My Lords, I support the Government’s proposals for military action against ISIL. I thought that the article on terrorism written by the King of Jordan in one of today’s newspapers was particularly moving. He made the point that it is imperative for all opposing ISIL to be united and that what is being fought is,
“a war within Islam against the outlaws of Islam, the Khawarej”.
These barbarians threaten not just the West and the Middle East but the world. Their war extends already to Africa and Asia. He made the point that the participation of the UK in military action is important both in supporting our allies and friends and in bringing some unique technical resources and capabilities.
The ISIL barbarians have not just committed crimes against the innocent about the world but have brutally murdered Muslims as well as Christians and members of other religions in Syria, and committed horrors in terms of foreign hostages. The world cannot afford to wait much longer to act and to purge itself of ISIL.
The actions of the RAF in Syria will be helpful, but bombing cannot in any way be sufficient successfully to conquer and destroy ISIL without major ground force involvement. I hope that the potential 70,000 troops of the Free Syrian Army and the 20,000-strong Kurdish forces will play a major role but it would be much more appropriate for there to be a large global coalition force, potentially organised by the United Nations. That force should ideally include not just NATO but Russia and the armies of reliable Middle East allies. As the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, pointed out, Egypt has half a million men under arms, has had its own ghastly experience of ISIL and is surely an important military ally in the area. Sorting out Assad and a new Government or Governments for Syria will have to wait until after ISIL has been dealt with. Clearly, as well as diplomatic initiatives, Syria will need major additional humanitarian aid and, in due course, major funding to rebuild the devastation that the civil war has led to.
I close by reading out an important recent letter in the Times from a British Muslim, echoing comments made earlier by the most reverend Primate and the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford. It states:
“Your leader ‘Decapitating the snake’ … implies that Raqqa in Syria is the head. The head of the snake is not in Raqqa, it is in Saudi Arabia — which is the main source of Wahhabi and Salafi ideology … It is this ideology that breeds terrorists inside and outside Islamic countries …Wahhabis and Salafis are a minority within the Sunni muslims, and have hijacked and twisted Islam in an evil way”.
I hope that our military intervention will succeed and help to purge the world of these evil people.