Durkan to vote against “Escalator” motion on Syria

29 08 2013

SDLP Foyle MP Mark Durkan has said he will be voting against tonight’s motion on Syria which he believes is about framing the premise for future military intervention.

He said: “While this motion looks for the report of the UN inspectors, looks for evidence and looks for approval for military action, it does not rule out taking military action without UN approval.

“It is a bit of a ‘snakes and ladders’ motion – up and down and in and out of different things – but it is basically about framing the premise for future military intervention in Syria.

“We know that deadly weapons were used but we don’t know exactly who used them. We also don’t know what the scale of the remaining such weaponry actually is – and therefore military intervention could actually end up escalating the use of chemical weapons.

“If we are told that the proposed actions are actually about preventing further use we have to consider whether military action is likely to guarantee the further use of those weapons or not – and not just in Syria but in neighbouring countries as well (including Israel) and creating a wider conflagration.

“It is also somewhat odd listening to both American and British government spokespersons speaking in the last few days about needing to act on the basis of ‘retribution’. There are many parties and interests in the Middle East who feel fully vindicated in relation to their need for retribution and many of us who try to counsel against that as a basic motive and justification towards violence. It is therefore an appalling message from the international community to all sorts of parties in the Middle East – with all of the history and issues there that the going rate for justifying violence is retribution.

“Because I believe this motion is about framing the premise for military intervention in the very near future I will be joining those who will be voting against the government’s motion.

“There are worthy parts in it and more measured tones than were present in a lot of what the government’s spokespersons have been saying this week. But it really is like stepping onto an escalator and then saying once everyone else has piled on (including the Americans, the French etc.) there is no way down from that.”

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