Friday, 30 August 2013

Syria: That motion

So here we are - it's now tomorrow (30th August) and whilst some are celebrating Cameron's defeat in the House of Commons and others bemoaning the lack of influence that he has, elsewhere the people of Syria are dealing with another atrocity, this time involving incendiary devices.

And I'm confused because what we had before us was an opportunity to go round to the place where the naughty person lives and have a chat to his Dad - not go round and shoot the naughty person! I'm hearing how the result was a triumph for democracy and sound thinking and yet, looking at the motion I have printed below, I have to ask the question: WHAT?

Let us consider the motion step-by-step:

 That this House:
  • Deplores the use of chemical weapons in Syria on 21 August 2013 by the Assad regime, which caused hundreds of deaths and thousands of injuries of Syrian civilians;
Can any sane or rational person disagree with this?
  • Recalls the importance of upholding the worldwide prohibition on the use of chemical weapons under international law;
Or this?
    • Agrees that a strong humanitarian response is required from the international community and that this may, if necessary, require military action that is legal, proportionate and focused on saving lives by preventing and deterring further use of Syria’s chemical weapons;
    Everything that R2P,  the Geneva (and other) Conventions, Law of Armed Conflict and International law demand is enshrined in this clause - this is not Iraq, neither it is warmongering or misplaced!
        • Notes the failure of the United Nations Security Council over the last two years to take united action in response to the Syrian crisis;
        • Any they're telling the truth - the UNSC has been weak, toothless and because of that, complicit in the journey that has led us to chemical (and latterly, incendiary) attacks.
        • Notes that the use of chemical weapons is a war crime under customary law and a crime against humanity, and that the principle of humanitarian intervention provides a sound legal basis for taking action;
        • Too true - for whether they have signed up to agreements, conventions or anything else, what we have is indiscriminate use of WMDs against the nations own people and therefore they stand accused and open to the international communities response (diplomacy, sanctions, green lines and when all else has failed - military action too).
        • Notes the wide international support for such a response, including the statement from the Arab League on 27 August which calls on the international community, represented in the United Nations Security Council, to “overcome internal disagreements and take action against those who committed this crime, for which the Syrian regime is responsible”;
        And yet we can ignore this for our own comfort and peace of mind (we can sleep easy knowing we've ignored this call can we?).
        • Believes, in spite of the difficulties at the United Nations, that a United Nations process must be followed as far as possible to ensure the maximum legitimacy for any such action;
        Not a 'go it alone - gung ho motion this is it? This is something that seeks to set a tone that will be taken back and democratically within the UNSC setting be foundational.
        • Therefore welcomes the work of the United Nations investigating team currently in Damascus, and, whilst noting that the team’s mandate is to confirm whether chemical weapons were used and not to apportion blame, agrees that the United Nations Secretary General should ensure a briefing to the United Nations Security Council immediately upon the completion of the team’s initial mission;
        • Not a jerking knee in sight here (is there?) - get the investigations done and bring the facts to the table so that those who have done wrong may be dealt with within the fullest measure of the law. No reliance upon US intelligence but a call to have the fullest facts, rightly gained and delivered to those who need them most - the UNSC!
        • Believes that the United Nations Security Council must have the opportunity immediately to consider that briefing and that every effort should be made to secure a Security Council Resolution backing military action before any such action is taken, and notes that before any direct British involvement in such action a further vote of the House of Commons will take place; and
        • So even if the UNSC voted for something direct - there would be a return and another debate held in the Commons to respond to that - this is a fail safe rather than a call to irresponsible action - it is democracy and being part of a wider, democratic, body in all its fulness.
        • Notes that this Resolution relates solely to efforts to alleviate humanitarian suffering by deterring use of chemical weapons and does not sanction any action in Syria with wider objectives.
        No regime change, long-term occupation or prolonged engagement - this is about humanitarian response and the protection of those who have thus far been left unprotected by those who can go home to their beds and sleep safely in the knowledge they, and their children, will not be subject to chemical (or other) attack.

        If you read this and agree that within the motion you find nothing that causes you concern - perhaps you should ask your MP why they did if the voted against it?

        And then perhaps you should ask how the relatives and loved ones of these people feel (and how you'd be feeling if the roles were reversed)?


            Anonymous said...

            I am left saddened, appalled and more than a little ashamed of my nation and its politicians tonight :-(

            Soup D said...

            I have the uneasy feeling that our politicians are a bunch of cowards who have decided to 'stay out of it' in the knowledge that the USA will still go in.

            Vic Van Den Bergh said...

            Milliband has played politics where he should have been playing international statesman - so now his morally, as well as financially bankrupt, party opens doors for US to go it alone - no wonder Grommet left him!

            (wonder if he lives with the other brother now?)

            Vic Van Den Bergh said...

            Some most apt words:

            You may choose to look the other way but you can never say again that you did not know.

            William Wilberforce