to be rebuilt for the people who still live there
- how to deal with ISIS in other parts of the world
If the UK were to put its efforts into trying to develop a coherent response to some of these questions then the electorate just might feel our contribution was constructive, and not just more of the same.
Current bombing strategy is making little progress in ridding Syria of ISIS, looking after refugees, filling the vacuüm when ISIS has gone, and ultimately rebuilding Syria in the future.
All we are doing is moving from country to country, chasing groups of terrorists around the world and systematically bombing civilians and terrorists alike. All in the forlorn hope that it will solve the problem.
Once we have bombed ISIS out of Syria, which country will be next?
As for Richard Fuller, I’m not sure he is any wiser than me. And when it comes to a vote, he’ll probably vote with the Government.
Let’s face it, Parliament’s thinking seems to go no further than, “We’ve got to be seen to be doing something, so let’s drop more bombs”. It’ll make good headlines and make that Jeremy Corbyn fella look like a militant, leftie, pacifist.
I mean what sort of moderate advocates pacifism, not dropping bombs and trying to find a peaceful solution. No moderates are for bombing.
That’s old politics for you. And it doesn’t bloody work anymore
But thanks Richard. You gave us a chance to speak and you listened. Let’s hope you remember us when it comes to the vote. And whatever you do, don’t give Cameron a blank cheque, someone tried that with a guy called Blair, and it got us into right fucking mess.