Analysis Of The UK’s Vote On Bombing ISIS

December 10, 2015 • Asia, Europe, Middle East, Politics, Syria, UK

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Was the UK vote on bombing ISIS an emotional charged knee-jerk, or a well-thought out strategy?


The murder of 130 people on the night of the 13th of November reverberated around the world. The attack perpetrated while Parisians revelled in their city on a Friday night, watching football, eating out, enjoying a concert.

It is often too easy to get caught up in the emotional turmoil of a tragedy like this. Too quick to react; too eager for retribution, no pause for thought. It seemed the entire globe was glued to the 24 hour news networks as events unfolded, it was here a mere six hours after the first reports of the attacks millions watched French prime minister Francois Hollande declare war on ISIS,

Incredibly, in less than six hours the French security services and government had decided that ISIS was responsible for this horrific attack. That may well be the case but six hours isn’t long enough for the French security forces to have a clear timeline of  how the attacks transpired, let alone conduct a thorough and detailed investigation. The declaration of war on ISIS was farcical, an easy narrative to placate the understandably hurting French public and dispel the perception of a president ‘soft’ on terror.

Within a matter of hours aircraft from the French air force conducted bombing raids against ‘ISIS’ targets within Syria alongside the Russians and the US. Adding to an already extremely complicated situation where none of the main protagonists can agree on who the enemy is let alone decide on a plan for victory – whatever a victory in Syria looks like. Declaring war on ISIS was a statement of defiance in the face of huge sorrow and suffering. However, did the French president consider how they were going to fight/win against a loose band of Islamist extremists, oil bootleggers and Middle East power brokers who are already in a three way civil war against a Russian supported tyrannical regime and a variety of western supplied, sometimes trained ‘moderate’ rebels. Probably not.

A, perhaps surprisingly, large majority of the House of Commons passed a vote late Wednesday night to join the bombing of ISIS targets. RAF Tornado bombers will leave their base on Cyprus to join the French, Americans, Turkish, Russians and what’s left of Syrian airpower in the mutual destruction of cities like Raqqa and Aleppo. Parliament backed these air strikes with a vote of 397 to 223, including 66 Labour MPs who disagreed with their party leader’s opinion against bombing as the strategy did ‘not stack up’. It is easy to agree with Jeremy Corbyn’s assessment where there seems to be no forward planning or end goal put forward by this government. This was an extremely important motion, I would like to think that the men and women we entrust with our votes did not take their decision lightly, that they did not play party politics, that they did not vote yes and in turn endanger innocent lives just to weaken a party leader they do not care for. Maybe it was David Cameron’s unbelievable assertion that whoever voted no on the vote was a terrorist sympathiser that swayed their minds, a truly ludicrous statement for which the Prime Minister should be ashamed.

It may be that like many people, those MPs who sided with Corbyn’s assessment could not see the logic of bombing a country many thousands of miles away in order to keep the public safe in the UK. It may be at £24,000 a bomb that the money was better spent elsewhere. Perhaps it is simply that there may be another solution.

Consider this, if an atrocity like Paris was committed by the I.RA. in London would we be calling for the indiscriminate bombing of Irish towns and cities. I think not.

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