As things stand, I would not support military action in Syria. I see the validity of the government’s argument that we can bomb in Iraq but not Syria – recognising an international border that IS does not recognise. I believe that IS is a fascist extremist group with whom there can be no negotiation and which must be defeated.
However, I do not believe that bombing in Syria at the moment would do anything other than make matters worse. There is a civil war with at least three, and more likely six or seven, different sides. We oppose IS and we oppose Assad, so do we bomb both of them? Will that help persuade the Russians to stop bombing Assad’s opponents whom we support? The situation is chaotic and more bombing would not calm or clarify that chaos. Indeed I held that view before Turkey shot down a Russian plane recently, which just confirmed my fears.
In order to support bombing in Syria I would need assurances that such action was legal, and that there was a genuine post-conflict peace, reconciliation and reconstruction plan in place. It is fair to say that one of the reasons – but not the only reason – why we are in this mess now is because of the failure to make those arrangements in Iraq after the fall of Saddam. I see no proposals currently that would satisfy me that there are plans in place for a secure and sustainable peace in Syria.
One argument I reject is that bombing will make us more of a terrorist target. We are a target already and will continue to be until IS and other fundamentalist groups are defeated, militarily and ideologically.
I will monitor the situation and mine is not a hard and fast position, but as things stand I would not support military action in Syria.