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Tunisia, Egypt, Libya... Arab Countries in Revolt


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Snowy, in your link they are talking about not using the Royal Prerogative to undertake military action against the Assad regime.  Cameron hasn't done that, he's used it to target an individual terrorist who it is said was directly involved in planning atrocities within the UK and in an area (Raqqa) that is entirely controlled by Islamic State forces.  He is allowed to do it, the vote in 2013 is totally irrelevant.

However, I'm interested to know how you think the government should have dealt with this? 

Edited by Awol
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Snowy, in your link they are talking about not using the Royal Prerogative to undertake military action against the Assad regime.  Cameron hasn't done that, he's used it to target an individual terrorist who it is said was directly involved in planning atrocities within the UK and in an area (Raqqa) that is entirely controlled by Islamic State forces.  He is allowed to do it, the vote in 2013 is totally irrelevant.

And subsequent to that vote and debate, it has remained in the background at the very least in discussions on any military action in Syria (whether against Assad, IS, Johnny from Cardiff or whoever) and when the defence minister and others have pressed for taking military action against IS in Syria.

The vote is relevant in as far as it was relevant to the discussions that have been had in public and the arguments which have been made by Fallon, Cameron and others.

Whether or not he is 'allowed to do it' is more of a matter for international law experts to discuss from now until the end of time (and without the relevant evidence in front of them) so that is all rather academic.

Again, why won't the same thing apply tomorrow to target another individual terrorist or, surely more effectively, a load of individual terrorists as they're part of IS who Cameron and others have been telling us represent a direct threat to the security of the UK and its citizens. If this justification is valid then why won't it become valid for more operations once it has been accepted without question in this case?

I'm interested to know how you think the government should have dealt with this?

I don't know and I don't pretend to know without knowing what they do or seeing what they know or knew (or even then) but I think it's never a good thing for a government to make contentious decisions in matters of taking military action (targeted assassinations or full blown bombing campaigns). I'm afraid that I'm always skeptical about any state decisions made in secret and especially when there is so much surety in their subsequent announcement.

I'll reiterate where I am coming from which is to question what governments have done, are doing and intend to do, why they do it and who is holding them accountable and where the checks are.

If the government want to engage in military operations in Syria (against whomever) then I'd like them to return to parliament and put their case - not throw their hands up as they have done and say they won't do that unless there is consensus.

Edited by snowychap
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Trent posted a few pages ago that the SAS has been tasked with targeting the British man and IS executioner known as Jihadi John. If they succeed and kill him will the government be condemned for ordering that? Is there a difference between shooting him or dropping a bomb from a drone?

If killing him is also wrong then how exactly are these people who are beyond the reach of conventional law enforcement to be dealt with? Should they be allowed to murder with impunity? If not then what should the UK do when confronted with people who legally hold our nationality but belong to an organisation that has not only vowed to kill our citizens but already carried out the threat - hostage murders, 31 holiday makers on a beach in Tunisia, assorted foiled plots to hit targets in mainland UK.

Really interested to see if people have a real solution to these problems in mind.

 

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We find ourselves in the unfortunate situation whereby out national security is compromised by our own citizens. Partly (of perhaps hugely) due to our recent foreign policy and colonial past.

If we can arrest them, we do, if we can't then we need to neutralise the threat of a way that is proportionate to the level of threat.

It's not ideal, but I'm okay with my country taking steps to ensure my safety. This is a very messy situation that I wish we were never in and never want to be in again. But we're in it.

We should not accept these incidents without questioning them, but in turn sometimes they are necessary.

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A clear message needs to be sent out to british Jihadist's. Today this was a clear message and personally I am all for it.

I can see the point of taking out a potential threat. But not the 'sending out a message' bit. It's hardly going to dissuade someone who craves martyrdom above else. There will be plenty who believe that these guys are now in paradise shagging virgins.

We are not dealing with rational people here.

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If they succeed and kill him will the government be condemned for ordering that?

Again, there is a vast difference between 'condemning' and questioning the actions, intent and trustworthiness of the state carrying out actions where the public justification is just an utterance from a politician.

From my point of view, I think it's a dodgy situation for a nation's people to allow themselves to get in to accept, without question, that the actions of the state are only going to be in the best interests of its people (they may arguably be in a 'national interest' but I'm not sure that always coincides with the best interests of its people). Therefore, if extraordinary measures are to be taken (and if those measures are to remain extraordinary and not become routine) it behoves the people (and their representatives) to hold the state (and the executive on its behalf) to account when those actions are taken.

That for me is a real solution to these problems.

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A clear message needs to be sent out to british Jihadist's. Today this was a clear message and personally I am all for it.

 

I can see the point of taking out a potential threat. But not the 'sending out a message' bit. It's hardly going to dissuade someone who craves martyrdom above else. There will be plenty who believe that these guys are now in paradise shagging virgins.

 

We are not dealing with rational people here.

 

 

But even if today's news dissuades ONE potential terrorist/IS member from actually going through with it, then today's news has worked. 

In my opinion, anyone who decides to go and join these organisations, with the full intention of hurting innocent, law abiding citizens, must pay the consequences, even if they've joined just for association purposes.  I don't buy that all the people from the UK that join these organisations are mentally ill, or unstable, they have a choice and they make that choice.  They must do some pretty detailed research before they decide to jump on a plane to get over there, these people aren't mentally insecure. 

How many more incidents where innocent people lose their lives going to work are we going to suffer before anything happens.

I'm pretty liberally minded, but I want my family to be safe first and foremost and if the people in power have sufficient reason to believe these people are a threat to innocent people, then provided they have done their research and came to that conclusion, then I frankly welcome their interjection.

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If they succeed and kill him will the government be condemned for ordering that?

Again, there is a vast difference between 'condemning' and questioning the actions, intent and trustworthiness of the state carrying out actions where the public justification is just an utterance from a politician.

From my point of view, I think it's a dodgy situation for a nation's people to allow themselves to get in to accept, without question, that the actions of the state are only going to be in the best interests of its people (they may arguably be in a 'national interest' but I'm not sure that always coincides with the best interests of its people). Therefore, if extraordinary measures are to be taken (and if those measures are to remain extraordinary and not become routine) it behoves the people (and their representatives) to hold the state (and the executive on its behalf) to account when those actions are taken.

That for me is a real solution to these problems.

 

I think that depends very much on the context.  When dealing with domestic issues I think the above is absolutely spot on. When it is in regard to known terrorists where an individual's mere presence is conclusive proof of their intentions (if you travel to Syria and join IS then you are de-facto a terrorist) then applying the same nuances is simply not possible for practical and security reasons. Just because people may wish to know 100% of the detail around an event overseas or all about the circumstances of a highly specific case like with this individual, that's not the same as having the right to know. 

Anyway, he's dead. Hooray. Next please.

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I'm really struggling to comprehend what alternative course of action is available to Cameron in the circumstances of this particular case.

I fully accept your point Snowy that it is foolish of a people to accept without question, that a Government's actions are always in the best interests of its people. I also accept the charge that in this particular case that is what I'm doing but I think like the action itself its justified. I think in domestic politics we have seen and continue to see examples of policy that isn't in the peoples best interest. (although that is often a question of political outlook) We have too seen examples in international politics too not least going into Iraq in the first place.

However like AWOL I personally feel that there is little debate to be hand in the context of this particular example. I guess you could argue that the execution of these individuals in counter productive in the longer term objective of healing the growing rift between the West and chunks of its own citizens. It would be hard to argue against that.

But those domestically who take issue with our actions in this case (I don't mean those such as yourself who object on points of principle or law) are already lost, they are already lost to the West to an ideology of hate, not a religion of hate I stress. Very few I'd imagine will make the journey back to the Western values.

In my mind, once individuals have crossed the Rubicon and fled the West to Syria and joined ISIS they are terrorists. There is no grey area, no room for doubt or debate.

Once intelligence is such they are deemed to be a credible threat to the UK then I would want, no I would expect our Government to take action by whatever means are available to them. Given the location of these individuals and our on going reluctance to put boots on the ground then the action taken seems to me the only available option and one that is entirely justified.

As much as I'd love to know more about what these individuals had planned and what led the Government to take this course of action I simply accept that those things will likely never happen. I accept that as being for the greater good but can understand why others might not given past events.

But that returns me to my initial point, what alternative is there when someone is a direct threat to the lives of UK citizens but they are out of the reach of international law or even the clutches of Special Forces?

Had Cameron not acted on whatever intelligence they saw fit to act upon and an IS supporter under the direction of these individuals launched an attack on the Bull Ring tomorrow killing a hundred shoppers. Would the Government then be culpable? I would argue they would be, actually I'd argue they had been negligent in the duties.

So in this particular case I'm prepared to accept the Governments actions and more than that I'm grateful to them for making that call and I'm glad that I'm not the one having to make it. This action is so extreme, so at odds with our previous involvement in Syria that it clearly in my mind warranted it.

 

Edited by TrentVilla
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Really interested to see if people have a real solution to these problems in mind.

It's not going to be a quick fix, because it's such a mess.

Have you ever read 'Mr Nice' the Howard Marks biography Awol?

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Part of me is worried about having to trust the government to act out in our best interests when killing people abroad without us having seen the evidence or knowing exactly what is going on.  I don't trust anyone in government and neither should anyone else.  However, part of me is quite glad we have taken some action against ISIS, especially against those who are obviously looking to kill innocent people.

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Part of me is worried about having to trust the government to act out in our best interests when killing people abroad without us having seen the evidence or knowing exactly what is going on.  I don't trust anyone in government and neither should anyone else.  However, part of me is quite glad we have taken some action against ISIS, especially against those who are obviously looking to kill innocent people.

I'd say if the Government were to be crystal clear to joe public about what operations they are partaking in, that would be the stupidest **** idea ever.  And would lead to many more problems than what they solve.

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Part of me is worried about having to trust the government to act out in our best interests when killing people abroad without us having seen the evidence or knowing exactly what is going on.  I don't trust anyone in government and neither should anyone else.  However, part of me is quite glad we have taken some action against ISIS, especially against those who are obviously looking to kill innocent people.

I'd say if the Government were to be crystal clear to joe public about what operations they are partaking in, that would be the stupidest **** idea ever.  And would lead to many more problems than what they solve.

I don't disagree. However, it doesn't mean I trust them anymore.

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Meanwhile....

Russia is building airbases in Syria to bomb ISIS and support Assad. That could be game changer in Syria in terms of ISIS but can't be good for the region in the longer term.

 

 

Good let Russia do the dirty work. 

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Really interested to see if people have a real solution to these problems in mind.

It's not going to be a quick fix, because it's such a mess.

Have you ever read 'Mr Nice' the Howard Marks biography Awol?

Yes, about 1997/98. Too long ago to be making the connection though - or maybe too much of his product since then. 

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Simon Jenkins (who I usually regard as an insufferable buffoon) had a good column on this today. I've highlighted the key parts I agree with:

'It sounded good, but did it sound right? David Cameron’s Commons explanation of the execution of three Britons in Syria eerily recalled Tony Blair on the Iraq war, that Saddam Hussein had “weapons of mass destruction” that posed “an imminent threat” to British national security.

Blair killed stone dead the thesis that such assertions by ministers should be taken on trust. The suspicion has to be that British intelligence had a tag on the suspect Britons for some time and got lucky. British planes had been operating over Syria all summer, with orders to disregard parliament’s veto on military action if targets were of sufficient “value”.

 

As it stands, the visible evidence against them related to events that had already taken place peacefully. The threats appear mere bravado. If not, the more reason for explaining what exactly was the threat, other than “recruitment”.

 

Cameron’s lawyers were content that action was essential to prevent what international law recognises as an “occurring or imminent” Article-51 threat, notified to the United Nations. That law envisaged an army moving to cross a frontier, not a 21-year-old Cardiff terrorist. Even so, I doubt if anyone would quarrel with Cameron’s decision were a threat to be specific and ongoing – with ministers knowing about it in advance. But the menace would have to be so great as to justify the near certainty, as indeed happened, that bystanders would also die, as they have in dozens of American drone attacks (in retaliation for no conceivable “threat” to the American people).

 

It is the likelihood of an attack, not a threat of one, that must be substantiated. Asymmetric wars may demand new rules of engagement. But new rules must be reasoned openly.

 

Cameron’s covering news of the executions with an announcement on refugee relief looks suspiciously like a guilty conscience. Even at some risk to intelligence, he has absolutely no interest in Blair-like obfuscation.

 

The root of this trouble is an ongoing failure to define a “war on terror”. Calling an embryo caliphate “an existential threat to Britain’s national security”, as has Cameron, is not just an absurdity. It implies a government with no confidence in the resilience of the British state against a genuine military threat. It suggests ministers have lost all sense of proportion in matters of security.

 

Crazy youths who go abroad to fight in other people’s wars and make bloodcurdling threats against British people certainly merit drastic countermeasures. But they are criminals who would kill and maim. They do not threaten the state or its security. Nor do they justify the suspension of the rule of law or the traditions of open accountability. To claim otherwise is simply to concede victory to the enemy.

 

The proper question to ask of these actions is, who has benefited? The answer has to be the forces of violence in the Middle East. They need no further encouragement from Britain. As for the claim that drone strikes in Syria are the best way to tackle the refugee crisis at source, no one can believe that.'

Edited by HanoiVillan
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i just cant believe people are questioning cameron over this, what the hell has he done wrong in all this apart from kill two terrorists who wanted to bring terror to our streets. anyone who fights for isis deserves to be killed. if it was left to the lefties the isis flag would be flying over buckingham palace.

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i just cant believe people are questioning cameron over this, what the hell has he done wrong in all this apart from kill two terrorists who wanted to bring terror to our streets. anyone who fights for isis deserves to be killed. if it was left to the lefties the isis flag would be flying over buckingham palace.

I'm not disagreeing with you at all, but how do you know they were terrorists? I think it's reasonable to be sceptical.

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because they left hear to go and fight for islamic state and they preached about hate and attacking the uk. for the life of me i cant understand how anyone could stick up for these two people and say maybe they were not terrorists,how can they not be? and its typical of this country to question if it was the right thing to do, of course it was.

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