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Tuesday, December 1, 2015

The UK should not increase its military role in fighting ISIS

For what it is worth, this was my contribution to the tens of thousands no doubt unread submissions to Jeremy Corbyn's consultation on what stance he/Labour should take on Syria/ISIS etc:

“Extending the UK's role in the air war against ISIS has no clear legal basis nor is it likely to make the streets of the UK safer. Afghanistan, Libya and Iraq today have a significant Al-Qaida and/or ISIS presence despite (or partly because of) the UK's active role in western military intervention in these countries. The 7/7 attack on London was facilitated but not determined by training acquired in the territory of a functioning state, the UK/western ally Pakistan. There is no strategy for countering ISIS in Syria and Iraq that has a realistic prospect of convincing Sunni Arabs that these countries can be stitched back together with political and security guarantees for their community that lessen the appeal of violence as a tactical weapon. The (western allied) Sunni Arab-led Gulf states have not the will, capacity or political interest in putting themselves in the service of this community's ambitions in these countries - they are focused on obliterating perceptible Iranian allies in Yemen. Iran, Russia and even France to a degree are prioritising a Shia interest in Iraq and in Syria - as a strategic asset in the Iranian and even Russian case, and a lesser evil than ISIS in the eyes of France. There is no UN Security Council Resolution or No 10 plan that can overcome such deep-seated differences of interest on the ground or among the regional and international players in the conflict. Make sure that the UK does not increase its role in essentially sectarian territorial struggles of local actors egged on by comparably narrow regional interests, all in the misguided belief that the particular "evil" of ISIS somehow makes this war, this time, different and that our tools of choice will somehow, this time, have a different impact.”

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