Jo Stevens

A strong voice for Cardiff Central

Air Strikes in Syria

I woke up this morning to the overnight news that the the UK had taken part in air strikes in Syria alongside the USA and France.

I believe this action is illegal under international law. It has not been requested by the Syrian Government. There is no UN Security Resolution authorising it. It is not an act of self defence. Those are the only three exemptions under the UN Charter which would permit the UK Government to take this action. None of them apply.

We cannot pick and choose when to comply with international law and if we undertake illegal action we cannot with any credibility then criticise other countries that act illegally. UK foreign and defence policy should be legal, consistent and accountable.

The Prime Minister should not have taken this step without Parliamentary approval. Our constituents elect us to take exactly this type of decision on their behalf after considered debate on the evidence and through a vote. Theresa May does not even have a majority government and there should have been a vote. Parliament could have been recalled at any point in the last week for this. The Prime Minister chose not to because it is likely she would have lost the vote.

The basis for these air strikes was that the Syrian regime has used chemical weapons against its own people. Evidenced use of such weapons is illegal and deplorable. Today, chemical weapons inspectors were due to start their investigations. The overnight air strikes are likely to have jeopardised those investigations by destroying evidence.

I voted against air strikes against Syria previously. I would have voted against air strikes this time too, largely for the same reasons, some of which I have outlined above.

This action substantially risks escalating tensions in the region and the likelihood of further civilian deaths. We had no long term strategy explained to us in 2015 for air strikes and no long term strategy set out this year either. Resolving the Syrian conflict needs leadership and international political strategy. Theresa May has shown neither.

Reactions

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commented 2018-04-18 21:50:53 +0100
I agree with you 100% on this issue Mrs Stevens. As someone who is horrified at the foreign policy of the UK I was wondering what we could actually do apart from waiting till the next elections to stop this madness?
commented 2018-04-14 20:02:53 +0100
Thank you for your advice. Which BNP/UKIP intellectuals would you specifically recommend I follow in order to educate myself?
You seem to suggest that because the UN hasn’t forged world peace individual nations have the right to step in – interesting concept – presumably that includes Russia?
My own view is that giving the UN funding and teeth would be preferable but I expect I’m in error – please expand on your own thinking?
commented 2018-04-14 19:20:34 +0100
Yeh let’s just let people gas their own people with banned weapons and sit idly by! What destroyed evidence – Douma never got hit by the strikes? Highly likely the Syrian regime has already destroyed a lot of evidence before the UN even got there! The UN is ineffective and never will be effective as it places too much power in 5 countries! Pull your head out and stop using RT to get your news! I would recommend following more people on Twitter and more global news channels!
commented 2018-04-14 14:57:03 +0100
“Assessment, highly likely, highly likely, likely, highly unlikely, unlikely, probably, suggest, may have been, may have, suspected, highly likely, information indicating, continue to judge, highly unlikely”

These words were chosen by Mark Sedwill KCMG to ‘support’ the government’s case for military intervention in Syria. His letter expressed no greater certitude than the above words convey.

Any impartial reader would be forced to conclude that his opinion on the government’s justification for action is “Well, er, maybe.”

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