John Baron MP cautions against Prime Minister’s Syrian statement

November 30, 2015
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MP opposes air strikes in Syria

Today in the House of Commons, the Prime Minister responded to the recent report of the Foreign Affairs Select Committee, and set out the Government’s case for extending military strikes against Daesh into Syria.

In the House of Commons, John asked,

“Having just returned from the Middle East, regional powers and friends believe that, without a realistic long-term strategy and better local knowledge, we will repeat our mistaken interventions in Iraq, Afghanistan post-2006, and Libya. Key questions remain unanswered: how best to combat the ideology and sectarianism that generally feed extremist groups; how best to disrupt Daesh’s business interests, having talked about it for over a year now, but with very little effect; and how sure we are of the 70,000-figure for the Free Syrian Army, given local reports that very few moderates remain in this Syrian civil war?”

“I suggest to the Prime Minister that, without these answers, air strikes will only reinforce the West’s failure in the region generally at a time when there are already too many aircraft chasing too few targets.”

The Prime Minister responded that, in his view, there are too many terrorists chasing too many targets. He added that the ‘Prevent’ strategy is intended to counter Daesh’s ideology in the UK, and that he supported all measures to disrupt Daesh’s business activities. The Prime Minister also stated the 70,000 figure is based upon the best information available to the Government.

Afterwards, John said,

“Too many questions remain unanswered about the lack of a long-term strategy – both military and non-military. But without identified and credible local ground forces, air power alone will not defeat Daesh. We should therefore not commit to air strikes until we have that strategy in place.”

Ends
Word Count: 302
Date: 26th November 2015

Notes to Editors:
• John has recently written two articles on Syria, online at: http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/islamic-state/12002925/British-air-strikes-alone-will-not-defeat-Isil.html and http://www.conservativehome.com/platform/2015/11/john-baron-mp-a-successful-syrian-intervention-requires-a-grand-strategy-and-co-operation-with-iran-and-russia.html.
• The FAC’s recent report on Syria, to which the Prime Minister responded, is available online at: http://www.publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201516/cmselect/cmfaff/457/457.pdf.
• John voted against air strikes in Iraq in September 2014, and led the Parliamentary opposition to military intervention in Syria in 2013, whether by arming the anti-Assad rebels or by conducting air strikes against the Assad Government.
• As part of this campaign, he was successful in getting the Government to seek Parliament’s approval before intervening militarily.

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