Thursday, 25 September 2014

On tomorrow’s debate in the UK House of Commons

Tomorrow will see a debate in the British Parliament on whether the UK should join military action in Iraq against ISIS (Islamic State / ISIS / ISIL / DAESH)in response to a request from the Iraqi Government.

Yes, British parliamentarians should support military action in this case, but their focus should be firmly on the protection of civilians. This means not just acting to stop IS atrocities, but also demanding of Britain’s ally, the Iraqi Government, that Iraq’s military takes proper steps to protect civilians, and that sectarian militias currently fighting alongside Iraq’s army be replaced with non-sectarian professional military forces as quickly as possible.

Related reading:
Syria is not the topic of tomorrow’s debate, but Syria is where IS has its main bases, and Iraq has also called for the international community to help defend them by striking IS in Syria. Just as Iraq is entitled to call on allies to defend it on its own territory, it is equally entitled under the UN Charter’s Article 51 to call for help to defend itself against the threat from Syrian territory, including by strikes within Syrian territory.

If the UK Parliament comes to debate action in Syria in the near future, the focus there should also be on protecting civilians. That would require tackling Assad’s terror as well as IS.

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