Division is apparent in Britain after last night’s vote to extend air strikes against ISIS/Daesh into Syria. As the debate unfolded in Parliament it was clear that the agenda of the government would prevail and, indeed, the motion was passed with a majority of 174.
With that, Britain has signed up to help the allied forces who are bombing ISIS strongholds. Parliament, last night, agreed that bombing Syria would protect our national security, contribute to the removal of ISIS, and demonstrate our solidarity with the French. These main arguments echoed throughout the Commons during a lengthy ten-hour debate.
However, Parliament failed to propose a clear vision for the state of a post-ISIS Syria. No one is disputing ISIS is an evil cult that must be annihilated. Yet, Parliament failed to come up with a strategic programme for the reconstruction of Syria. Moreover, extending air strikes into Syria will not markedly improve our ability to eliminate ISIS. Allied forces are already using air capabilities to bomb ISIS, but the evidence shows that it harms civilians more than combatants. ISIS continues to expand and the civil war in Syria has no clear end in sight. Last night, Parliament pledged support for a campaign that will kill innocent lives rather than its targets.
The removal of ISIS requires a clear UN mandate, with nations all over the world supporting a ceasefire in Syria. The international community needs to be unified in condemning the war and needs to work together in order to achieve a diplomatic solution. The main objective of the UN has to be clear; to remove ISIS and help build peace in the region. In the meantime, Britain and the rest of the international community should try to shut down ISIS through economic means, and should try to stem the flow of arm sales to the organisation.
This civil war is bigger than just the removal of ISIS – something that wasn’t apparent in the House of Commons yesterday. This civil war, and its outcome, is about reconstructing a nation. The international community needs to stand united in order to build peace in the region, and the Syrian people need to stand united against Assad and ISIS.
Trying to solve war is never easy and so much could have been achieved from yesterday’s debate in Parliament, yet so little came out of it.