Tuesday 27 August 2013

Lucas: Syria action likely to provoke regime and escalate the conflict

COMMENTING on the announcement that Parliament is being recalled to discuss possible military action against the Assad regime in Syria, Caroline Lucas, Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said:

“I’m pleased that Parliament has been recalled, and have long argued that MPs should be guaranteed a free (un-whipped) vote before any involvement in conflict.

“However, I have deep concerns about resorting to military action. While completely deploring the actions of Assad and his regime, and believing that all those responsible for war crimes should be referred to the International Criminal Court, it is by no means clear that military action will reduce suffering in the region.

“Our guiding principle now must be to do all we can to protect lives. When considering military intervention, we need to look at the balance of risks. Currently, there is no evidence that the most likely scenario – a symbolic missile strike on a key regime target – would have a deterrent effect on the Assad regime.  To the contrary, it seems at least as likely that it could act as a provocation to the regime, and lead to an escalation of the conflict, and greater harm to civilians.

“We need to learn from our experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan. If the UK supports or participates in military action, particularly before a full report from the UN weapons inspectors, our chances of working towards a diplomatic resolution would be seriously undermined.

“Given that Russia looks likely to block agreement at the Security Council, the legality of a military response is also in question.

“The UK should now redouble efforts to address the refugee crisis, particularly in Jordan, Iraq, Turkey and Lebanon, and support all humanitarian efforts to reduce suffering.”

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