The House of Commons yesterday supported by a large majority (524 votes in favor and 43 against) the air British intervention in Iraq. The six hours of debate that preceded the vote were presided over by the ghost of the invasion of Iraq in 2003, which broke the British public and the political class. “We’re not in 2003,” proclaimed Prime Minister David Cameron. One argument which has also hit the leader of the opposition, Ed Miliband, to support the attack.
The motion of the Government, agreed with Labour, limited intervention to air strikes in Iraq and explicitly ruled out the deployment of troops on the ground and any intervention in Syria would require the filing of a new motion in the Commons, as specified by the text.
Cameron stated his belief that ” there are very strong arguments for Syria to do more but I will not make a motion to that effect in the House today because there is no consensus for it and our country is better than appropriate based on consensus.” He said, however, he does not believe there are ” legal impediments ” that UK could intervene in Syria.
He warned that the war “will not be a matter of months, but of years” and emphasized that it does have the action on the ground that many consider essential to defeat Islamic State, but not British: “There will be troops on the ground, Iraqi troops, Kurdish troops, “he said. And citing the many faces of violent Islamism, from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria Boko Haram in Nigeria, Al Shabab in Somalia and Al Qaeda in Yemen, warned: ” We are facing a generational struggle caused by the perversion of one of the great religions, Islam. “
Ed Miliband justified his support for the attack on the six conditions are met: it’s just a last resort, legal, has prospects of success, is in the area and support is provided.
Appealing to the legacy of Robin Cook, who in 2003 resigned as foreign minister Tony Blair for his opposition to the invasion of Iraq, he said: ” This multilateral action has been launched by a legitimate, democratic state. And if something needs to be done in a world order governed by rules is to protect democracy. That is what this motion. “
And also made it clear why he opposes extending Syria intervention: because he believes a UN resolution is needed to give legal cover, because unlike Iraq there is an army capable of confronting Islamic State by land and because has no clear ” roadmap” towards political change in Syria wants the prime minister.