John Baron MP: Questions remain over UK’s proposed air strikes in Iraq

September 25, 2014
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MP says past errors suggest caution and better scrutiny

Following news of the recall of Parliament tomorrow, and despite all three main Party leaders advocating military intervention in Iraq, John Baron MP cautions that key questions will still need answering before the UK should commit to air strikes.

John said,

“The urgency of the proposed intervention needs examining given the cost of recalling Parliament and the fact the only thing that has changed on the ground is that the Iraqi Government has requested support. The Government clearly knows something Parliament yet does not.”

“As a soldier, a clear mission and exit strategy was always paramount. Most accept that air strikes alone will not destroy or defeat IS, as we have already seen. So what is plan B regarding regional ground forces? Without the Iraqi Army taking and holding ground, air strikes alone could prove ineffective and, at worse, counter-productive. But there is no sign that the 250,000 strong, well-armed, Iraqi Army has got its act together. If this remains the case, what is the exit strategy?”

“Soldiers can only buy time. The solution has to be political. And yet, despite the removal of the sectarian al-Maliki, a lot of his key people have remained in place and there appears precious little progress towards a more inclusive form of government. The absence of Sunni support in the north is one reason the air strikes so far have been largely ineffective. The politics have got to be right.”

“Both Government and Labour need to conduct better scrutiny of such decisions after recent interventions. Going to war on a false premise in 2003, the disastrous morphing of the Afghanistan mission into nation-building in 2006, and the intervention in Libya in 2011 which is fast turning into a vicious civil war – their Parliament having to take refuge on a Greek car ferry – all suggest caution. In effect, the West’s contrasting approach to the Syrian civil war within the last year is yet another example.”

“My vote will depend on the answers to such questions.”

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