Tuesday, 17 November 2015

"One Thing I've Learnt"

John Prescott writes:

13/11: Another date in time that will forever mean more than just a set of numbers. 

Like 9/11 and 7/7, it will represent a moment when a country, its government and people realise an uncomfortable truth. That we can never truly be safe from terror. 

Because we can never, hand-on-heart, say we can protect the public. 

Whether in the Twin Towers of New York, the London Underground or even on the beaches of Tunisia, fundamental extremists will always find a way. 

And while governments promise swift justice and retribution there is very little we can do. 

There will be politicians who will use the deaths in Paris, just as they did after 9/11, to push an agenda of greater military intervention in the Middle East. 

The road to revenge didn’t stop with the Taliban in Afghanistan. It added new destinations – Saddam in Iraq, Gaddafi in Libya and then Assad in Syria.

One thing I’ve learnt is that this western intervention never helps, it only makes matters worse. So much worse.

Our interventions, however noble of intent they may appear, only pour petrol on the fires of Middle East unrest. 

So how do you crackdown on the terrorists in Paris?

This will have been planned weeks if not months ago. How do you argue to close borders when the very extremists already carry French passports? 

To my mind, there are three things we can do.

The first is to push for a regional solution in Syria. 

That means the international community working with Syria ’s neighbours. A lasting agreement will only be reached by building consensus. 

That takes me to my second point. 

From Afghanistan, to Iraq and Libya, Britain and the US stoked the unrest that allowed ISIS to emerge and thrive. So we must stop all military involvement. 

Sending a drone to kill Mohammed ‘Jihadi John’ Emwazi may appeal to our baser instincts of vengeance.

But it will be seen in the Middle East as a state-sponsored execution. Britain and the US as judge, jury and executioner. Just like ISIS. 

As the parents of Jim Foley said: “It is a very small solace to learn that Jihadi John may have been killed by the US Government. His death does not bring Jim back.” 

So we must stop these drone attacks and take no further active military role in either Iraq or Syria. Let other regional players like Iran take the lead on this. 

The final thing we can do is show Britain is committed to finding a lasting peace in all of the Middle East. 

We cannot let the running sore of ill-feeling and bad blood between Israel and the Palestinian territories continue. 

Both Israelis and Palestinians deserve to live together peacefully. That means putting pressure on both governments to strike that deal. 

The best tribute to those who died in Paris is not to send troops and drones to “eviscerate” ISIS and Syria.

It is to channel that anger-fuelled energy to sue for a lasting peaceful solution across that region.

Let the lasting memorial to those who died on Friday 13th be that they truly rest in peace.

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