Back in 2015, David Cameron brought forward a debate on military action against ISIS in Syria, following the abhorrent terrorist attacks in Paris.
That motion explicitly stated that any military action would be targeted against ISIS – and we were told time and again that this would not be a blank cheque for action in Syria . This was the precedent to be followed.
Yet, less than two-and-a-half years on, we have a new Tory Prime Minister who has taken military action in Syria without consulting MPs.
Make no mistake, the scenes that have been coming out of Douma are some of the most heart-breaking and sickening of this long and horrifying war in Syria – and the apparent use of chemical weapons is simply barbaric.
But throwing more missiles at the war-torn country will help nobody – and it’s extraordinary for the Prime Minister to plough ahead with military action without even so much as a Parliamentary debate. That is why the SNP are calling for an emergency debate at Westminster.
This is a prime minister who lost her overall majority last year. She has no mandate for escalating violence in Syria. This point was made perfectly clear in SNP Westminster leader Ian Blackford’s letter to the Prime Minister last week.
As he said to May, to blindly go ahead with military intervention without the backing of Parliament and, crucially, with no short or long-term plan, would be unforgivable.
The Prime Minister has no specified, achievable outcomes, no clear, effective strategy that benefits civilians on the ground in Syria and no indication of an exit strategy.
May based the UK’s response to the suspected use of chemical weapons off the back of what President Trump decided to tweet that morning.
By taking military action, the UK Government have failed to learn the lessons of the past. They are going in guns blazing and risk making this horrific situation even worse for civilians.
The UK Government should instead be working with our partners in the international community to ensure a considered response with a clear strategy – that enables proper investigation, prevents the development and use of chemical weapons, holds those responsible to account, and helps bring the war to a close.
We need to increase sanctions against those responsible for the deadly attack – and increase our efforts to document those involved in chemical warfare infrastructure to help back war crimes prosecutions.
Air-strikes have not prevented these attacks and they will not provide the long term solutions needed to end the war.
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