My Thoughts on UK Airstrikes in Syria

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Over the past few days, I’ve been understandably queried on my views regarding whether Britain should bomb Daesh (ISIL) positions in Syria. In addition, some people have been asking me to protest against the bombing. Last night, MPs overwhelming voted to bomb Daesh in Syria.

Now I do understand where critics of the bombing campaign are coming from. Daesh will undoubtedly use the UK bombing campaign in their propaganda to support recruitment drives. I disagree with the Prime Minister that every pacifist or critic of the strategy is a “terrorist sympathiser”. Patently this is not true, though I think the comments were probably more rhetorical than a genuine reflection of his views on the matter.

In my view, no military intervention isn’t really an option. Daesh will hate and target us whether we bomb them or not. In addition to which, we are already bombing Daesh in Iraq, at the request of the Iraqi government. So it’s not like we aren’t already taking military intervention against the terrorist organization.

Nevertheless, we need to do more than just drop bombs. No matter how smart, bombs will not defeat Daesh on their own. We need to continue to very publicly challenge the Wahhabi-Islamist ideology at the core of Daesh and similar groups, and tackle their illegal economic operations, funding and support network.

Most importantly, we need to do much more with all international partners to put together a credible exit strategy; a political and economic solution that ensures a secure future for the Syrian and Iraqi peoples without terrorism or oppression.

Paul Salahuddin Armstrong

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