In 2013 Parliament approved RAF air strikes against the so called Islamic State targets in Iraq and later tonight I shall be voting to support extending those air strikes against IS targets in Syria.
IS poses a very direct threat to the United Kingdom and our way of life– and as we have already seen in Iraq, RAF airstrikes can play a key role in degrading them. The motion I shall be supporting tonight does not deploy British troops on the ground.
IS has already taken the lives of British hostages and inspired the worst terrorist attack against British people since 7/7, on the beaches of Tunisia, and it has repeatedly tried to attack us right here in Britain.
In the last 12 months, our security services have disrupted no fewer than seven terrorist plots in the UK, each was either linked to IS or inspired by its propaganda. IS have attacked Ankara, Beirut and, most recently, Paris, as well as blowing up a Russian plane with 224 people on board. Having listened to briefings from our our top military leaders and director general of MI5, I am in no doubt that it is in our national interest for action to be taken to extend our air strikes – and this means taking action in Syria, because Raqqa is the HQ of IS.
But that is only part of a broader strategy for Syria, which includes finding a political solution to the turmoil; a diplomatic one and the continuation of our extensive humanitarian efforts; and a clear commitment to post-conflict reconstruction.
We also need to do much more than take military action in Syria, we must disrupt their networks, stop their funding, target their training camps and take out those plotting terrorist attacks against the UK.
Just as we have reduced the scale and size of the so-called caliphate in Iraq by around 30%, so we need to do the same thing in Syria. The Iraq/Syria border is not recognised by IS and we seriously hamper our efforts if we stop acting when we reach the Syrian border.
I appreciate that there are some constituents who will not share my views but I have considered all points of view put to me. A number of my constituents have also asked if taking this action could make the UK more of a target for attacks. The judgment of the Director General of the Security Service and the Chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee is that the UK is already in the top tier of countries that IS is targeting and we have had seven foiled attacks in the last year alone.
Importantly, a recent UN Security Council resolution calls for member states to take “all necessary measures” to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by IS and, crucially, it says that we should:
“…eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria”.
If approved, this action is not without risk and not without complexity but I believe it’s in the national interest to answer the call from our allies, and to work with them to fight this appalling terrorist organisation. IS is a threat to our country and this is the right thing to do to help to keep Britain safe.
Nigel Adams MP