Parliament has voted, 524 for 43 against, for another bombing campaign in Iraq. Islamic State positions will be targeted by 6 British Tornado GR4 aircraft from their base in the Greek part of Cyprus.
Some have argued that the Islamic-State/ISIS/ISIL should not even be referred to as Islamic. This in my view is unrealistic. ISIS justify their actions using references from Islamic scripture. We can’t hide from the fact that within the current theological model of Islam there is material that enables an interpretation for the justification of barbarism. This is a problem that needs to be tackled head-on through direct theological debate against these extremist interpretations of scripture.
The scope of military action excludes Syria and any infantry on the ground making this a symbolic gesture. Action in Syria has been ruled out because the Labour leader Ed Miliband wants approval through a United Nations security council resolution. He knows full well that any attempt to pass a security council resolution against Syria will be vetoed by Russia and possibly China.
Rushanara Ali, Labour’s shadow education minister, abstained and resigned from her ministerial role. She cited her decision as one based on principle. The views of a significant proportion of her constituents and an election looming next year was probably the deciding factor. Taking the views of your constituents into consideration is exactly what MPs should be doing and I respect her decision to abstain.
I personally don’t think the military action against ISIS will make any significant changes to the political and social landscape of this region. ISIS is not a conventional army with proper military bases and locations. I expect they’ll just melt away and become absorbed into the surrounding communities once the bombing starts to have an impact. They’ll still be there but in another form.
We need to do more than simply react to events in the MIddle East and start dealing with the root cause instead of symptoms. The greatest threat to our future is not global warming but the oppression and corruption of dictatorships around the world. Its this injustice that needs to be tackled aggressively to ensure the long-term safety of future generations.
Much of what happens in the MIddle East revolves around oppression and brutality. I’ve already made my views clear on Syria and Israel. In Iraq we’ve witnessed a Shia majority use the training and military hardware supplied by the US to relentlessly persecute a Sunni minority. In Bahrain the oppression flows in an opposite direction from a Sunni minority towards a Shia majority.
Across the Middle East dictatorships continue to torture and murder their people. Organisations such as ISIS feed on the resulting hatred that many feel. They couldn’t exist if it were not for the persecution of Sunni’s in Syria by Assad and by Nouri al-Maliki in Iraq.
We ought to be focusing on eliminating the root causes rather than making symbolic gestures.