UK warned against ‘knee-jerk’ response over Syria
Britain should avoid copying the United States and a knee-jerk response that drags London deeper into the Syrian situation, parliamentarian John Baron warned (18 June 2013).
In a statement issued in response to news that President Barack Obama has threatened to set in train the ‘enormous consequences’ announced in 2012, following the claim that chemical weapons have been used by President Bashar al-Assad, Conservative Party MP John Baron urged caution. He believes we do not need to follow the American lead, and that we should not arm or further help the Syrian rebels by way of military intervention, a statement issued by the parliamentarian’s office said.
“Sometimes good friends tell each other when they are going wrong. We do not have to follow the American lead,” Baron said. “The Prime Minister has promised me and others that there will be a full debate and vote in the House of Commons before we step up our aid to the Syrian rebels.”
Baron added, “We must guard against ‘mission creep’. The more we edge closer to direct involvement, the more we become responsible for events on the ground. And the more we would find it difficult to extricate ourselves.”
“How would we track and trace the additional weaponry, to ensure it did not fall into the hands of extremists on the rebel side – who themselves have committed atrocities? Meanwhile, throwing more weapons into this conflict can only increase the violence and casualties.”
“The debate so far has been couched in terms of the conflict within the country. However, Syria is a proxy war, being fought out between Sunni and Shi’a; between the West and Russia; and Iran and Saudi Arabia. Pouring more weapons into this civil war could easily extend the conflict beyond Syria’s borders.”
“The West should instead redouble its humanitarian and diplomatic efforts. Many refugee camps are desperately short of basic amenities. Meanwhile, the West is planning to exclude a key player such as Iran from the forthcoming conference. This does not make sense.”
Editor’s Note: John Baron was re-elected in the June 2017 general election.