Sunday, 29 November 2015

Syria: UN mandate, the 36 page response to the foreign affairs SC + PM on Thursday determine my support

An assessment of the Syria situation requires a number of things: we already carry out such missions over Iraq. As to the extension of this to Syria I would urge any constituent to assess three key documents. The approach of the UN is key. But the best document is the very very detailed 36 page response by the government to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee. This is an explanation of what this entails, what diplomatic efforts are being made, what is the road map to a long term peace, and what reconstruction post isil looks like.
Then there is the 3 hour session in parliament on Thursday where the PM took 103 questions from across the house.

1. What does the unanimous resolution 2249 of the UN say? I would urge constituents to read this as a starter:
The key paragraph is:

“5.   The UN Calls upon Member States that have the capacity to do so to take all necessary measures, in compliance with international law, in particular with the United Nations Charter, as well as international human rights, refugee and humanitarian law, on the territory under the control of ISIL also known as Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq, to redouble and coordinate their efforts to prevent and suppress terrorist acts committed specifically by ISIL also known as Da’esh as well as ANF, and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaida, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the United Nations Security Council, and as may further be agreed by the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) and endorsed by the UN Security Council, pursuant to the statement of the International Syria Support Group (ISSG) of 14 November, and to eradicate the safe haven they have established over significant parts of Iraq and Syria;"

2. The cross party foreign affairs select committee sought detailed answers to a number of questions. The full response of the government is here:

In the response the PM addresses the key questions which are:
Why us?
Why now?
Is what we are contemplating legal?
Where are the ground troops to help us meet our objectives?
What is the strategy that brings together everything that we are doing, particularly in Syria?
Is there an end to this conflict and is there a plan for what follows?

3. The PM provided a statement to the House of Commons and answered 103 questions from members of Parliamanetary from all parts of the House. This can be found here:
As always we will await the motion itself that Parliament is asked to support but I believe we have the UN backed legal mandate, that we have a clear roadmap from a diplomatic point of view, and that the very very detailed response to the Foreign Affairs Select Committee provides answer to the key issues that we all need to have addressed. I shall be supporting the Prime Minister.


  1. Mr. Opperman, your final paragraph encapsulates the belief that the political class believes that it has all the answers and complete justification for its folly in so many areas.
    "I shall be supporting the Prime Minister" are precisely the words that I hoped not to hear expressed. You disappoint me greatly.

  2. Very disappointed indeed to hear you in support of the prime minister...these are not the words I wanted to hear.

  3. Unless you can guarantee not to kill civilians, all bombing will do is to further fill the ranks of ISIS. It will also increase the profits of the arms dealers and manufacturers. Far better to be seen as helping the people in Syria and to target ISIS funding. If arms manufacturers were held responsible for weapons found in ISIS hands and penalised financially this 'war' would fizzle out.
    I urge you to make a logical rather than emotional decision and vote against the PM's motion.

  4. You urge constituents to read the full text of the PM's statement. Well I have, and I have to say it's even more flaky and unconvincing than I expected. Take away the emotive stuff about how evil ISIS are (yes, we know that) there isn't much in the way of substantive argument for a bombing campaign. There is little doubt that hundreds, if not thousands, of innocent civilians will be killed (regarded as unfortunate collateral I guess). Many of these people will hitherto have been opposed to ISIS themselves. What are the identified targets? ISIS aren't a conventional army. The attacks in Paris are just one example of how they operate. The PM talks about Raqqa being their HQ as though they're conveniently all huddled in one building with an Islamic State flag on top. I'm far more persuaded by, say Peter Hitchens, here speaking on LBC: or the thoughts of a journalist with intimate knowledge of ISIS or the thoughts of NATO General Sir Richard Shirreff

  5. Mr Opperman, will you please answer in one sentence each, the questions that you pose above? I couldn't find a concise response from the PM anywhere in the response you pointed me to.

  6. Mr Opperman, I have written and rewritten this, too angry and distressed to be coherent but, as my MP, it's important that you know my view - if you vote for airstrikes tomorrow you will be disregarding evidence from experienced commentators and military and regional experts. You will be disregarding the plight of millions of people terrified, displaced and killed in the middle east due to mistaken intervention by the west. You will be disregarding the lives of Syrian men, women and children who WILL be killed in their own homes by the bombs you endorse. It won't bring peace but feed a never ending cycle of violence and misery, giving Daesh exactly what they want.
    If Cameron wants UK to have a voice, a role in the world then why not be a voice for peace? If there is a "clear roadmap from a diplomatic point of view" as you claim then we need to follow that before escalating military involvement.
    Your responsibility in this vote is not just to your own conscience or political ideology but to your constituents and ultimately, to the people of Syria. Please reconsider.

  7. Are you more interested in promotion,than an honest vote? British people of all political persuasions ,don't agree with bombing

  8. 36 pages? Really? Smoke and mirrors. Could we have a 2 page briefing? I remain fundamentally opposed to my very core.

    1. You will not be getting my vote in the next election Mr Opperman. I am gutted. This will leave the very worst legacy for our country and our children.

  9. Thank you for providing the opportunity to read the information you have been provided by the PM. There is nothing here that indicates that adding British bombs to those already killing Syrian civilians will do anything to achieve the stated objectives of making either Syria or the UK safe from IS. Do not confuse the need to do something with the need to do this. Instead of voting to bomb Syria while the unlawful Assad government remains, please put pressure on the government to make every effort to stop the flow of weapons and new IS recruits into Syria.

  10. Having been directed here by your assistant, I remain dissatisfied with the rationale provided above. As Father Nadim Nassair just stated on the Today programme, echoed by many with deep knowledge of the situation, the way to stop ISIL is to cut off their resources, not to bomb indefinite targets, resulting in hundreds, thousands of civilian deaths and the potential for further radicalisation. Bombing innocent civilians is not the answer. This is wrong, and not supported by the British public. I urge you to reconsider your support of this utterly misguided military venture.

    1. Likewise. As an expat living and working in Jordan who expressed very specific concerns to you as my home MP this leaves me feeling unheard and ultimately dissatisfied with your vague explanations and your actions overall.

  11. I too have read the prime minister's statement and remain unconvinced. The track record of military interventions in the last few years is dismal. Russia is bombing any opposition to Assad which presumably the UK government would want to distance itself from. Who is going to really distinguish our aircraft from a Russian? I doubt we have sufficient intelligence to target ISIL as precisely as the PM Cameron implies. Bombing campaigns are food for regeneration of the many headed Hydra of ISIL who will make capital out of the inevitable innocent casualties, so called collateral damage. There is a conspicuous lack of detailed analysis, in the public domain, of ISIL itself, its leaders, its origins, how it works, its motivations, its support structures. Throwing out epithets of evil and other emotive words which may feel true, shuts down attempts to understand a bit more about them and therefore reduces possibilities of defeating them. If you dont understand your enemy you have much less chance of outmaneuvering them.

  12. The impression I get from your post is "I do whatever my boss tells me to do." Do you have a conscience? Do you really believe that there is no better way to end this conflict? The blood of Syrian civilians, and British civilians in the sure-to-be resulting terror attacks, will be on your hands.
    I will not be voting for you at the next election.

  13. Mr. Opperman,
    Really? A 36 page document? What about a summary? It would appear from the thread above that there is a strong tendency AGAINST dropping more bombs. AGAINST killing which can only lead to more killing. You are walking us all straight into the hands of ISIL doing exactly what they want - to provide further excuse for something big and terrible to happen on our own soil. #NOTINMY NAME Mr. Opperman. I'm unimpressed by your moral conscience. You WILL have blood on your hands.

    1. Ny the way, I absolutely resent Mr. Cameron's assertion that anyone who opposes him is a terrorist sympathiser. I am most definitely not and in my opinion I think it is disgraceful that he refused to apologise during the debate in parliament. He had ample opportunity.

  14. Dear Guy,
    I'm disappointed in your support to for the bombing of Syria. Be it on your conscience. May I remind you that you are a public servant and represent the people you will not have my vote in the future.


  15. Never mind, folks! I don't suppose Mr. Opperman will read these comments until after the vote. Democracy rools OK.

    1. Mr Opperman has deleted a lot of the antiwar messages from this comment section, so much for free speech in this country!

      Luckily I had the foresight to take a screenshot of the comments before the wipe.

      Democracy in action.

      Please see deleted the comments below.

  16. continued.....;.

    Bob White1 December 2015 at 21:28

    You will have blood on your hands, please reconsider.

    Notinmyname2 December 2015 at 17:40

    Will have blood on his hands? I think you'll find his hands are already drenched in the blood of innocents.

    On 21 Mar 2011: Guy Opperman voted to support the establishment of a no-fly zone in Libya. (i.e destroy the country)

    On 26 Sep 2014: Guy Opperman voted for UK air strikes in Iraq to support Iraqi forces' efforts against ISIL.

    On 29 Aug 2013: Guy Opperman voted against requiring conditions be fulfilled, including a vote of the UN Security Council before any military action involving UK forces in response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria.

    On 29 Aug 2013: Guy Opperman voted to agree a strong humanitarian response to the use of chemical weapons in Syria was required from the international community that may, if necessary, require military action.

    Now proven to be a lie, as the Saudi gov supplied the chemical weapons to the same terrorists
    the west is supporting, not Assad.

    He will vote for war whatever the latest government lie is.

    War = weapons sales = his buddies get rich and a foot up the ladder.

  17. continued...

    David Seaman

    I see you (Mr,Opperman) ,support buying from local business. Can I ask will you be buying your £170,000 each tomahawk missiles locally? Probably not.

    We will never forget and you and the other war criminals like Blair will find yourself in the hauge one day for multiple war crimes. You will pay for your crimes against humanity.

    Lets not forget you sell arms to Saudi Arabia, a country with the worst human rights record.

    This has nothing to do with ISIS, who is the pet terrorist arm of the US/west/Saudi/UK its a proxy army designed to throw over a democratically elected government of Syria, no doubt for the aim of the "greater Israel project" that our great leader has an "unshakable bond."

    Maybe if you witnessed a few Syrian children and mothers with their arms and legs blown off you may be capable of some empathy and have a more sympathetic view of your endless, pointless disgusting wars all for PROFIT.


  18. continued.......

    The Way We Were2 December 2015 at 17:45

    Cameron is much a subservient poodle to the US Imperial war machine as Bliar was. The spin is turning so fast, as it was when Bliar concocted his lies about Saddam and Iraq, that it is hard to keep up with it. Cameron destroyed Libya and has shown not the slightest contrition for his evil deeds in much the same way as Bliar feels for the death of a million Iraqi's. You will have on your conscience the consequences of this action that could easily escalate into a major conflict with the Russian coalition and end in a deadly nuclear war but strangely enough I think that NATO is in fact planning an aggressive action against the Russian Federation and this Syrian intervention is the preparation for that possibility.

  19. continued....

    vicky2 December 2015 at 20:34

    Mr Opperman, I am appalled that you support military action in Syria. This will only result in more genocide and hatred. The British governments continuous warmongering is destroying this country and cracking its moral values to the very core of humanity. .....I honestly don't know how any of you sleep!?!

    Even if I did believe the nonsensical fabric spouted out by the BBC propagandists that 36 page vagary holds up as much as Blairs lies, which resulted in the deaths of over a million Iraqui souls. Incidentally how dare you hide behind UN resolutions and humanitarian law when this government completely ignores the plight of the Palestinian people who have been oppressed for nearly seventy years!

    Lets not pretend that this invasion isn't about anything other than financial gain for the few who have a vested interest in the military complex.

    From the above comments it does not appear that any of your constituents are in support of military action. Why then as a public servant are you voting for it? Who indeed are you working for?

    I am also disgusted by Camerons accusations that anyone opposing military action is now a terrorist sympathiser. It doesn't surprise me that he refused to apologise. He truly is a blood sucking tick that feeds upon the fleas of satans nether regions.

    Millions are dead, hundreds of thousands are displaced as refugees, we can't afford to feed and support our poor and infirm, Yet we can fund more war because war = peace. Good job Opperman, I'll leave it there..

  20. According to some reports published on social networks, Tory MP Nadhim Zahawi is involved in trading oil derived from ISIL-controlled fields in Iraq.