tv British House of Commons Debate on Airstrikes in Syria CSPAN December 6, 2015 9:00pm-11:01pm EST
the action we propose is legal. it is necessary. it is the right thing to do to keep our country safe. and my strong view is that this house will make it clear that we will take up our responsibilities rather than pass them off and put our own national security in the hands of others. i give way to member. >> i have just returned from baghdad, the route has been cut off. everyone on the ground tells me unless we attack isil in syria, all they will do is regroup and come back and attack our country. >> i think my honorable friend makes a very important point and it's very clear that it exists in syria as well as iraq is a
direct threat to iraq and the government of iraq. he talks about some of the veterans as being from iraq. i would also add to that what's happened in tikrit, since that's been taken off isil. we have seen 70% of its population returning to that city. later on in this debate, the importance of humanitarian aide and reconstruction, that can only work if you have good government in those times and the absence of isil in those. we'll make a little bit of progress and i will take more interventions including from the different political parties in this house. mr. speaker, since my statement last week, the house has had an opportunity to ask questions of our security expert. i've arranged a briefing for all members, as well as more detailed briefings. i've spoken further to our allies, including president obama, chancellor merkel and the king of jordan. the king of jordan written in the daily telegraph expressing his wish for britain to stand with jordan in eliminating this global threat.
i've also listened carefully to the questions asked by members on all sides of this house and i hope that honorable members can see the influence this house has had on the motion that stands before us. the strength on stabilization and reconstruction, the importance of standing by our allies, the importance of only targeting isil, not deploying grand troops in combat operations, the need to avoid civilian casualties. the importance of cease fire and political settlement and the commitment to regular updates to this house. i've drawn these points from across the house and put them in the motion. i want as many people as possible to feel able to support this action. i give way to the honorable member cash olsen. >> can i say this, i will be supporting him today. i do think, however, that he needs to apologize for comments he made in relationships to the labor party. can i ask him, though, specifically, in relation to civilian casualties, what will you say governments are going to
do to minimize those? >> the honorable gentleman raises a very important point. in iraq for a year and three months, there has been no reports of civilian casualties related to the strikes that britain has taken. our starting point is to avoid civilian casualties altogether, and i have argued and indeed i'll argue again today that our precision weapons and the skill of our pilots makes civilian casualties rest-like, so civilians in iraq can be effective in the campaign against isil and can help us to avoid civilian casualties as well. let me give way to honorable member. >> i'm grateful, prime minister, are you aware in the press reports that over the recent past, 60,000 syrian troops have been murdered by isil and our allies are waiting to attack until after those murderous acts have taken place.
and how will our acts be exclusively against isil, if isil are involved in attacking syrian government troops, will we be bombing isil in defense of those troops or will we wait for isil to kill those troops and then for us to bomb? prime minister: i will say to the right old gentleman, i have great respect for, the motion says exclusively isil, because that was a promise i made in response to points made from both sides of the house, and as far as i'm concerned, wherever isil are, wherever they can be properly targeted, that is what we should do. and let me just make this point, because i think it is important, when it comes to this argument about grand troops. in my discussions with the king of jordan, he was making the point that in the threat of
syria, there already is cooperation between, of course, the jordanian government and the french and the americans and the free syrian army. but also, there's a growing cease-fire between the regime troops and the free syrian army, so they can turn their guns on isil. that is what i've said. this is an isil-first strategy. they are the threats and the ones we should be targeting. this is about our national security. let's make a little bit of progress and i will take more interventions. in my remarks, i want to address the most important points being raised and, of course, i'll take as many interventions as i can. mr. speaker, i believe the key questions raised are these: first, could acting in this way actually increase the risk to our security by making an attack on britain more likely? second, does britain really have the capability to make a significant difference? third, the question asked by a number of members, including the honorable member gordon, is why don't we increase our number of air strikes in iraq to free up capacity amongst other members of the coalition so they can
carry out more air strikes in syria? four, will there really be the grand forces needed to make this operation a success? fifth, what is the strategy for defeating isil and securing a lasting political settlement in syria? and sixth, is there a proper reconstruction post complex stabilization plan for syria? i want to try in the time i've got available to answer all of these. in turn, let me give way to the honorable member. >> i know how members of my party feel when fighting and dealing with terrorism. for that, there will always be support, no matter where terrorism raises its head. can i ask the prime minister if he can guarantee the house where he indicates that the governments will not deploy u.k. troops in ground combat operations, if it becomes necessary at a later date to do that, will he come back to this house and seek approval for that? prime minister: it's not only something i don't want to do,
it's something that i think if we did, would be a mistake, because the argument was made to us by the iraqi government, that the presidents of western grand troops, that can be a radicalizing force and can be counter-productive, and that is our view. i would say to colleagues behind me who are concerned about this issue, i accept that this means that our strategy takes longer to be successful, because we rely on iraqi grand troops in iraq. we rely on the patch-work of free syrian troops there are in syria. in time, we hope for syrian grand troops from a transitional regime. and all of that takes longer. and i think one of the messages that has to come across today is that, yes, we do have a strategy. it's a complex picture. it will take time but we are acting in the right way. let me make one more point before i take some interventions, because before we get onto all of these things, mr. speaker, i want to say more about the terminology we use to describe the evil death trap.
the strong representations made to me by the honorable member, and listening to many members across the house, i feel it's time to join our ally france, and other members of the international community and use as frequently as possible the terminology daesh rather than isil. this evil death cult is neither a true representative of islam, nor is it a state. >> i'm interested in hearing what the honorable gentleman said about daesh. should he not take his opportunity to withdraw the remark, and he is calling those who will not be voting with him tonight a bunch of paris sympathizers, because not only is that offensive, it is dangerous, and it is untrue! prime minister: i've made my views clear about the importance of all of terrorism and i think it's time to move on. so let me turn to the important question, and i will take interventions as i go through these questions.
first, could acting increase the risk to our securities? this is the most important question we have to answer. after a briefing from the chair him of the independent joint intelligence committee, i can't share all the material, but i can say this. paris wasn't just different because it was so close to us or because it was so horrific in scale. paris was different because it showed the extent of terror planning from daesh in syria and the approach of sending people back from syria to europe. this wasn't like the head of the snake in action. so it's not surprising in my view that the judgment of the chair of the joint intelligence committee and the judgment of the direct security service, is that the risk of a similar attack in the u.k. is real, and that the u.k. is already in the top tier of countries on isil's target list, so let me be frank, mr. speaker, i want to make this point, and i will make some more interventions.
if there's an attack on the u.k. in the coming weeks or months, they will say it's because of our air strikes. i do not believe it's the case. they have been trying to attack us for the last year, as we know from the seven different plots our security services have foiled. the terrorist threat level to the u.k. was raised to severe last august with a threat, meaning an attack is highly likely. to wit: 800 people, including families and children, have been radicalized to an extent. should be under no illusion, these terrorists are plotting to kill us and to radicalize our children right now. they attack us, because of who we are, not because of what we do. honorable gentleman. >> back to mr. speaker, we all on these benches share the prime minister's horror for daesh and its death cult and abhor
terrorism. will it take the present opportunity to identify who he regards as terrorist sympathizers? prime minister: everyone in this house can speak for themselves. but what i'm saying is when it comes to the risk of military action, the risk of inaction are far greater than the risks of what i proposed. next, there are those who ask whether britain conducting strikes in syria will really make a difference. let me say this, and then i'll take his question. this point has been raised in briefing after briefing. i believe we can make a real difference. i told the house last week about our dynamic targeting, about our brim stone missiles, about the rap report are on our tornadoes and the intelligence-gathering work. i'm not going to repeat all of that today. but there is another way of putting this, which i think is equally powerful. there is, of course, in the coalition a lot of strike capacity. but when it comes to precision-strike capability, whether covering iraq or syria,
last week, the whole international coalition had some 26 aircraft available. eight of those were british tornadoes. so typically, the u.k. actually represents between a quarter and a third of the international coalition's precision-forming capability and unmanned strike capability in the region. so we have a significant proportion of high-precision strike capability. that's why this decision is so important. i'll give way to the honorable gentleman. he's right to sing the praises of the pilot. >> my son was tragically killed training for the r.e.f. in a tornado in 2012. he has asked me specifically this question. will the air force in northern iraq or is the air force in north iraq and going to syria, does it have coalition warning systems attached?
absolutely essential to the safety of our pilots, that the honorable gentleman, has the right to raise this issue and i pay tribute to his constituent son. we will be part of the deconfliction process that already exists between these coalition partners in syria and the russians, and, of course, in terms of our own airplanes, they have the most advance defensive air suites possible to make sure they are kept safe. so the argument i was making is one reason why members of the international coalition, including president obama and president obama alan, who made these points to me personally, believe these british planes will make a real difference in syria as they are already doing in iraq. honorable gentleman. >> mr. speaker, with the prime minister giving way, it's important in this debate that there's respect across the house and that senate, will the prime minister come and apologize for the mess that was put on the o every member last night.
can we have a proper debate. prime minister: either vote is an honorable vote but i really do suggest that we get on with the debate that the country wants to hear about. in many ways, what i just said helps to answer the next question that some members have asked about why we do not simply increase our level of air strike in iraq to free up other coalition capacity for strikes in syria. we have these capabilities that other members of the coalition want to benefit from, and it makes absolutely no sense to stop using these capabilities, and a border between iran and syria, the daesh simply do not recognize or respect. in fact, there was --let me make this argument. this is an important detail point. there was a recent incident in which syrian opposition forces needed opposition support against daesh. british tornadoes were eight
minutes away just over the border in iraq. no one else was close. britain couldn't help so the syrian opposition force his to wait 40 minutes in a perilous situation while other coalition forces were scrambling. now, that sort of delay, it endangered the lives of those fighting daesh on the ground and, frankly, does nothing for our reputation with our vital allies. let me give way to honorable friend. >> thank you for giving way, prime minister. can you understand, what concerns many of us is a lack of a comprehensive strategy, both military and non-military, including an exit strategy, one of the fundamental differences between iraq and syria, is that you have a million personnel on the government payroll and still having trouble pushing isil back to syria with 70,000 armed moderates, quite frankly, can i just ask, what is the reaction to the foreign affairs
committee's decision yesterday that actually prime minister had not adequately addressed our concerns? prime minister: let me answer both of these, my honorable friend. the second question is perhaps answered by something perhaps the whole house would join me, which is wishing the honorable member good health, given his recent illness, who normally is always at the foreign affairs select committee and always voting on a non-party basis on the basis of the arguments he believes in. where my honorable friend and i disagree is that i believe there is a strategy of which military action is only one part, and the clear answer to his question is that we want to see a new syrian transitional government whose troops will then be our allies in squeezing out and destroying the so-called caliphate altogether. we cannot wait for that to happen. the threat is now. isil daesh are planning the attacks now. we can't act in syria as we act
in iraq, and in doing so, we can enhance the long-term security and safety of our country and that is why we should act. let me give way to the honorable member raymond. >> thank you for that change in terminology, prime minister, and all members across the house will support this. will the prime minister join me in urging the bbc to review their bizarre policies when they write to me to say that they can't use the word "daesh" because it would breach their impartiality rule? we are at rule with terrorists, prime minister. we have to defeat the ideology, we have to be united in that. will you join me in urging the bbc to review that bizarre policy. prime minister: i agree with my honorable friend and i've already corresponded with the bbc about their use of i.s., islamic state, which i think is worse frankly than the so-called i.s. or, indeed, isil, but daesh is clearly an improvement, and i
think it's important, we all try and use this language. let me make some progress and i will give way some more. there's a much more fundamental answer to carrying out air strikes in syria ourselves. it is this, it's syria that is a threat to our security. it is in syria where they pump and sell the oil that does so much to help finance their evil act. as i've said, it is in syria where many of the plots against our country are formed. so we must act on syria to deal with these threats ourselves. give way to honorable member. >> prime minister, i would prefer to hear an apology but i want to discuss the facts and the facts are we are proposing some very different things than what we're talking about in northern iraq. two questions. what practical steps will be used to reduce civilian casualties? and secondly, what sorts of targets will we be going against that will reduce the terrorists in the u.k. and directed against our citizens? prime minister: let me answer
him very direct. in terms of the sorts of targets we can go off, clearly, it's the leaders of this death cult itself. it is the training camps. it's the communications hubs. it is those that are plotting against us. as i'm going to argue in a minute, the limited actions that we took against hussein, which was, if you like, an air strike on syria has already had an impact on isil, on daesh, and i think that is a very important point. so how do we avoid civilian casualties? we have a policy of wanting zero civilian casualties. one year and three months into these iraqi operations, we haven't had any reports of civilian casualties. i'm not standing here and saying that there are no casualties in war. of course there are. it is a very, very difficult situation we're putting ourselves into. it's hugely complex. it's a difficult argument in many ways to get across, but it's a simple point, will we in the long term be safer and better off if we can get rid of the so-called caliphate which is radicalizing muslims, turning
them against us, and plotting atrocities on the streets of britain. let me take a question from my honorable friend. >> i'm very grateful for my honorable friend for giving way. would you agree with me that there are hundreds if not thousands of civilian casualties, those that are burned, decapitated, criticized, away from their coalitionists. those are the civilian casualties we are trying to help. prime minister: my honorable friend put it very clearly. that is one of the aims we're doing to prevent this death cult from carrying out the ghastly acts it does on a daily basis. let me make progress. let me turn to the question of whether there will be grand forces to make this a success. those who say there aren't as many ground troops as they like and they aren't in as many places are correct.
we aren't dealing with an ideal situation. let me make a series of important points first. we should be clear what air strikes alone can achieve. we don't need troops to supply oil that funds terrorism. we don't need to hit the infrastructure and supply routes, their training facility, weapons supplies. it's clear, they can have an effect with the issue of kohn and hussein. r.e.f. can do serious damage to daesh's ability right now to bring terror, and we should give them that report. >> thank you, prime minister. how would the prime minister respond to the point that daesh since its attack on its offensive of baghdad was blunted, has actually changed its tactics, dispersed its forces, and particularly, 600,000 people, at best its operations, all throughout that city, into small units, which make it impervious to catch
impersonators given the small force we have. prime minister: i think what you have said is absolutely right. of course, they have changed their tactics from early days when air strikes were more effective. that's not an argument for doing nothing. it's an argument for using air strikes where you can, but having a longer-term strategy to deliver the grand troops through the transition that you need. but the argument really before the house is very simple. do we wait for perfection, which is a transitional government in syria? or do we start the work now of degrading and destroying this organization at the request of our allies, at the request of the gulf state, on the knowledge from our security experts that it will make a difference. i'll make a little bit of progress and will take interventions from both sides. as i said last week, the full answer to the question of grand forces can't be achieved until there's a new syrian government that represents all of the syrian people, not just suni and shiite, but christians and others.
it's this new government who will be the natural partners for our forces in defeating daesh for good. but there are some grand forces we can work with in the meantime time. last week, i told the house --let me give the explanation, and you can intervene if you like. last week, i told the house we believe there are around 70,000 syrian opposition fighters who don't belong to extremist groups with whom we can coordinate attacks on daesh. there are some limits i can say about these groups, i can't risk the safety of these courageous people who are being targeted daily by the regime or by daesh or by both, but i know this is an area of great interest and concern for the house so let me try and say a little more. 70,000 is an estimate from our independent joint intelligence committee. based on a detailed analysis, updated on a daily basis, and drawing on a wide-range of open source intelligence, of these 70,000, the majority are from the free syrian army, alongside the 70,000, there are some
20,000 kurdish fighters with whom we can also work. now, i'm not arguing, this is a crucial point. i am not arguing that all of these 70,000 are somehow ideal partners. some, though, left the syrian army, because of sad brutality, and they clearly can play a role in the future of syria, and that is actually a view that is taken by the russians as well who are prepared to talk to these people. honorable win chester. >> thank you, prime minister for giving way and the helpful way he's helped colleagues across the house. he spoke about a long-term strategy, the syrian government in syria, and there's one agreement among our allies that possibly is more of a challenge with russia. i wonder if you could update the house on conversations you've
had with president putin either directly or via the united states, as to the short and longer term prospects? >> i've had these conversations with president putin on many cases, most recently, the president of the united states, barack obama, had a meeting with him at the climate change conference in paris. as i said before, there was an enormous gap between britain, america, saudi arabia, they wanted him to go instantly. they wanted him to stay potentially forever. that gap has narrowed and i think it will narrow further as these vital talks get under way. let me make a point about you and the talks. some worry it's a process without an end. the very clear ambition in the vienna talks is for a transitional government within six months and a new constitution, fresh elections within 18 months, so there is a real momentum with these talks. give way to house member win chester.
>> thank you for giving way. any new intervention in syria that may be authorized by the house tonight, remains completely a huge humanitarian effort which has kept so many people alive by this government in that region. prime minister: i can certainly confirm that we have been the second largest in the world behind america, we can keep that up, with the vital conference we'll be cochairing next year. we'll make sure we fill the gap of the funding that hasn't been available. let me give way to honorable member burchill. >> thank you for giving way. if it comes to the house to ask for a very narrow license to take out isil's capability, i think it would ask for wide spread consent. he's asking for wider authority for that. it's a difference between iraq and syria. in iraq, there are ground forces in place. in syria, there aren't. i invite him to say a little bit more at the very least about what ground forces he envisions joining us in the seizure of it. prime minister: it goes to the difficulty of this case. i don't think you can separate
taking out the command and control of isil's operations against the u.k., france, belgium or elsewhere. ideally, you can separate that from the past of degrading and destroying the daesh caliphate they've created. the two are intricately linked. as long as this so-called caliphate exists, it's a threat to us, not the least because it is radicalizing muslims across the world who are going to fight for that organization and potentially returning to attack us. but on the second issue of grand troops, let me explain, don't underestimate the ground troops. two, the ground troops that are there, not ideal, not as many as we'd like but people we are working with and can work with more. three, the real plan, as you get transitional government in syria that can represent all the
syrian people, there will be more ground troops for us to defeat daesh and the caliphate which will keep our country safe. i know that takes a long time, and i know that is complex, but that is the strategy, but we need to start with the first steps, which is going after these troops today. the honorable lady. >> the honorable prime minister, the ground troops we have to work with will be absolutely essential for the long-term strategy and at the moment, he has not shown to me that as we defeat isil, we simply create a vacuum, into which will move. final words, some motherly advice, whoever does not walk with me through the division is not a terrorist. he will improve his standing.
>> i'm very happy to repeat what she said. people who voted for me, they do so with honor. i couldn't have been more clear about that. but what i would say to her, is is she saying there aren't enough ground troops? if she's saying they're not always in the right places, and there's not enough, she's right. but the question is, should we act now in order to try to make some progress. certainly give way to the leader of the s & p in a moment. i want to be clear about the 70,000. that figure does not include a further 25,000 extremist fighters in groups which reject political participation and reject coordination with non-muslims. so though they fight daesh, they cannot and will not be our partners. submit to the speaker, there are ground forces that will submit to daesh and in many cases, we can work with them and assist them. i will make a final point and give way to the leader of the snp. if we're going to act now, we should be clear that there will
be even fewer ground forces over time as daesh gets even stronger. mind you, we simply cannot afford to wait. we have to act now. let me give way to the leader of the smp. >> thank you for giving way. would you tell the members of the house in relation to the 70,000 forces that he speaks of, how many of those 70,000 are classified as moderate and how many of them are classified as fundamentalists who we can never work with? prime minister: almost 70,000. the advice i have is the majority of the free syrian army. of course, the free syrian army has different leaderships in different parts of the country. the 70,000 includes those extremists groups like al mazra that we will not work with. i'm not arguing that the 70,000 are ideal partners. some of them do have views we don't agree with, but the definition of the 70,000 are
those people we have been prepared to work with and continue to be prepared to work with. if we don't take action against daesh now, the number of ground forces we can work with will get less and less and less, if we want to end up with a situation where you have the bashar assad on one side and the stronger isil on the other, not acting is what it's about. >> i know from my time in government how long and hard and anxiously the prime minister thinks about these questions, but will he ensure that we complete the military aspect of this campaign, if at all possible, so we can then get onto the really important and perhaps most difficult aspect of the questions he's posed, mainly the post complex stabilization and the reconstruction of syria, because without this early stage, there won't be a syria left to reconstruct. prime minister: i think my right old friend who himself
always thought about these things very carefully is right. that is the end goal. and we shouldn't take our eyes off the prize, which is a reconstructed syria with a government that can represent all the people, that is a syria at peace that we don't have the migration crisis, we don't have the terrorism crisis. that is the goal. so let me turn to the overall strategy. and, again, let me say a little bit more about each of the non-military element, counter terrorism, counter extremism, the diplomatic processes and the humanitarian work my right old friend just mentioned. planning to foil plots at home and the extremist ideology is the root cause of the threat we face. as part of this, i can announce today we will establish a comprehensive review to root out any remaining extremist fundamentalist in the u.k., and the funding of extremism activity in the u.k., including any overseas sources.
mr. speaker, i want to make this point before giving way again. i know there are some who suggest military action in some way undermine our counter-extremism strategy by radicalizing british muslims. british muslims are appalled by daesh, these women-raping, muslim-murdering, medieval are hijacking the people of islam for their own end. as the king said today, these people are not muslims. they are outlaws from islam and we must stand with our muslim friends here and around the world as they reclaim their religion from these terrorists. so far from an attack on islam, we are engaged in a defense of islam. and far from the risk of radicalizing british muslims by acting, failing to act would actually lead to betray british muslims in the wide religion of islam, i give way to the
honorable gentleman. >> it is said that we would fight all the time in this country. why do night the saudis, the turks, why do they not fight these people? prime minister: the turks are taking part in this action and urging us to do the same. the saudis are taking part in this action and urging us to do the same. the jordanians are taking part in this action and urge us to do the same. i have here quote after quote from leader after leader in the gulf world, begging and pleading with britain to take part so we can take the fight to this death cult that threatens us all so much. the second part of our strategy is support for the diplomatic and political process. let me say a word about how this process can lead to the cease-fires between the regime
and oppositions that are so essential for the next stages of this political transition. we nominate a team of people to negotiate under the auspices of the united nations. over the last 18 months, political and armed oppositions have converged. we know the main groups and their ideas and in the coming days, saudi arabia will host a meeting for opposition representatives. and the united nations will take forward discussions on steps towards a cease fire, including the next meeting of the international syria support group, which we expect to take place before christmas. the aim is clear, as i've said, a transitional government in six months, a new constitution and free elections in 18 months. i would argue the key elements of a deal are emerging, cease fires, opposition groups coming together, the regime looking at negotiation, the key players, america and russia, saudi arabia and iran and key regional players like turkey, all in the room together. and my argument is this,
defeating daesh doesn't hurt this process, it helps this process which is the eventual goal. let me give way. >> does the prime minister agree that the murders on the beach in tunisia and the carnage in paris on the 13th of november changes everything, and the british people would find it rather odd that it would take something more than that for britain to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with a number of other countries and to take on daesh? prime minister: my honorable friend speaks for many. they attack us because of who we are, not because of what we do, and they want to attack us again and again, and the question for us, do we answer the call of our allies, our closest friends in the world, the french and the americans who want us to join with them, and arab partners in this work, or do we ignore that call? if we ignore that call, think for a moment what that says about britain as an ally. think for a moment what it says to the countries in the region who will be asking themselves if
britain won't come to the aid of france, its neighbor, in these circumstances, just how reliable a neighbor and a friend and an ally these countries, let me make some progress on the vital subject of humanitarian relief because i'm conscious of the time. i sat out in the house saying i would suspect the refugees and the 100 pounds we'd commit to syria's reconstruction and what we would work with in the rebuilding phase. mr. speaker, let me make it clear, people will not return to syria if part of it is under the control of an organization that enslaves the azizis, throws people off buildings, beheads aid workers and forces children to marry before they are even 10 years old. so we cannot separate the humanitarian work and the reconstruction work from dealing
with daesh itself. give way to the honorable lady. >> i thank you to the prime minister for giving way and welcome any comments. i also welcome his use of that terminology now. i asked the prime minister a question, as a new member of this house, given that the lines we've used, to the benefits of used members, will the prime minister now withdraw his remarks. prime minister: everyone is now focused on the main issues in front of us, let me turn to the plan for personal reconstruction to support a new syrian government when it emerges. i've said we'd be prepared to commit to these plans for syria's reconstruction. the initial priorities would be protection, security, stabilization and confidence-building measures,
including meeting basic humanitarian needs, such as education, health and shelter and, of course, helping the refugees to return. now, over time, the focus would shift, the longer term rebuilding of syria's shattering infrastructure, harnessing the refugees and the financial institutions and the private sector. we are not in the business of trying to dismantle the syrian state nor its institutions. we would allocate reconstruction funds against a plan agreed between a new inclusive syrian government and the international community once the conflict had ended. that is the absolute key. i'll take an honorable member here and another honorable member there and try to close. >> i'm grateful to the prime minister. what really matters to my constituents is whether they'll be safer after this has taken place. he's making a very strong case that we are attacking the heart of this terrorist organization.
will you assure the house as well as taking action in syria, he will also shore up services, security services and policing in the united kingdom? prime minister: i think that is what our constituents want to know, what are we doing to strengthen our borders and exchange intelligence information across europe? what are we doing to strengthen intelligence and policing agencies which was spoken so much about last week? all of this, we should see through the prism of national security. that is what our first duty is, and when you have your allies asking you the intelligence there, the knowledge you can make a difference, i believe we should act. let me take intervention from the leader of the democrats. >> thank you for giving way. he right he makes a point to how important it is we don't just stand with our allies and our friends in europe, for us to stand with them as well. however, have not so far stood with the european allies on taking the fair share of refugees from this crisis and others. will he look again at the save the children request that this country take 3,000 orphaned children refugees that are currently in europe? prime minister: i would say we
have played a huge part in europe as the biggest bilateral donor. no other european country has given as much as britain has, and we're also going to take 20,000 refugees with 1,000 arriving by christmas, but i am i am happy to look at this issue of orphans. i think it's better to take orphans from the region, rather than those who come over with, sometimes, extended family. but i'm very happy to look at that again, both in europe and out of europe, to see if britain can do more to fulfill our moral responsibility. let me conclude. this is not 2003. we must not use past mistakes as an excuse for indifference or inaction. and let's be clear, mr. speaker, inaction does not amount to a strategy for our security or for the syrian people, but inaction is a choice. i believe it's the wrong choice. we face a clear threat. we've listened to our allies. we've taken legal advice. we have a unanimous united nations resolution.
we've discussed our proposed action extensively at meetings of the national security council and cabinet. i've responded personally to the detailed report of the foreign affairs select committee. we have a proper motion before this house, and we're having a 10.5-hour debate today. in that spirit, i look forward to the rest of the debate. i look forward to listening to the contribution of members on all sides of this house, but i hope at the end of it all, the house will come together in large numbers for britain to play its part in defeating these evil extremists, and taking the action that is needed now to keep our country safe. in doing so, i pay tribute to these extraordinary bravery and service of our inspirational armed forces who will, once again, put themselves in harm's way to protect our values and our way of life, and i commend this motion to the house. [cheering] >> the question is motion number 2, as on the order paper. i call the leader of the opposition, mr. jeremy corbin.
>> thank you, mr. speaker. the whole house recognizes the decisions to send british forces to war are the most serious, solemn, and morally challenging of any that we have to take as members of parliament. the motion brought before the house today by the government authorizing military action in syria against isil face us with exactly that decision. it's one with potentially far-reaching consequences for us all, here in britain, as well as the people of syria and the wider middle east. for all members, taking a decision of what british service men and women in harm's way, has almost inevitably led to the death of innocence, is a heavy responsibility. it must be treated with the utmost seriousness and respect given to those who make a different judgment about the
right course of action to take, which is why the prime minister's attempts to brand those who plan to vote against the government as terrorist sympathizers both demeans the office of the prime minister and i believe undermines the seriousness of deliberations we're having today. if the prime minister now wants to apologize for those remarks, i'd be happy to give way to him to do so. [people shouting] since the prime minister is unmoved, we'll have are to move on the debate, and i hope he will be stronger later, to recognize that, yes, it is a very unfortunate remark he made last night, and apologizing for it would be very helpful to improve the mood of this debate today.
i give way. >> my honorable friend has given way, and as he appropriately pointed out, that the prime minister is not showing leadership by not withdrawing his orders, but we also agree there is no place whatsoever in the lab our party to anybody who has been abusing those members of the labour party who choose to vote with the government on this issue. >> mr. speaker, abuse has no part in responsible, democratic, political dialogue. that, i believe, bodes strongly, and that is the way i wish to conduct myself and i wish others would conduct themselves in that way. if they do give way, i'll move on. >> thank you my honorable friend for giving way. do you agree that the prime minister came to this match box and made a clear apology he would clear the air immediately,
and we could move on? >> as he often does on these occasions, he appears to be taking advice from the chancellor on this matter. if he wants to apologize now, that's fine. if he doesn't, the whole world can note he's not apologizing. mr. speaker, from the house last week, the doubts and questions then expressed on both sides of the house have only grown or multiplied. that's why it's a matter of such concern that the government has decided to push this vote to parliament today. it would have been far better to allow a full debate that would have given all members to make a proper contribution, and you yourself, mr. speaker, informed us 157 have applied to speak in this debate.
it is, mr. speaker -- >> grateful for the gentleman giving way, he and i work together on the kurdishes. he knows how tough the kurds are fighting isil in both iraq and syria. his shadow ancestry believes that the four conditions debated at the labour party conference, for taking action in syria have been met. why do you disagree with him on that? >> you have to wait a few moments to hear that, but it will be in my speech, i can promise you, but i also am pleased he's made interventions to the kurdish people, because at some point, over the whole of the middle east and the whole of this settlement, there has to be the recognition of the rights of kurdish people, in every country we live. he and i have shared that view more than 30 years and my view has not changed on that. i have wonderful friends to give
way. i'm glad he mentioned the kurds. could he be clear that he or anyone on this bench in no way will want to remove the air protection, which was voted on, with an overwhelming majority in the house 14 months ago? >> it is not part of the motion today, my honorable friend, so we move on with this debate. it's impossible, i think, to avoid the conclusion that the prime minister understands that public opinion is moving increasingly against what i believe to be an ill-thought-out rush to war, and he wants to hold this vote before the opinion grows even further against him. whether it's the strategy, the absence of credible ground troops, the absence of a diplomatic plan for the syrians,
the terrorist threat, all the refugee crisis and civilian casualties, it's becoming increasingly clear that the prime minister's proposal for military action simply do not stack up. >> i'm very grateful to the honorable gentleman giving way, and i agree with what he's been saying, that the case has not been proved for this. under the circumstances and the opposition bench here, whether or not he will reconsider that it's important that the labour party and its entirety join the benches here in supporting the government, to make sure this government. >> every m.p. has to make a decision today. every m p. has a vote and a constituency, and every m.p. should be aware of what the opinions are, and they will make up their own minds. obviously, i am proposing that we do not support the
government's motion tonight, and i would encourage all colleagues on all sides to join me in the opposition lobby tonight, to the government's proposal. last week, the prime minister proposed his case on bombing syria by the well respected cross party foreign affairs select committee. given the holes in the government's case, it's scarcely surprising that last night, the committee reported that the prime minister had not, and i quote, adequately addressed their concerns. in other words, mr. speaker, judge that the prime minister has failed its test. >> i'm grateful to the right honorable gentleman that the committee resolve 4-3 that the prime minister's not adequately addressed concerns contained in the committee's second report, with the absence of his honorable friends, who would have resisted that motion.
but it is on a narrow point --realistically, it is almost impossible for the prime minister to adequately meet those concerns, given the fact he's not in a position to produce sufficient detail, obviously, pointed out by my colleague, it is a very weak point for him to rely. >> i thank the members of the right intervention, and he and i have often had very amicable discussions on many of these issues and i'm sure we will again. the fact of the matter is, though, the foreign affairs select committee, had the prime minister not adequately addressed the concerns. now, obviously, i understand there are differences of opinion. goodness, there's plenty of differences of opinion all around this house. so i ask the chair of the committee to recognize that the decision has been made by his committee.
after the despicable and horrific attacks in paris last month, the question of whether the government's proposal for military action in syria strengthens or undermines our own national security, not, mr. speaker, the center of our deliberations. there is, no doubt, that the so-called islamic state group --mr. speaker, i have given way quite a lot of times already, there are 157 members who wish to take part in this debate, so i think i should move on, which would appear to meet with your approval, mr. speaker. there's no doubt that the so-called islamic state has imposed sectarian terror in iraq, syria and libya. there's no question it also poses a threat to our own people. the issue now is whether extending british forces from iraq to syria is likely to reduce or increase that threat
to britain, and whether it will counter or spread the terror campaign isil is waiting across the middle east. the answers don't make the case for the government's motion. on the contrary, they're warning, step back. a vote against yet another ill-fated twist in this never-ending war on terror. let's start with the military dimension. the prime minister has been unable to explain why sending air strikes to syria will make significant military impact on the existing campaign. i feel it's already been bombed by syria or iraq, by the u.s., france, britain, and russia, and other powers. canada has interestingly withdrawn from this campaign and no longer takes part in it. during more than a year of bombing, isil has expanded and lost territory. isil gains included several places.
the claim that the superior british missiles will make the difference is actually quite hard to credit, when the u.s. and other states, as an intervention said earlier, when u.s. states are struggling to find suitable targets, in other words, extending british bombings is unlikely to make a huge difference. secondly, the prime minister has failed to convince almost anyone that even if british participation in the air campaign were to tip the balance, there are credible ground forces able to take back territory now held by isil. in fact, mr. speaker, it's quite clear there are no such forces. last week, the prime minister suggested that a combination of kurdish military, the free syrian army, would be able to fill the gap. he even claimed a 70,000-strong force of fighters are ready to
coordinate action against isil with the western air campaign. that train has not remotely stood up to scrutiny. kurdish forces are a distance away in the sunni-arab areas where isil controls. a wide range of boots, few, if any would regard as moderate, and mostly operates in other parts of the country. the only ground forces able to take advantage of the air campaigns are jihadist groups close to the area. i think these are serious issues that we need to think through very carefully, because i believe that's what the prime minister's campaign to lead to. this is why the logic, mr. speaker, i will give way after my contribution, but i think i should be able to make what is an important part of this
contribution. this is why the logic of an extended air campaign is, in fact, mission crete, and western boots on the ground, whatever the prime minister may say now about keeping british combat troops out of the way are a real possibility. thirdly, the military aim of attacking isil targets in syria is not really part of the coherent, diplomatic strategy. the u.n. security council resolution 2249 passed after the paris atrocities, and cited in today's government motion, does not give clear and unambiguous authorize to u.k. bombing in syria. to do so, it would have had to be passed under chapter 7 of the united nations chapter to which the security council could not agree. the u.n. resolution is certainly a welcomed framework.
for joint action to cut off funding, oil revenues, armed supplies from isil. but i wonder how much signs there are of that happening. i'll give way to the member. >> thank you for giving way to myself. the necessities of the oil supply, do i very much agree with him. therefore, i concede us not to understand why he would oppose air strikes, which is such a crucial part in oil supplies, which is the heart of the isil conflict. >> the problem is the oil supplies that are being sold by isil are going into other countries, into turkey and to other places, and i think we need to know, i think we need to know exactly who is buying that oil, who is funding that oil, what banks are involved, international transactions,
which ultimately end up with isil, and which other countries in the region may or may not be involved in it. that's despite, mr. speaker, the clear risk of essentially disastrous instances, the shoot down of a russian military aircraft of turkish forces is a sign of the danger of a serious escalation of this whole issue. >> i'm pleased at you for giving way. the number of these ground forces are known, but what we do know is they are by definition opposition fighters. must he agree with me that the prime minister is so hard to answer this question, how do we plan to take from daesh without getting into a wider conflict with russia, given they're on the other side. >> i think members of the right and left make a very important point, and she has been very
active in trying to promote peace and humanitarian resolutions to the many conflicts that exist around the world. fortunately, mr. speaker, the prime minister has avoided stunning acts the british people have been given. the rifling impact on u.k. air strikes on the threat of terrorist attack in the u.k. that's something everyone on the government's motion should weigh and think about very carefully before we vote whether or not to send our air pilots into action over syria. it is critically important, mr. speaker, that we as the house are honest with the british people, about the potential consequences of the action the prime minister is proposing to us today. unaware that there are those with military experience, including members on the bench opposite as well as his side, that extending u.k. bombing will, and i quote, increase the
short-term risk of terrorist attacks in britain. we should also remember the impact, mr. speaker, on communities here in britain. thirdly, since the paris attacks, there's been a sharp increase in islamophobic instances and physical attacks. i've discussed these with people in my local mosque and my constituency, and it's horrific. surely, mr. speaker, the message from all of us in this house today must go out. none of us, and let's say this together, we will not tolerate any form of anti-semitism, islamophobia, or racism of any form in this country. the prime minister has not offered a serious assessment, in my view, of the intensified air campaign on civilian casualties
in isil-held syrian territory, or the wider syrian refugee crisis. at least 250,000 have already been killed in syria's terrible civil war. 11 million made homeless, and four million forced to leave the country. many more have been killed by the assad regime than isil itself, yet more bombing in syria will kill innocent civilians. there's no doubt about that. and turn many more syrians into refugees. yesterday --i will in a moment. yesterday, i was sent a message from a constituent of mine who comes through syria --i'm sorry, it's not funny.
it's a family that's suffering. and i quote from his message, i'm a syrian from a city which is now controlled by isil. members of my family still live there, and isil didn't kill them. my question to david cameron is, can you guarantee the safety of my family when your air forces drop bombs on my city? it's a fair question from a family of a very concerned man. thank you very much. >> i would like to speak as a member of the military who is left, and there is a very fundamental point here that your leader of your position is making, and that is that this is about national security. all these conflicting arguments, the complex situations, it's very, very difficult, but it comes down to national security and inhibiting what these people are trying to do on the streets of this country.
>> yes, of course, security on the streets of this country in all of our communities is very important. that's why we have supported the government in no longer pursuing the police and also increasing security in this country, because, clearly, none of us want any kind of atrocity with them, i was deeply affected in 2005. >> order! >> let me just say that the member who has the floor cannot be expected to give way to a further intervention when he's in the process of answering an existing one. and there are enough gentlemen in the house to be aware of that. >> thank you, mr. speaker. i'm very grateful to the leader of the opposition. in making his point, since the leader of the opposition accepts
the 70,000 moderate sunnis, that the prime minister claims is there, consists of many different jihadist groups, and there is some concern, i think it's across the house, that in potentially degrading isil, daesh, which is possible, we actually create a vacuum into which other jihadists come over time. that surely does not make the streets of britain safer. >> mr. speaker, in the sense of the north london geography, i give way. >> i'm very grateful for him giving way. he has a consistent relation to opposing air strikes. he has consistently in this house. on the 26th of september, 2014, when you voted against air strikes on isil in iraq, he said this, i do not believe further air strikes will solve the problem.
so does he maintain his opposition to air strikes in iraq, to no longer extend to syria. >> thank you, house member, for the interventions, and the point i may make is a very serious one. we have to be careful about what happens in the future. we have to as the prime minister said and others have said, we have to be very aware of the dangers of some people, mainly young people being deeply radicalized and end up doing very dangerous things indeed. a significant number of young people across europe, are they a product of the war or something else? i think we need to think very, very deeply about that and think
very deeply about what's happened in this world since 2001 and the increasing numbers of people suffering. i rest my case at that point. >> there isn't, mr. speaker, an e.u.-wide strategy to provide humanitarian assistance to those victims. mr. speaker, perhaps most importantly of all, i ask the prime minister this, is he able to explain how british bombing in syria will contribute to a comprehensive, negotiated, political settlement of the syrian war? such a settlement is widely accepted to be the only way to ensure the isolation and defeat of isil. isil grew after the invasion of iraq and syria, in the chaos of horror, of a multi-transit civil war. >> the prime minister spoke often of the choice between action and inaction that we face
today, but those of us who will be voting against air strikes, we also want to see action. the prime minister said almost nothing about the financial supplies for daesh, which helped radicalized the troops. does my honorable friend agree with me that we need actions on this point? leader corbyn: we absolutely need action to ensure there is a diplomatic solution. i welcome what the prime minister said about speeding up the process in vienna, but surely, the message ought to be, let's speed that up, rather than sending them in now to bring
about a political settlement. what we need, therefore, mr. speaker, is an involvement of all the main regional and international powers. now, that, i know --i know that has been attempted. i know that there have been discussions in vienna, and we welcome that. i think it is regrettable that geneva too --and mr. speaker, i'm going to try to make progress with the speech, if i may. there are over 150 members who wish to speak. therefore, i think long speeches at the front actually take time out of the back-bench speeches. so the aim must be to establish a broad-place government in syria that has the support of the majority of its people, difficult as that is to envision at the present time. >> give way. >> no.
such a settlement could help take back territory from isil and bring about their lasting defeat from syria, ultimately, mr. speaker, i'm really sorry, i've given way quite a lot to members on both sides. i'm now going to continue with my speech. ultimately -- [shouting] mr. speaker: order! a very long established convention of this house is that the member who has the floor gives way or not as he or she chooses. the leader has made it clear he's not giving way. the appropriate response isn't to jump up and shout "give way." it's not possible. jeremy corbyn. leader corbyn: thank you, mr. speaker. the point i was making is that ultimately, the solution in syria has to be by all the people of syria themselves. i think we're on that, surely all agreed. i thought i made it clear, i think the speaker made it clear, that i'm not giving way. i'm really sorry, but i'm not, okay. the government's proposal for --no.
mr. speaker: another point of order. it is indeed that he who holds the floor to decide whether or not to give way, is it also not customary to answer questions when they are put to intervention, and we are waiting for the answer to iraq? mr. speaker: the honorable gentleman is a sufficiently experienced parliamentarian to know that he's made his own point in his own way, and it's on the record. mr. jeremy corbyn. leader corbyn: thank you, mr. speaker. the government --mr. speaker, if i could move on with the speech, i'd be most grateful. the government's proposal --the government's proposal for military action in syria are not backed by a clear and unambiguous authorization by the united nations.
it does not meet the tests set down by our own foreign affairs committee and it does not fulfill three of the four conditions laid down in my own party conference resolution a couple of months ago. the past week, mr. speaker, voice has been given to growing opposition to the government's forming plans across the country, in parliament, outside, in the media, and, indeed, in my own party. and i believe it's a consideration of all the wars that we've been involved in in the last 14 years. these matters were debated a great deal during my own campaign to be elected leader of the labour party, and many people think very deeply about these matters. the right of the record of western military interventions is one that has to be analyzed. british forming in syria risks yet more of what president obama in a very thoughtful moment called the unintended consequences of the war in iraq,
which he himself opposed at the time. second, mr. speaker, of iraq, afghanistan, and libya, over this debate. mr. speaker, i'm not giving way. i'm going to carry on my speech. mr. speaker, to oppose another war and intervention, in my view, is actually not passivism. it's hard-headed common sense, which i think we should be thinking about today in this house. to resist our determination, to draw the western powers back into the heart of the middle east, isn't to turn our back on our allies. it's refusing to play into the hands of isil and what isil state, some of them wants us to do. is it wrong for us to see a problem, pass a motion, drop bombs, and pretending we're doing something to solve it? that's what we did in
afghanistan, iraq, libya, and answer this question, has terrorism increased or decreased as a result of all of that? the prime minister said he was looking to build a consensus around a military action he wants to take. i don't believe he's achieved anything of the kind. he's failed, in my view, to make the case for another bombing campaign. all of our efforts should, instead, go into bringing the syrian civil war to an end. iraq, afghanistan, libya, i ask members to think very carefully about the previous decisions we've made. what we are proposing to do today is send british --give
way. >> we have been receiving complaints from the public. what do you think the public thinks when the leader of the opposition is being shouted at constantly by the government benches? mr. speaker: i think what the public want system a civilized, robust debate by both members of the sides of the house. >> i thank the very honorable member for that call to order. let's proceed with favor, mr. corbyn. leader corbyn: thank you, mr. speaker. sometimes in this house we get carried away with the theatrical of the place, and forget that there are millions of people who sent us to this house to represent them, and we should be able to conduct our debates in a decent, respectful, and civilized manner, and short this is, compared to all those who want to speak, i hope all those who apply to speak do get called. i conclude with this point, mr. speaker, in my view, only a negotiated, political, and diplomatic endeavor to bring about an end to the civil war in
syria, will bring some hope to the millions who have lost their homes, who are refugees, who are 10,000 various points all across europe dreaming of a day that they can go home. i think our overriding goal should be to end that civil war in syria. and obviously, also, to protect the people of this country. that is why, mr. speaker, i do not believe that the motion put by the prime minister achieves that, because it seems to put the emphasis on bombing now, whereas i think the emphasis should be not on bombing now, but on bringing about all our endeavors, all our intelligence,
and all our efforts. i think it's very strange that members don't seem to understand there are millions who watch these debates and want to hear what's been said, don't want to hear people shout at each other. so for those reasons, mr. speaker, for those reasons, mr. speaker, i urge members on all sides of the house to think very carefully about responsibility that lies with them today. do we send in bombers? not totally aware of of what all the consequences are going to be. or do we pause, not send them in, and instead, put all of our efforts into bringing about a peaceful humanitarian and just political situate settlement to the terrible situation faced by the people in syria? mr. speaker: sir alan duncan. sir duncan: mr. speaker, i don't think there's anybody on either side of the house as we all try to show duty, to in any way relish the decision we are being asked to face today. it is not straightforward like the response to invasions of kuwait.
it's a very, very difficult decision we are being asked to face, and in taking it, i think we have to have two issues in the forefront of our thinking. first, the security of our own country, and, secondly, the desperate need to restore civility in the middle east. but rather, a rehearsal of the arguments, i would like to pick out and emphasize the viewpoints which i ask the house solemnly to consider. the question of whether to commit our armed forces has actually over the last few years
become seriously muggy, both by the painful experience of past decisions, and by the complexity of the unfolding disorder across the arab world. the experience the opposition leader has inferred, and iraq, has led to growing distrust in this house and outside it, about any proposal to military action. so the third point i would like to emphasize is that they must take the decision today, take it on the merit of today, base it on today's fact and not on yesterday's mistakes and regrets.
so before i give way quickly. when it comes to this opposition, stopping the war is exactly what we want to do. >> i thank the gentleman for giving way. i absolutely agree with them that what we need are facts and greater capability to take on the task that's ahead of us. yesterday, we were told there were between 20 and 30,000 daesh across syria and iraq. but i couldn't be given a number as to how many taliban we were fighting in afghanistan to get a comparison if we have 10,000 or 30,000. i couldn't get an answer as to how often we do so, and i couldn't get an answer to how many more planes we would be flying. don't we need those questions answered?
>> questions must be brief. there mustn't be many speeches. sir alan duncan. sir duncan: i implore the honorable lady that the search for certainty in the middle east, and the word i learned 30 years ago when i first went there, was that if you're not confused, you don't understand. it is a very, very complex world in which we are, in fact --secondly, mr. speaker, let me move on to my second point. and i address this to the right old gentleman of the opposition. we must not underestimate the extent and the nature of the danger we face and say that because it's all over there, it's not over here. so daesh, it's not only a vicious force running ram pant through that miserable space between iraq and syria, it is also fuelling those who would readily walk up the main streets of a major city with a suicide bomb or carrying another weapon. so to say daesh would increase
that danger, i would urge them not to give into that narrative with air strikes, that these people are already targeting us now. thirdly, we have to see this threat, in the context of even greater regional danger. we're witnessing the collapse of nation states across potentially the whole of arabia, along with the violent release of centuries of sectarian hatred. a crucial element of our policy, mr. speaker, to be to try to stop this spreading. and that means that we must support stable rule within the six countries of the gcc, and those who just attack the conduct of our gulf allies, simply do not understand the horror that would be unleashed by further instability in the region. even now, we face the real prospect of an arc of brutality and terrorism stretching from syria, to iraq, to yemen, right across into a terrifying link with the home of africa. and fourthly, we can't turn away
from this threat and subcontract our obligations. >> here-here. sir duncan: if we are to pursue the destruction of isis daesh and rebuild stable government and underpin wider stability and make all of that a serious and convincing objective of our foreign policy, we must be part of the convoy that is trying to do it. we cannot, as i would see it negligently, watch it roll by while not playing our part. put frankly, our reputation, our international reputation, has suffered from the parliamenty vote in august 2013.
our allies now question whether we can be relied upon when they call for joint assistance. mr. speaker, if we choose today to remain on the sidelines, especially when there is a new and unequivocal u.n. resolution in place, it would signal to the world that the u.k. has, indeed, chosen to withdraw. mr. speaker, we should not be i the business of national resignation from the world stage. >> here-here! sir duncan: perhaps, indeed, the paradox of opposition today is not what we're doing too much, but that we're doing too little.
and do i have a concern, and again, looking at the right old gentleman, the leader of the opposition, it is that the action i hope we'll vote for tonight is not the whole answer, and the prime minister is not pretending that it is. the hope that local so-called moderate forces can do the job on the ground and somehow put humpty-dumpty together again is, of course, more of an act of faith than a certain plan, but i think it's wrong, however, for the leaders of the opposition to dismiss their significance and
conclude that their competition is sufficient reason to do nothing. tonight, mr. speaker, i think we should carry this motion. we've got to carry it with our eyes open, knowing that we are flying into a mess that shows no easy prospect of being quickly resolved. but we cannot leave a vile force unchallenged. >> here-here. sir duncan: mr. speaker, these air strikes do matter. i believe they're justified. i also think that in my view, too, the future adjustment of the prime minister of what then follows will eventually becomes more important than the decision we're taking tonight. mr. speaker: sir roberts. sir roberts: i fear we will be in different lobby places this evening. mr. speaker, may i begin by intimating support for amendment b, which is here, in my name, and those of honorable and right honorable gentlemen, i draw attention to the fact, that honorable and not honorable, it's signed by members of six different political parties and over 100 members from across the
house. it leads that while one committee renews interest against reconstruction in syria and the government's recognition of a comprehensive strategy against daesh is required, does not believe that the case for the u.k.'s participation in the ongoing air campaign in syria by 10 countries has been made under circumstances, and subsequently, declined to authorize those. >> here-here. sir roberts: mr. speaker, may i begin by thanking the prime minister. i'd like to thank you for your statement and the briefings by his national security advisor, graham, and colleagues from the foreign common wealth office and other agencies, and i, again, put on record my appreciation to all of those who are in charge with keeping us safe at home and abroad, and notwithstanding the fine differences i have for the prime minister on the issues, i would wish to commend him for briefing parties and parliamentarians in recent weeks.
and the tone here doubted in last week's statement. unfortunate how he decided to the bynum. us amendment we have before today is against harming. bombing. it is signed by the honorable labor member who served in the territorial army in afghanistan. the amendment is also signed by my colleagues whose husbands served in the armed forces with distinction. signed byo been members of northern ireland are experienced terrorism post and. it is wrong to impugn members of the house on bombing syria. on numerous occasions they have had occasion to apologize a and
i feel he is not going to. give way to the prime minister if he wishes to apologize. i hope the prime minister regrets of what he said. showed the concerns that everybody has in the country about the terrorist threat by daesh and we deplore the regime. there is agreement across the house that the threat from d .esh israel daesh is -- from real. we have not heard it yet, but there is no shortage of bombing syria.
most bizarrely, russia. coalition nations have it strikes in syria and in includes australia, bahrain, canada, france, saudi arabia -- which also uses marvin stone as a weapon. interestingly, it is also bombing our allies in kurdistan. sources confirm, mr. speaker, that cents september 2014 the airstrikes have included the falcons, s-22's, misses,ndance, a news and ends launched from above syria. centcom confirms the united states has conducted more than 2700 airstrikes in syria.
this friendly combine turing test" version shows that military forces have continued aesh in syria. these of included three strikes in the ice vehicle -- on isil vehicles. iso---tical units in isil. tactical isilt a unit and checkpoint. there is bombing in syria. what is being this by not taking that into account is highly misleading. i give way to the gentleman. does he feel there is a
legitimate case or does he want them to withdraw. i am supportive of efforts that can lead to stabilization in iraq. i would like to stress one thing in particular. i think you have a ticket or responsibility since the kurds in iraq and syria. i think when dealing with miller allies should not undermine that the efforts in iraq. to make sure that turkey does not bomb our kurdish allies. i have given way and i hope will make some progress. the prime minister has asked us to listen to the case in syria, and we have. toave repeatedly ask questions. how will the u.k. plan to secure peace on the ground in syria?
the house of commons committee asked which are suspected take hold and administer territory aesh in syria?d and how rarely the u.k. plan a long-term stability and reconstruction in syria given the u.k. spent 13 times more theirg at libya than on construction? i asked the prime minister, how much does the prime minister estimate this cost and how much i see i located from the united kingdom? the issue of ground forces, with mental there are 70,000 --ops opposed to a sad and assad and daesh. couldn't take the territory they currently went. the problem is, some of them are
moderate in to those no guarantee they would definitely deploy. , asked the prime minister after the 70,000, how many moderate to a land how many are fundamentalists? i do not have an answer to that question and i'll invite and remember to tell the best of the house but that is? invite it the rest of the what it is.l us i will give away in a moment to the esteemed chairman, but this point.bsolute vital this by the foreign affairs select committee. the argument of having credibility that a bombing strategy will lead to long-term peace in syria and aesh is that d
to their our ground forces ready. again, if any member of the government wants to illustrate and explain. i am happy to give way if he will confirm. what is the makeup of the 70,000 troops? mr. speaker, i have now asked the question directly to the prime minister which he did not answer. i challenge the foreign secretary to answer. is there anybody who answered the question? we asked a similar question that yesterday. the point to the right honorable
gentleman is asking is a quibbling one. here me out. head of acing on the pin to try and achieve the results. we have to trust these people. or isil'sot on assad side. the prime minister has been asked, the foreign minister had a chance to answer, members of the government were asked to answer. they have not. i see a member ready to intervene. i'll be going to get an answer to the question? of the forces in syria, how many are moderate and how many are
--? i'm the question back to him, how many moderates does he think there is? he seems to be tied up on 70,000. he seems to have a bad movie kurds, the syrian christians, and the arabs in thing and northeast syria will work to h?ke in daes anybody watching this in the future of the payable to recognize this has been asked time and again and we do not have an answer. fundamentally, i have now given way. answered. sorry. if my esteemed colleague of the
intelligence and security committee is able to answer the question, i would be delighted. what interests me about the argument is he raises perfectly legitimate questions but should be answered in requires of the debate. but when he glosses over is meant here is a hand his party's position is on the current operations, which i think he will agree, artifact and pulling think will agree controlling daesh's goal and i find it difficult to understand how he can think we ourselves should not contribute. he makes good points,
respectfully, we have not heard and answered to the question i have post. opportunity, to tell the house. if the honorable gentleman could answer the question, i would be delighted. i think it the right honorable gentleman for giving way. as a member of the parliament select committee, i was in the middle east last week. oman, beirut. spoke to military, counterterrorism, and politicians. is about 10,000-15,000. that was the answer given by everyone had their. mr. speaker, that is an
important intervention from the honorable lady. theexperience traveling region, she has suggested the government figures are massively wrong. a very important point, mr. speaker. on a crucialring issue from the foreign select committee, a critical issue, that's far from 70,000 it is significantly less. of us.ould worry all the problem that with this issue, and it is a critical issue, is that only a part of the forces that the prime minister and the color except spoke about are moderate, and there is absolutely no evidence whatsoever that they will definitely deploy from other parts of the country.
it appears without a comprehensive cease-fire, we can not expect any redirection of other forces and syria. on stabilizing, mr. speaker, the we haveuestion is mentor business cost $170 billion to rebuild syria. the prime minister has made a -- and offered to contribute, the welcome. we are entitled to ask whether contribution of less than 1% of what is the quality is realistically going to be enough. yesterday, like some of the members of the house, i took an opportunity to meet with syrian and side is to hear their experience. it was heartbreaking to hear are literally
surviving just on hope of 16-year-olds who are or who wish to attend their makeshift disclose in basements battle and during the bombing. they ask whether we're seriously asking people to stop fighting move to another part of the country to fight da esh. they ask how they should be aesh whento fight d they have no feeling of support. from a syrian community in manchester, from the syrian otherity southwest, from bits of syria, scotland, syrian branch society, syrian platform therapies, and syrian society of yorkshire, in a letter that they said they are being asked a
wrong question on syria bad eing whether or not to bomb to question on syria about being whether or not to bomb daesh. threatress the greatest to us here it comes from a sad rather than that -- comes from daesh.ather than i grateful to give way. he is making an important point in this debate. without regard to how the house bets tonight, we must create a successful resolution to the difficulties in syria. given that that the prime minister has time scaled a transitional government, garcia
surprised as i was given the current impasse between russia the usa and france and others in respect of the future of assad? i would like to give way to the honorable gentleman who i would like to commend on behalf of all of us who have supported aesh?paign recall d i would like to thank the honorable gentleman and his party for being the first and support me when i first is the issue of changing the terminology. to join thein me to join theister, treasury minister to ensure we use the right terminology to
these terrorist organizations. now that the government has agreed to use the proper terminology. i agree with everything the honorable gentleman has said. tremendously proud to support decade, it the last surprises me my former employers cannot find it within themselves to use the proper terminology and i call upon them to do so. i have given illinois away twice, i need to make progress. they made an appeal that civilian protection should be a primary appeal. 's need to know specifically, by a concrete action, and the airstrikes on civilians.
all parties in the house and all members of the house support international initiative on syria agreed in diana to secure a cease-fire. to counter terrorist groups including daesh. believe this will only be achieved with a serious long-term agreement to end should be a key priority to make sure the timescale is as quick as can be delivered. the u.k. must step up support. combating it terrorists and long-term reconstruction and stability and support. i believe the government has not answered it the questions posed. neither does the majority who voted on the issue. in these circumstances, mr. speaker, we cannot support the government.
mr. speaker, this is very important. a message goes out to our armed forces that regardless of our appreciate their professionalism. this is important for me as it myears most aircraft is from constituency. the u.k. government is going to have a huge problem with legitimacy for this operation in scotland. then -- when the vote tonight, but it will do so scottish two of the 59 emcees. of scots are opposed. in normal circumstances, in a normal country under these circumstances, the armed forces
would not be deployed. a cosponsor of support at amendment, i the amendment bombing in syria and i appeal to make sure we do not ignore the lessons of libya.stan, iraq, and let us not repeat those mistakes. let us not give the green light to military action without a credible plan. later that day, they approved the motion for airstrikes. the airstrikes began shortly after the vote. you can see prime minister's question everyone stand 7:00 a.m. eastern on sunday night at 9:00 p.m. eastern and pacific. watch any time at c-span.org where you can find video of past
british programs. >> monday night on the communicators, terrorism and the use of a social media. we will examine how social media is used to radicalize a new members. they will be joined by vice president of the media research the ceo of the counterterrorism extremism project. both recently testified at a house hearing community on social media and the rise of terrorism. look at hollywood, madison avenue, there is no doubt. if you look at the narrow space where people are searching for this type of stuff in this
sub-world, this subculture, this radically outnumber everyone who is sending a counterterrorism message. we ought to have a robust discussion in the united states that these companies are on notice that their platforms are being used. they have to have policies and procedures in place but limited to a denied the ability of terrorists to misuse these products. if they do not, we need to have a robust discussion about these plot arms. are they a material platform for these terrorist groups? in a primetime and national security address to the nation, president obama discussed the mass shootings at san bernardino, california, and his quest to defeat isis. he also talked about disallowing
those up on screening lists to purchase guns and on those on screening lists not to come here without securing a visa. 59 minutes. the president: good evening. on wednesday, 14 americans were killed as they came together to celebrate the holidays. they were taken from family and friends who loved them deeply. they were white and black; latino and asian; immigrants and american-born; moms and dads; daughters and sons. each of them served their fellow citizens and all of them were part of our american family. tonight, i want to talk with you about this tragedy, the broader threat of terrorism, and how we can keep our country safe. the fbi is still gathering the facts about what happened in san bernardino, but here is what we know. the victims were brutally murdered and injured by one of their coworkers and his wife.
so far, we have no evidence that the killers were directed by a terrorist organization overseas, or that they were part of a broader conspiracy here at home. but it is clear that the two of them had gone down the dark path of radicalization, embracing a perverted interpretation of islam that calls for war against america and the west. they had stockpiled assault weapons, ammunition, and pipe bombs. so this was an act of terrorism, designed to kill innocent people. our nation has been at war with terrorists since al qaeda killed nearly 3,000 americans on 9/11. in the process, we've hardened our defenses -- from airports to financial centers, to other critical infrastructure. intelligence and law enforcement agencies have disrupted countless plots here and overseas, and worked around the clock to keep us safe. our military and counterterrorism professionals have relentlessly pursued
terrorist networks overseas -- disrupting safe havens in several different countries, killing osama bin laden, and decimating al qaeda's leadership. over the last few years, however, the terrorist threat has evolved into a new phase. as we've become better at preventing complex, multifaceted attacks like 9/11, terrorists turned to less complicated acts of violence like the mass shootings that are all too common in our society. it is this type of attack that we saw at fort hood in 2009; in chattanooga earlier this year; and now in san bernardino. and as groups like isil grew stronger amidst the chaos of war in iraq and then syria, and as the internet erases the distance between countries, we see growing efforts by terrorists to poison the minds of people like the boston marathon bombers and the san bernardino killers. for seven years, i've confronted
this evolving threat each morning in my intelligence briefing. and since the day i took this office, i've authorized u.s. forces to take out terrorists abroad precisely because i know how real the danger is. as commander-in-chief, i have no greater responsibility than the security of the american people. as a father to two young daughters who are the most precious part of my life, i know that we see ourselves with friends and coworkers at a holiday party like the one in san bernardino. i know we see our kids in the faces of the young people killed in paris. and i know that after so much war, many americans are asking whether we are confronted by a cancer that has no immediate cure. well, here's what i want you to know: the threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. we will destroy isil and any other organization that tries to harm us.
our success won't depend on tough talk, or abandoning our values, or giving into fear. that's what groups like isil are hoping for. instead, we will prevail by being strong and smart, resilient and relentless, and by drawing upon every aspect of american power. here's how. first, our military will continue to hunt down terrorist plotters in any country where it is necessary. in iraq and syria, airstrikes are taking out isil leaders, heavy weapons, oil tankers, infrastructure. and since the attacks in paris, our closest allies -- including france, germany, and the united kingdom -- have ramped up their contributions to our military campaign, which will help us accelerate our effort to destroy isil.
second, we will continue to provide training and equipment to tens of thousands of iraqi and syrian forces fighting isil on the ground so that we take away their safe havens. in both countries, we're deploying special operations forces who can accelerate that offensive. we've stepped up this effort since the attacks in paris, and we'll continue to invest more in approaches that are working on the ground. third, we're working with friends and allies to stop isil's operations -- to disrupt plots, cut off their financing, and prevent them from recruiting more fighters. since the attacks in paris, we've surged intelligence-sharing with our european allies. we're working with turkey to seal its border with syria. and we are cooperating with muslim-majority countries -- and with our muslim communities here at home -- to counter the vicious ideology that isil promotes online.
fourth, with american leadership, the international community has begun to establish a process -- and timeline -- to pursue ceasefires and a political resolution to the syrian war. doing so will allow the syrian people and every country, including our allies, but also countries like russia, to focus on the common goal of destroying isil -- a group that threatens us all. this is our strategy to destroy isil. it is designed and supported by our military commanders and counterterrorism experts, together with 65 countries that have joined an american-led coalition. and we constantly examine our strategy to determine when additional steps are needed to get the job done. that's why i've ordered the departments of state and homeland security to review the visa waiver program under which the female terrorist in san bernardino originally came to this country. and that's why i will urge high-tech and law enforcement leaders to make it harder for terrorists to use technology to escape from justice. now, here at home, we have to work together to address the challenge.
there are several steps that congress should take right away. to begin with, congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. what could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semi-automatic weapon? this is a matter of national security. we also need to make it harder for people to buy powerful assault weapons like the ones that were used in san bernardino. i know there are some who reject any gun safety measures. but the fact is that our intelligence and law enforcement agencies -- no matter how effective they are -- cannot identify every would-be mass shooter, whether that individual is motivated by isil or some other hateful ideology. what we can do -- and must do -- is make it harder for them to kill. next, we should put in place stronger screening for those who come to america without a visa
so that we can take a hard look at whether they've traveled to warzones. and we're working with members of both parties in congress to do exactly that. finally, if congress believes, as i do, that we are at war with isil, it should go ahead and vote to authorize the continued use of military force against these terrorists. for over a year, i have ordered our military to take thousands of airstrikes against isil targets. i think it's time for congress to vote to demonstrate that the american people are united, and committed, to this fight. my fellow americans, these are the steps that we can take together to defeat the terrorist threat. let me now say a word about what we should not do. we should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in iraq or syria. that's what groups like isil want. they know they can't defeat us
on the battlefield. isil fighters were part of the insurgency that we faced in iraq. but they also know that if we occupy foreign lands, they can maintain insurgencies for years, killing thousands of our troops, draining our resources, and using our presence to draw new recruits. the strategy that we are using now -- airstrikes, special forces, and working with local forces who are fighting to regain control of their own country -- that is how we'll achieve a more sustainable victory. and it won't require us sending a new generation of americans overseas to fight and die for another decade on foreign soil. here's what else we cannot do. we cannot turn against one another by letting this fight be defined as a war between america and islam. that, too, is what groups like isil want. isil does not speak for islam. they are thugs and killers, part of a cult of death, and they
account for a tiny fraction of more than a billion muslims around the world -- including millions of patriotic muslim americans who reject their hateful ideology. moreover, the vast majority of terrorist victims around the mof terrorist victims around the world are muslim. if we're to succeed in defeating terrorism, we must enlist muslim communities as some of our strongest allies, rather than push them away through suspicion and hate. that does not mean denying the fact that an extremist ideology has spread within some muslim communities. this is a real problem that muslims must confront, without excuse. muslim leaders here and around the globe have to continue working with us to decisively and unequivocally reject the hateful ideology that groups like isil and al qaeda promote; to speak out against not just acts of violence, but also those