When the government tells you that we can destroy Daesh by bombing them, do not take them at their word. Think about how Daesh came to exist. A group of dissatisfied Muslims who were not happy with the way the West had interfered in the Middle East and created chaos by setting up a group to fight them. So what makes us think that we can defeat an ideology opposed to Western intervention through military intervention?
Until Cameron and the rest of the warmongering Tories (bar seven who voted against the action) decide to face the facts and see that war will not solve war, the conflict will continue and will only intensify. More innocent civilians will be killed in this war that is based on the (understandable) need for revenge than in Paris. So why is it that those slaughtered in Paris are humanised and seen as victims whilst the many equally innocent Syrians killed by our bombs will be labeled unavoidable losses. We have the power to stop the fate that befell Parisians befalling many others, why would we choose to inflict death on innocent civilians? It is not as if there are simpler nonviolent ways of defeating Daesh.
How about we cut off the arms link we have to Saudi Arabia?. As if using British weapons to execute its own citizens wasn’t bad enough, the Saudis also give arms made in our country to Daesh. We have the power to disarm Daesh (and disarm the brutal Saudis at the same time) as easily as placing a trade embargo on Saudi Arabia. If only Fallon had put his morals ahead of money.Yes, this will not remove the threat that Daesh currently poses but at the very least it will prevent it from being able to gain any more strength. This is just one of the diplomatic ways in which we can help solve the Syrian problem. What Daesh fears more than anything else are peace talks. When confronted with logical thinkers, from all faiths, Daesh’s pleas for recruits will flat. Their simple, incorrect way of thinking will be made even clearer to everyone than it already is. People say that Daesh will not sit down to negotiate. How on earth will we ever know if we do not try. Cameron calls war a last resort, but there are so many more logical alternatives that have not been tried.
There are other long-standing issues that have led to the creation of the conflict in Iraq and Syria that need to be solved before we can have peace. Bombing solves none of them. A recent study into the conflict found that one of the major causes of it was climate change. Like Daesh, climate change is a threat not just to Syrians, but to all of us as well. In fact, it is a much larger threat. Left to its own devices, climate change will wreck our planet and will continue to create conflict. We need to take action now to stop the worst of its effects being felt worldwide. Yet our government continues to attack the environment and is looking for a lax deal at COP21. If we take action on climate change, we can prevent the sort of droughts and food shortages that are taking place in Syria. We can ensure that everyone can afford to eat a full, healthy diet and that they have access to clean, safe water. in this way, we will simultaneously improve Syrians’ standard of living and reduce their discontentment with their society (not their government, which is fully deserving of all contempt) and so the chances of them revolting or joining a group like Daesh decreased drastically.
Another root cause of the current mess in Syria is the discontentment that ordinary Muslims feel in Europe. With anti-Islam parties such as UKIP, Pegida and others gaining support across the continent, it is no wonder that more and more Muslims do not feel at one with their communities. If you were described as a “swarm” by the leader of a country that would then give you refuge, it is hard to feel particularly sympathetic towards the people of the country when their elected representative has dehumanised you.
There are solutions to the Syrian crisis. Ones that have the potential to make the country thrive under a democratic government. Unfortunately for Hilary Benn, these solutions are a little more complex than “Daesh = bad, bombs = no bad people” no matter how eloquently he phrases it.