Middle East: Security

Part of the debate – in the House of Commons at 3:37 pm on 7th January 2020.

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Photo of Ben Wallace Ben Wallace The Secretary of State for Defence 3:37 pm, 7th January 2020

The hon. Gentleman mixes the inherent right, under article 51 of the UN charter, to defend ourselves from threats against our citizens or others, and an unchallengeable sovereignty that means a country cannot take action to defend itself from a threat in part of another country. We mostly do it by getting in touch with the other country to have someone arrested or dealt with, when there is a direct threat, but that is not always an option, depending on imminence.

As I said in my statement, the number of times that US and UK coalition forces have been attacked in Iraq in the last few months, with no action being taken—indeed, an American lost their life—has been growing. There have been 14 attacks, with 32 rockets fired in the last one. In the end, it is the responsibility of any nation to make the difficult choice to balance sovereignty, intelligence and the duty to defend its citizens. Nations have to make that choice sometimes.