Sunday, 29 November 2015
The UK Opposition Leader Jeremy Corbyn’s logic and actions so far in saying that the case for bombing Syria has not yet been made, are correct. The case has not been made – as I will explain. This is effective Opposition. But further action is required on his part – and that of his party Labour, to ensure that his contribution is effective – and – of importance for him and his party, that it is recognised.
This is important for the UK. Mr Corbyn’s Opposition should be used by the UK Government as leverage to get the Allies thinking more clearly, to develop a properly coordinated campaign that will defeat Daesh.
Labour can in turn use this as leverage with the Government, to prick it into effective action. This is what Leaders of HM Opposition are paid to do.
Such parliamentary interactions could be used by the Government and its generals in dealing with the USA and Allies, who would be mindful that Parliament has already refused to bomb Syria. This would give UK the military leverage it has so notably lacked – particularly in the Iraq invasion fiasco.
Necessary Actions Concurrent with Bombing:
- Stop demanding Assad’s removal. We need his troops to fight Daesh.
- Join forces with Russia to coordinate the air strikes – as already advised by General David Richards.
- Engage Russia, Iran and Syrian opposition to get a ground ceasefire and all concentrate on fighting Daesh
- Talk with President Rouhani of Iran who is British educated and would respond better than he has with the Americans, to such a soft power approach.
- Set up and publicise immediate long term local community strategies for education, employment training, local protection, medical care, electricity, etc to all communities liberated from Daesh.
Do the same in Iraq, in Libya when the time comes, Yemen and Nigeria. This gives communities confidence to resist Daesh, which is the only way to win an asymmetric war.
The case for bombing Syria requires the concurrent activity I have listed above to be taking place in order that bombing be effective.
The military justification given in the House by the Prime Minister – superior target acquisition pods and so on – came from the Royal Air Force. Asymmetric warfare does not provide the same clearly defined targets, as once bombing starts, the headquarters and other concentrations that characterise conventional warfare, evaporate into the towns and villages which then have to be bombed with great loss of civilian life. The air force view always exaggerates the effectiveness of bombing.
This last point is vital here; until the ground battle is clarified and everyone stops fighting each other, and until full coordination in achieved with Russia, bombing will not benefit the ground war required to defeat Daesh; and may even help Daesh consolidate hatred of the Allies.
Bombing becomes useful once ground and air coordination has been achieved. But it must be coordinated as part of a ground war, plus economic sanctions and the other factors in the list above.