by Caroline Flint MP written on 26 September 2014
I supported the recall of Parliament today, following the request by the Iraqi government for military assistance to tackle ISIL. It is only right that Parliament is consulted if time permits.
The Labour Party does not support illegal military action, but the elected Iraqi government has every right to defend itself against terrorism and it has a right under the UN to request the assistance of allies to achieve the same end.
Just as we decided against military action in Syria in 2011, it is right that proposed military action is a last resort; is proportional; has a reasonable prospect of success; a legal base; broad regional support; and is a just cause. I believe that is the case here.
As Ed Miliband said: "We cannot turn away from the threat of ISIL which is a murderous organisation, has taken British hostages, threatens the stability of the region and is therefore a threat to the UK's national interest. That is why we will be supporting the Government's proposal for UK air strikes in Iraq against ISIL. I want to reassure people there is no question of committing UK ground troops. There is an alliance which includes countries in the region. We will learn the lessons of the past - but we will not turn away from threats to our national interest."
ISIL are not democratic, they are not legitimate, they are not true Muslims, in that most of the people they have killed are Muslim and their trade in, and execution of, Western hostages, is nothing more than barbarism. It is also quite wrong, as some suggest, to suggest that they are Western funded or backed. A recent joint letter by leading British Muslims to the Prime Minister said: “We are sure that most British Muslims would agree that ‘Un-Islamic State’ is a considerably more fitting label for this poisonous group – and hope that our fellow citizens will join us in that.” They described the organization as “al-Qaeda Separatists in Iraq and Syria,” arguing the organization has “tarnished the image of Islam across the globe.” I believe it is wholly wrong to refer to this group as “Islamic State”. Their methods and purposes are against the teachings of the Koran and stand condemned by true Muslims.
I support religious tolerance at home and abroad, and I do not want decent British Muslim citizens to face abuse or hostility because of the appalling acts of terrorists like ISIL.
I support military intervention that is legal and just. And I fully support political initiatives to bring peace to this region, and humanitarian action to ensure that the many people made refugees by ISIL and not left to starve, and can return to a safe home as soon as possible.
I firmly believe that, after a serious and wide-ranging debate, Parliament made the right decision today.
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