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Date archive for: December 2015

UK parliament votes to bomb Islamic State in Syria – so, what will that mean internationally?

Written by Scott Lucas.

The British parliament has approved a government plan to join the international alliance bombing Islamic State targets in Syria. After more than 10 hours debating, the motion in favour of action passed with 397 votes for and 223 votes against the government.

Ahead of the vote, British newspaper columns had been filled with discussion of a new “war”, while those opposed to the airstrikes drew parallels with the catastrophe of the intervention in Iraq in 2003.

Both of these are exaggerations. Britain’s bombing will not be significant and it certainly will not be part of a coherent strategy against the Islamic State, let alone a reasonable approach to Syria’s 56-month conflict. Continue reading UK parliament votes to bomb Islamic State in Syria – so, what will that mean internationally?

Returning to the Shadows: Intelligence and the vote on air strikes in Syria

Written by Rory Cormac.

We have been here before. As MPs file through the lobby to vote on air strikes against ISIS in Syria, they could be forgiven a sense of déjà vu.

Prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and on the principle of military intervention in Syria – against Assad this time – MPs were asked for approval.

In both cases secret intelligence played a key role. Claims about Saddam Hussein’s apparent Weapons of Mass Destruction are notorious and cast a heavy shadow. Intelligence was also vital in the 2013 Syria debate – in assessing whether or not Assad had launched a brutal chemical attack and breached one of President Obama’s “red lines”. David Cameron was desperate to learn the lessons from Tony Blair’s mistakes a decade earlier. Continue reading Returning to the Shadows: Intelligence and the vote on air strikes in Syria

Is Bangladesh descending into lawlessness?

Written by Palash Kamruzzaman.

An Italian priest has been wounded by gunmen in Bangladesh, the latest in a wave of attacks on foreigners there. Only weeks before, an Italian citizen working with a development organisation was shot in Dhaka’s diplomatic zone – one of the most heavily guarded places in the country. A few days later, a Japanese citizen was murdered in northern Bangladesh in a similar style.

The motives for these murders are not yet clear, but political leaders have rushed to suggest who could be behind these killings without presenting any credible and concrete evidence. Another spin-off of these events is to create an atmosphere of panic, which has been greatly heightened by Islamic State (IS) apparently claiming responsibilityfor these incidents – including the bombing of a Shia procession on 24 October 2015. Continue reading Is Bangladesh descending into lawlessness?