The House of Commons voted against airstrikes in Syria in 2013.
However, here we are in November 2015; and the same question is being asked.
Well, what has changed? Now some of you are sighing here, because unless you’ve been living under a rock in deepest Timbuktu – you know what has changed. One hundred and thirty people were killed in Paris on a Friday night in a terrible terrorist attack.
There are parallels between the city of Paris and London. They are both modern Western cities, they are both multicultural and they are both dealing with the fact that IS (Daesh) propaganda is inspiring ‘homegrown’ terrorists.
So, it is unsurprising that we are asking this question again. It is right that we consider the best way to protect ourselves.
But I will ask again, what has really changed?
In reality, British presence on Syrian soil is not an entirely new concept. In July 2015, it emerged that British pilots took part in airstrikes on Syria after a Freedom of Information Request from human rights group Reprieve.
This information confused some politicians, especially Conservative MP John Baron, who is also a member of the foreign affairs select committee. On BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme he said:
Let’s be absolutely clear about this. We voted in 2013, when parliament had been recalled from recess, that there should be no British military intervention in Syria. We were told that No 10 had got the message and that any future intervention would be subject to a vote.
Here we are learning that we have British military personnel engaged in airstrikes, so I hope the government takes the earliest opportunity to come to parliament and explain its position because I think a number of colleagues will ask questions.”
Just as in 2013, there are now still politicians from different parties who are not sure about airstrikes in Syria.
David Cameron is not one of those politicians. The prime minister has long been convinced that Britain should be involved in airstrikes on Syria.
Speaking to US television network NBC during a trip to America in July, he said:
But be in no doubt we are committed to working with you to destroy the caliphate in both countries [Iraq and Syria]
In July 2015, he authorised a drone attack in Syria, which killed jihadists Reyaad Khan from Cardiff and Ruhul Amin, from Aberdeen. This was the first use of British assets to conduct a strike in a country where it is not at war in modern times.
Moreover, he has made defence spending a priority, especially drones and counter-terrorist facilities.
According to an article by the Telegraph, Cameron now has enough political support for airstrikes in Syria.
Did the horrific tragedy in Paris this November change everything? Or did it allow the powers that be to make us think that everything has changed.
The truth is that I don’t know – what do you think?
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