I supported intervention in Iraq - intervention to help the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces against the mis-named “Islamic State” (IS), a barbaric terrorist group that glories in mass killing, abduction of women and children and propaganda videos of beheadings.
Under the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein, the Kurdish north of Iraq saw around 4,500 villages wiped out, and a million Kurds fled. The late 1980s saw 182,000 lives lost – and in 1988 came the use of chemical weapons at Halabja.
We now see an attempt at genocide by IS against the Yazidis. They fled the terror and although many were rescued, unknown numbers perished. At least 1,000 women and children have been kidnapped by IS, their whereabouts unknown.
I am deeply troubled that the international community was so slow to act. The UN doctrine of “Responsibility to Protect” counted for little during the past months in western and northern Iraq. The only people to help were the Kurds from Iraq andnorth-east Syria.
I am sorry the British Government did not support the Kurdistan regional government and their Peshmerga earlier than they did.
Kurdistan opened its heart and arms to refugees. Many escaped from sectarian fighting and car bombs in Iraq, and many fled the conflict in Syria. In the past two months, the number of refugees has soared as Sunni, Shia, Christians, Yazidis and others fled IS. The unstinting support and protection given to refugees is a credit to the Kurds.
It is right to respond to the request of the democratic Iraqi government to help, but to imagine that IS will recognise a border on a map is a nonsense. The situation in Syria has to be part of the planning in taking on IS.
When Parliament met last year to discuss action againstAssad for using chemical weapons against its citizens, some were against it because it would make things worse. The estimate of the dead in Syria then was 100,000. We did not intervene and now more than 200,000 are dead.
I support the UK in the military coalition in Iraq. However, only by recognising that the situation in Syria led to the success of IS in Iraq will the international community find ways to deal with both situations.