The Chair of the Defence Committee and Conservative MP Julian Lewis declared in today’s discussions over extending British airstrikes to Syria, that going ahead with Cameron’s motion would be ‘ineffective and potentially dangerous’.
This scathing criticism of the Prime Minister’s plans for military action comes off the back of increasing concern over future implications if airstrikes over Syria were to be authorised, following the vote after 10pm tonight.
Many MPs have referred to the move to extend airstrikes as nothing more than a ‘symbolic gesture’ for the benefit of our friend and neighbour, France, in a knee-jerk reaction to the Paris attacks on 13 November.
With the shadow of Iraq hanging heavily over the Chamber, concerns have been raised over whether the 70 000 ‘moderate’ ground troops Cameron has claimed we can rely on to coordinate our airstrikes actually exist (WMDs, anyone?).
Conservative MP John Baron went as far as to describe these troops as ‘mythical’.
What we do know about the troops in Syria is that they are fragmented, with groups pledging their allegiance to tribes and local areas and primarily working towards furthering their own political interests as opposed to coordinating to achieve a single goal.
Should Cameron be successful in obtaining a ‘yes’ vote tonight, which looks increasingly likely, British citizens will have been forcibly dragged into an already fragmented conflict that shows no signs of abating, and little hope of a peace process for the Syrians. Worryingly, the Prime Minister has already said that if a terrorist attack in the UK by Daesh (ISIL) occurs in the next few weeks, this will not have been because of his decision to bomb Syria. What on earth are you preparing your citizens for, David?