British Prime Minister David Cameron on Thursday called on Parliament to support strikes against the jihadist group Islamic State (EI) in Syria two weeks after the Paris bombings that caused shockwaves in the UK.
“We must strike the terrorists in the heart now,” claimed Mr Cameron, without announcing a timetable for holding a vote. However, it should occur before December 17, when the parliamentary session will be suspended for year-end holidays and maybe even next week according to commentators.
“We have the [IE] deprived of a sanctuary in Syria.”
British Prime Minister
“It’s in Raqqa (EI stronghold in Syria, Ed) that some of the main threats against the country are planned and orchestrated,” said he warned, saying the September attacks foiled by service British security over the past year were “related or inspired” by the EI.
“We need to deprive them of a sanctuary in Syria,” he added, also noting that the United Kingdom could not “subcontract its security to other countries.”
For several months the British leader wants to extend to Syria air strikes that the UK leads past year against IE in Iraq.
But he was afraid of not having the endorsement of the majority of the assembly, which in August 2013 had inflicted a blow by voting against such strikes in Syria against the regime of Bashar al-Assad this time.
But today, “the risks of inaction are greater” than the risks of action, argued the British leader. “The danger has intensified in recent weeks,” he said again, remembering the attacks of 13 November in Paris, who made 130 dead and hundreds injured.
“If we do not act now when our ally, France, was attacked in this way, our allies would have the right to ask: if (you do) not now, then when,” he said.
The jihadist group “poisoning the minds of our youth,” he warned, noting that 800 Britons who visited the territories controlled by the IE, half have since returned to the UK.
“Already a majority”
A British military action in Syria would be limited to air strikes and there will be no soldiers on the ground, said Mr Cameron in a parliament still traumatized by the intervention in Iraq.
It would be part of an overall strategy for resolution of the Syrian conflict to prevent state collapse as was the case after the war in Iraq, he also argued.
“A diplomatic and political solution is essential for the long term,” he said, stressing the political transition and humanitarian action, to finish convince members.
Malcolm Chalmers, an expert at the research center on military matters RUSI, it would already be done. “A significant number of members have sided with the government’s opinion” since the attacks in Paris, he told AFP.
“I predict that the government will win the vote,” he assured.
Fawaz Gerges Professor, London School of Economics (LSE), also believes that Mr. Cameron has probably already the majority he wants, otherwise he would not have ventured to parliament Thursday.
Several Labour MPs have already indicated that they intended to vote in favor of strikes despite opposition from Jeremy Corbyn their leader.
The views, too, seems ready although some experts believe that British intervention could increase the risk of terrorist attacks in the UK. A recent poll Times / YouGov, 58% of Britons approve of the bombing in Syria.