Air-strikes in Northern Syria: Who wins?

David Cameron today made a speech stating that the UK cannot and should not stand a-side and let other countries carry the burden of ISIS – and asks in the commons: ‘If not now, when?’ The PM has urged MPs to back anti-ISIL UK airstrikes in Northern Syria, saying that ISIS are using the sanctuary of Northern Syria to launch plots with deadly intent against the British people.

Smoke rises over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the town of Suruc in this file October 18, 2014 file photo.
Smoke rises over Syrian town of Kobani after an airstrike, as seen from the Mursitpinar border crossing on the Turkish-Syrian border in the town of Suruc in this file October 18, 2014 file photo.

Earlier this month the Foreign Select Committee issued a report to MPs urging caution surrounding air strikes in Syria – the Foreign Select Committee in the UK expressly state that airstrikes in Syria would have ‘minimal effect’ – it has been argued that Syria will just end up becoming another Iraq-esque disaster. Critics against proposed airstrikes in Syria have continually pointed out that, like Libya and Iraq, the UK does not have any post-air strike plans to support the innocent civilians who will be directly affected by UK airstrikes in the region – but in a mirrored image of the 2003 invasion of Iraq – innocent civilians are not in the forefront of our high ranking MPs thoughts nor are they the number one concern for the majority of the British public.

The phenomenon of Islamic extremism strongly divides opinion. We are living in fear of an imminent terror attack following the Paris attacks a little over 10 days ago. By all accounts, the worst terror attacks on France to date. Many lives affected drastically both direct and indirectly by young cold-hearted gunmen. It is difficult for one to imagine such events taking place in Paris prior to the actual sustained incidents. As a western and European country, one would imagine France will be thoroughly aware of the danger posed by the sickening death cult Daesh, infamously known as ISIS. Did the victims pay the price for the failures from the security services? Was it an inevitable outcome; owing to France’ involvement with the on-going war on terror? Nothing is certain in the face of such real horror. Images of blood stained pavements and shattered glass windows echoed the accounts of rampant terror the night before. Unanswered questions from the mainstream media, forced most to turn to social networking sites for live developments and instant information, horrific moments that shocked world over. Some question if there sufficient warnings fatally ignored by the French government.

An overview of ISIS controlled zones
An overview of ISIS controlled zones

Friday November 13th was like any other day in the city of Paris but the night will not easily be forgotten, such is true particularly for the residents and families of the victims. The beautiful city of Paris of left tarnished by the unsuspecting terror unleashed upon its streets. Islamic state quickly claimed responsibility for the horrific wave of attacks. We are told often, young people who join the ranks of ISIS are suffering from social exclusion and pressures which leads them into the direction of so-called Jihadist groups. The security forces in Paris were assembled relatively quickly, a marker which distinguishes the West and other regions. The recent attacks in Tunisia, which saw a lone wolf terrorist shoot and use grenades to target tourists, exposed just how long it takes their security forces to assemble. Similarly also security measures in Egypt were recently scrutinized. How tough should the West be in the fight against terror? That is the primary question that our politicians must address. We all have a breaking point, western states have retaliated and Britain remains tentative in our effort to engage in Syria, whilst seemingly strengthening our security.

The innocent people going about their lives in Syria should not be forgotten
The innocent people going about their lives in Syria should not be forgotten

Prime Minister David Cameron has tried to expedite the decision-making process regarding Syria – he is demanding that Britain takes action. But in order for this to happen Cameron needs to convince the House of Commons – specifically Labour MPs to vote for anti-ISIL airstrikes. It is currently unknown whether the Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn will allow his Labour MPs to vote individually on the bill – Corbyn has been very clear in his thoughts that the UK should not be involved in yet another conflict in the middle-east on the back of the disaster surrounding UK aggression in Iraq and Libya. However, David Cameron has stated that a new government in Syria is required to meet the needs of the Syrian people. Incidentally, the same rhetoric was used by MPs before the invasion of Iraq and before Gaddafi was ousted as Libyan leader. Following the war in Iraq it is estimated that up to 500,000 Iraqis have died with around 118,000 of those being innocent civilians whilst thousands of Libyan civilians died following the 2011 invasion of the country. Clearly, the Iraqi people nor the Libyan people are not any better off following UK invasions in the aforementioned countries – so why should Syria be any different?

Winston Churchill said that ‘those that fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it’ and it seems that the only losers are the families of UK military men and women and the millions of innocent civilians who feel the stings of rich MPs and their voting ballots.

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