Members of Cardiff Stop the War visited MP Kevin Brennan to clarify his stance on proposed air strikes on Syria.

Adam Johannes

A group of us visited our MP Kevin Brennan to clarify his stance on proposed air strikes on Syria.

Kevin told us his instinct was to vote against air strikes, though he didn’t know yet exactly what MPs would be asked to vote on.

He said his feeling was that British intervention should take the form of diplomacy seeking to enable multilateral talks between different regional and global powers currently intervening to find ways of reducing the conflict and providing humanitarian assistance. He mentioned that he believed Britain should take in more refugees.

He believed that proposed air strikes were more about being part of the ‘show’ and being seen to be ‘doing something’ rather than actually doing something that might be effective.

He also said that he is not a pacifist, and ISIS were a vicious group, and that he would not be against military intervention necessarily in all circumstances, but wasn’t convinced by the arguments for air strikes, and also appeared to agree with my proposition that options such as ‘safe havens’ and ‘no fly zones’ were being presented in a simplistic way that glossed over that they too would involve military confrontation.

He said he was proud to have voted against the Iraq War in 2003 that had created many of the problems we now confront, but had supported air strikes on Iraq last year [note: Stop the War campaigned against these] on the grounds that they were requested by, and taking place with the co-operation, of a ‘democratically elected government in Iraq’, but there was no similar mandate in Syria and the number of different countries and groups intervening on different sides and a divided opposition meant he felt this would not be viable.

He stated that while regarding Assad as a brutal dictator, he had opposed air strikes two years ago in parliament against the regime, ironically he felt if these had gone ahead they probably would have strengthened ISIS who MPs might soon be asked to support air strikes against.

This suggested that MPs were being rushed into supporting military interventions that hadn’t been thought through.

He believes the majority of Labour MPs are opposed to air strikes on Syria, but welcomes debate in the party.

Source: Cardiff Stop the War Coalition

26 Oct 2015

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