The question then remains of whether it will be effective. As the debate has gone on, many noble Lords have concentrated on the likely effectiveness of this intervention. “Effective for what?” would be my question. “Effective where?” would be a second question, and “Effective with whom?” a third. We are told that it will be effective for the degradation of ISIL, which is taken to mean the degradation of its weapons, supplies and infrastructure at present in Iraq, and not beyond. However, ultimately, as many noble Lords have said, this is about hearts and minds. Bombing looks very different, depending on the position that one is in. My late brother, who served in the Parachute Regiment, once said to me that he thought there was a great difference between European and North American views of bombing, because when North Americans talked about bombing they were mainly thinking about being up there doing it, but when Europeans thought about bombing they were mainly thinking about being down here as it happened. That is a disjunction of perspectives that we need to take very seriously.

Bombing looks different depending on where you sit, and that has been acknowledged by many, but it is vanishingly unlikely that there will be no—as it is politely put—collateral damage. What effect does collateral damage have? Well, it is then open to interpretation by those who suffer, or who sympathise with the sufferers, as to whose fault it is. A couple of years ago I went to Kaliningrad, formerly Königsberg, on the Baltic, part of Russia but of course separated from the rest of it. In 1944, when the Red Army was advancing and the RAF gave air support, Königsberg was devastatingly damaged. When I was there in 2012, many people said, “Ah yes, the RAF destroyed the city and the Red Army liberated us”. History had forgotten that the RAF acted in support of the Red Army. They were on the same side, and it was the Nazi occupiers who were being attacked. We have to think very carefully about this perspective. Who will get the blame when hard things happen—as they will?

There is one note of hope. This country, and this coalition Government, have taken a very determined stand—I declare an interest as chair of the Equality and Human Rights Commission—on doing something about violence against women and girls. Let us note that ISIL has a real specialism in doing dire things to women and girls. Let us hope that the Government will think about mobilising the many different groups in civil society in our country which are committed to ending that so that they will add and extend that commitment to think about the women and girls in Iraq, Nigeria and elsewhere who are so often and disproportionately the victims of this war.

2.52 pm

Lord Trimble (Con): My Lords, I start by reinforcing the final point made by the noble Baroness; that is a hugely important issue, which I hope we will be able to follow up. One of the pleasures of speaking so late in a

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debate is that so much has already been said that I can just tick off who I agree with, and I have a little list to go through in that respect.

I thank the Minister for her opening speech; it was cool and comprehensive, and I found myself completely in agreement with it. The only snag was that there was a little hole in the speech called Syria and what we do when inevitably the actions that are going to be taken in Iraq, if they have any success, involve having to go to the source of the problem, which, as far as ISIL or ISIS is concerned, is in Syria. Inevitably that issue will have to come.

On that point, I agree with what my noble friend Lord Hurd has said about House of Commons votes. It will be ridiculous if the tactical situation on the ground is that we are getting close to the Syrian border but we then have to stop in order to have a meeting of Parliament at which to pass a resolution on the matter. We are getting to the point where tactics, not strategy, may be interfered with by politicians, which is not a good idea—the noble Lord again made that point. We must trust the military and leave it to it. In that respect, we need to step back a bit.

I find myself also in complete agreement with the noble Lord, Lord Carlile, in his excellent speech. I particularly enjoyed his comment at the end about ensuring that, with regard to the operation of our forces, there is a limit to political and juridical interference. I thought that that struck a particular nail on the head. I wish that I had heard similar sentiments from other members of our coalition partners, but maybe towards the end of this debate something else sensible will come from the Benches to my right.

A lot of the discussion concerned who we will deal with, talk to and make alliances with. This issue and the related issue of what to do with bodies that are involved in terrorist activity are questions not of whether we should talk, but of what the context is in which we talk, and whether we talk as part of a coherent political strategy, with a cold eye as to what the possibilities are and what the characters of the people we are talking to are.

I heard people suggest that we should turn to Russia. What on earth makes people think that Russia under Putin, subject to the sanctions we manage to impose upon it, will suddenly come and help us? I do not think there is much prospect of that happening. Iran has at least two faces. Rouhani presents a slightly reasonable face and looks as though he might be helpful in some respects, but the Revolutionary Guard bears a heavy responsibility for the present situation. To say it largely controls the situation may be overstating it, but it certainly had a very strong influence over Maliki. Although Maliki has gone, the militia groups that the Revolutionary Guard runs are still there and will still be a huge problem. We need to be careful about that.

Regarding cosying up to Assad, I noted what my noble friend Lord Howard said about what kind of a country we would be if we did not step up to the plate on this. What sort of country would we be if we started getting close to a person like that? We have to draw some limits.

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Finally, I will mention two things. Turkey and Egypt are hugely important, especially Turkey. I hope we can get a view from the Front Bench this evening as to what Turkey is likely to do: it cannot stay on the sidelines much longer. We should also remember, when we discuss what should or might happen in the future, that unfortunately the enemy also has a vote.

2.57 pm

Lord Haskel (Lab): My Lords, I am reluctant that we should join the air strikes over Iraq because history tells us that it is pointless in the medium term. It is pointless because, as one terrorist organisation is weakened or destroyed in the Middle East, another takes its place, often more radical than the last. After the PLO left Lebanon we got Hezbollah, al-Qaeda spawned ISIS, Gaddafi was replaced by a failed state. Perhaps it is better to try containment and not have ISIS replaced by something worse.

Promoting religion through violence is a terrifying and terrible phenomenon—and yes, we helped create the anarchy that enabled ISIS to commit its atrocities. Ignoring this would also be an atrocity. Perhaps that is the human reason why we should help. I agree with the Prime Minister that we should not be frozen by fear, but neither should we ignore recent history. Will bombing work? Recent history says it will not. Will the limited and clear objective of degrading ISIS, as laid out by the Leader of the House in her speech, prevent it from becoming something even more terrible? Recent history says that it will not. Only a few weeks ago we were tempted to put so-called moderate rebels in power in Syria.

Is it worth while putting our Armed Forces at risk? The threat is real, but it is coming not only from Iraq. ISIS has supporters throughout the Middle East, supporters who are shadowy and mobile. Some are our fellow citizens. It is no use bombing its communication centres; it shares ours. Its equipment is not stored in army camps; it is in civilian homes and institutions. Will bombing stop its funding and trading in oil? With its main bases outside Iraq, probably not, so it is easy to imagine another successor organisation taking over where ISIS leaves off. Thanks to its social and economic efforts, supplying food and medical care, paying salaries and generous pay to fighters, ISIS has dependent supporters. They are reluctant perhaps, but saying that we are coming to their rescue makes us sound a little like President Putin, and all this aid will have to be replaced when ISIS goes, as other noble Lords have said.

Again, as many noble Lords have said, success is not just military destruction; success is also creating the political will on the ground to confront ISIS—to dismantle it and to ensure that there is no successor by having a better story, as the most reverend Primate put it. Despite the Leader’s assurances, I am not convinced that our mission can achieve this. Recent history tells us that, until now, it has been impossible to separate the military and the political objectives without being dragged in further and without creating an even worse successor. This is why I remain sceptical but resigned.

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3.01 pm

Baroness Uddin (Non-Afl): My Lords, the strength of feeling across our nation in response to the kidnapping of, and murder threat to, aid worker Alan Henning and the brutal methods adopted by the ISIL militants have been nowhere more evident than in the actions of hundreds of imams and Muslim community leaders and ordinary British Muslim citizens over the last week, who have come together in print and on social networks to express their disgust and condemnation at the brutality of ISIL. The Not In Our Name campaign has pointedly denounced the horror and revulsion felt by most to the senseless murder of hostages, saying that the lunatics should not be allowed to hijack our faith. I share the view that the brutal actions of the zealots and fundamentalist militants within the so-called Islamic State, which has nothing to do with Islam or a state, must be condemned and resisted, but it has to be co-ordinated by universal consensus if we must take any action, especially given that military action is mandated. The drumbeat of war has been far too quickly accelerated over the last few weeks without thorough reference to the aftermath, made the more urgent due to concerns over the impending fate of hostages, including our own Alan Henning.

I should particularly like to caution my noble friends about the dangers of, as former MI6 chief Richard Barrett put it, over-exaggerating the threat and, to echo the sentiments of the noble Lord, Lord Ashdown, the dangers of alienating swathes of the Muslim community within our country by the thoughtless use of jingoistic rhetoric promoting the defence of western values, combined with the proposed regressive introduction of knee-jerk counterterrorism legislation and raids. Before we adopt the “You’re either with us or against us” rhetoric of the former US President, we should recognise that more often than not it is Muslim blood that is being spilt on the ground in this brutal field of conflict and that Muslims have as much as, if not more of, a stake in protecting the rich values of liberty, equality, fraternity and freedom, which some would like to argue are values exclusive to us here in the West. The values that we must protect are universal ones. We should not allow the fundamentalist zealots to divide us on either side of this debate.

I find it worrying that our Government are so easily able to find the harsh language of condemnation on this occasion and yet have felt unable to condemn the brutal killings that took place at the hands of the Israeli military only last month and which cost the lives of 2,000 Muslim women, children and men. The Government were unable to utter even the word “disproportionate” when describing the meaningless slaughter and devastation, despite unequivocal condemnation and accusations of war crimes from the United Nations. I am mindful of the heartfelt concerns expressed by the noble Baroness, Lady Warsi, as she took the bold step of resigning from the Government, stating that the Government’s position on the crisis in Gaza was morally indefensible.

I was at a meeting with a number of my parliamentary colleagues yesterday with about 700, or maybe even 1,000, young men and women, mostly Muslim, who were there to encourage participation in public life. The overwhelming consensus, apart from three or four

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individuals, was that the military strikes in Iraq are a rehash of failed tactics. Lest we forget, the result of the 2003 Iraq conflict was 500,000 mostly innocent lives lost. A country devastated and divided was the result of our decision to take action with the US and other allies of the time. No matter how much we choose to ignore these facts, the sectarianism and regional division that now prevails is without doubt, at least in part, the result of our actions back then, which we pursued in spite of the opposition shown by millions of ordinary British citizens. The question therefore arises whether we are now making the same error of judgment, just as our troops have barely left the conflict area of Afghanistan.

I urge noble Lords and our Government to ensure that what we are about to embark upon includes a comprehensive package of engagement. A long-term commitment is required to protect our values, and that protection can come only if we commence dialogue with other parties and ensure that my noble friend Lord Reid’s suggestions of a long-term grand plan of peace is enforced.

3.07 pm

Lord Howe of Aberavon (Con): My Lords, one feature emerges throughout today’s debate: that nobody lightly entertains the prospect of going to war, especially in a potentially open-ended conflict of the sort that may now conceivably be before us. Nobody can be relaxed when the enemy is less a conventional state, whose dimensions and contours we know, than a complex, fast-moving and hydra-headed “network of death”. President Obama described ISIS in those words at the UN General Assembly last week—operating, as ISIS does, in the deserts of the Middle East, far away from these shores.

Many in this country—and no fewer in the White House and throughout the West—have grown tired of the foreign wars and engagements. In the United States, President Obama was elected in part to disengage America and shift it away from a “perpetual war footing”, as he put it. Now the White House has issued an unequivocal call to arms. How should we respond as a nation and as a still-united kingdom? How should we respond as a European nation, a Commonwealth nation, with our allies and partners on the continent?

Let us not, by the way, underestimate the importance of the referendum north of the border a few days ago, reaffirming decisively the United Kingdom for what it is: a reconciliation of the blue and white flag and the red and white flag, with the benevolence of the Welsh red dragon. The union jack represents the United Kingdom and has a wider representation around the world: it is to be found for example in Australia, New Zealand, Canada, British Columbia and Nova Scotia. I emphasise the importance of how we should respond as a nation—a still-united kingdom—but how should we respond as a European nation as well as a Commonwealth nation with our allies and partners on the continent?

Several of us on these Benches and in other parts of the House had serious reservations about the previous deployment of allied troops in Iraq to displace Saddam

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Hussein and about whether it made sense to intervene in Syria last year. Now, however, the President of the United States, after a long period of reflection, has concluded that the collective interests of the West lie in confronting ISIS decisively and early on, and in seeking to build a broadly based coalition to do so, including partners in the region itself. I therefore have no difficulty in supporting the position both of the United States Administration and of Her Majesty’s Government, while fully acknowledging the risk that this struggle will be neither easy nor short.

The extreme ambitions and actions of ISIS are clearly deeply hostile both to our interests and to the notions of democracy and the rule of law on which our systems are based. The ISIS philosophy also contradicts any reasonable understanding of Islam. It is designed to sharpen divisions and exacerbate conflicts, to eliminate moderation and to undermine all those working for mutual understanding between peoples and nations. The ISIS philosophy is an absolutist and expansionist creed that, unchallenged, breeds, first, tremendous regional instability, then regional chaos, and then leads possibly to regional domination. A much bigger confrontation might easily follow.

Perhaps I may refer back further for a moment. Rather like in the debates about appeasement in the 1930s, it is better to talk about the problem clearly and honestly now, and face up to some difficult questions and decisions while one can still do something about them, than to wait so long that the enemy concludes that we are weak, divided and unwilling to react. The President of the United States and our own Prime Minister have both countenanced the possibility of a generational struggle, one that will not only occupy this generation but shape the world of the next generation too. We should reflect on these words very carefully. It is therefore with very little joy but with strong conviction that I conclude that we should support the Government and their many allies in the difficult and important task that lies ahead.

3.12 pm

Viscount Hanworth (Lab): My Lords, 75 years ago, Britain faced up to an evil that was threatening to dominate Europe. Now we are facing an evil of a similar dimension that is afflicting the Middle East. We are reluctant to face up to it, but we must do so. I am sure that, together with our allies, we will have the power to defeat this evil. If it becomes necessary or even advantageous to commit troops to the region, I believe that we should not hesitate to do so. Our forces would need to engage the enemy wherever they might be found.

Seventy-five years ago, the threat was an external one. Those who had sympathised with the fascist ideology had been effectively sidelined and neutralised. Today, the circumstances are different. The jihadist movement has attracted a substantial number of British citizens. At least 500 have joined the movement in Syria and Iraq, and there may be three times that number. It is vital that we should understand the attractions of the ideology and that we should find ways of neutralising it. However, some of the measures that have been proposed of late would surely exacerbate the problem.

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It has been proposed by the Prime Minister that British citizens who have travelled to Iraq and Syria to support the jihadist cause should be prevented from returning to this country and that their passports should be confiscated, thereby rendering them stateless. An obvious objection to such a measure is that it would conflict with international law. There are other objections that ought to be considered. There would be a danger of creating a body of stateless persons who would be bound to sustain themselves by acts of terrorism. They would become a global menace. There is also a domestic danger. Many of the jihadists have British relatives who strongly oppose their brutal and alien cause. Nevertheless, these people would also become alienated from our culture if their relatives were summarily deprived of their rights of citizenship.

What should be done to the returning jihadists? The answer is that we should handle them carefully and with discrimination. We should endeavour to distinguish between those who are dangerous to us and those who have been temporarily misled. To achieve that, we need to deploy adequate and appropriate resources within the border agency and elsewhere. The returning jihadists would be thoroughly vetted and debriefed. If they have been only weakly complicit in the activities of insurgents, they should be exonerated. However, if they have committed atrocities, they should be charged with war crimes. In short, they should be treated in much the same manner as the citizens of the defeated German nation were treated at the end of the Second World War.

3.15 pm

Lord Paddick (LD): My Lords, when I was the police spokesman following the bombings on 7 July 2005, I was asked by a journalist whether the attack was the result of “Islamic terrorism”. I had expected the question and had carefully considered what my answer would be. I said, “As far as I’m concerned, the term ‘Islamic terrorism’ is a contradiction in terms”. As the noble Baronesses, Lady Symons of Vernham Dean and Lady Uddin, have already commented, the term “Islamic State” in the context of the terrorist organisation that this nation, in a coalition of many other nations, is trying to combat is a dangerous term to use. It gives a wholly false impression of Islam.

Yes, action needs to be taken against so-called ISIL, but let us not be lulled into a false sense of security because we are contemplating only air strikes and not military “boots on the ground”. Our brave men and women in the armed services may be safer as a consequence, but the threat to the UK and its citizens from so-called ISIL as a result of the decision this Parliament will take today will vary little, whether the military boots are on the ground or the action is restricted to the air. As the noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, and other noble Lords have said, this is a very serious issue with very serious consequences. As my noble friend Lord Alderdice said, there is a real danger of unintended negative consequences of military intervention, both in the Middle East and here in the UK. That we are not simply part of bilateral action with the Americans is reassuring, but we need to do more. We need to explain in the clearest possible terms that we would

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engage with any barbaric, murderous regime of this nature, no matter what religion it hijacked and distorted in a perverted attempt to justify its actions.

In my professional experience as a police officer, the overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country are law-abiding and peace-loving. Britain is a better and safer place for having strong Muslim communities. The overwhelming majority of Muslims in this country want nothing more than to live in peace and harmony with those who do not share their faith, as well as with those who do. We must do everything we can to ensure that the barbaric actions of a foreign terrorist organisation, foreign to us and to Islam, do not taint the reputation of Muslims in this country. As my noble friends Lord Carlile of Berriew and Lady Hamwee have said, by supporting and working with the Muslim communities in this country we will prevent this barbaric organisation carrying out atrocities here.

3.19 pm

The Earl of Sandwich (CB): My Lords, I wonder whether we are inflating ISIS a little in this erudite debate. I suspect that most MPs today are voting in the dark, because the enemy remains obscure. On the published maps, ISIS is mainly represented in long lines and blotches rather than in territorial space. Its success reminds me more of the conjuror impressing an audience than of a power capable of covering wide frontiers. But I do not doubt that we are dealing with a murderous operation, which has to be confronted. There has to be an international response and we must welcome the unanimity of UNSC Resolution 2178 on violent extremism and prohibition on foreign fighters. Even so, we must all have some doubts about the effectiveness of an intervention in the long run. The noble Lord, Lord Browne, referred to owning the consequences.

Air strikes can have only limited impact—the one-off destruction of known enemy targets such as arms dumps and command centres. They have to be away from populations but there will always be civilian casualties. There will be a lot of civilians who, while unsympathetic to ISIS, will not see the US on any mercy mission either. Air strikes may contain and punish but, as has been said repeatedly, they cannot solve the problems of hearts and minds and will harden the feelings of many ordinary citizens. Here I warmly endorse the wise words of the right reverent Prelate the Bishop of Derby. In the long run, only troops from Iraq itself, Shia and Sunni and the hard-pressed Kurdish Peshmerga, reinforced by Arab or other neighbours, can influence their own people and push back the terrorists occupying their land.

We all remember the short-term success of allied strikes in Libya. We can all recall the excitement of air power over Kabul. But those days seem far behind us and we are still learning the lessons. We forget that so often we are dealing on the ground with family clans and tribal leaders, and so-called non-state actors, as well as with an often divided and ineffectual central government, such as we still have in Iraq. Bargains have to be made—in this case, with the Sunni leaders. Many of the Sunnis behind this present outrage surely must be remembering the dismantling of their world

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by Mr Bush and our own Government a decade ago. I heard what the noble Baroness, Lady Ramsay, said, but we should admit that that was a strategic mistake for which we are all paying a price. There is no point now in just preaching the rule of law and democracy in a vacuum occupied by criminals and dressed up as Sharia. Islam condemns the so-called Islamic State and anyone associated with it.

I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Williams, that the UN could be doing more to attract international support on a wider front and it should provide a platform for other countries, such as Iran. We should not expect any thaw in US-Iranian relations, but there will be more opportunities for diplomatic dialogue and the UK may be better placed to take them up than the US. “Let the time mature” was the phrase used by President Rouhani on CBS this week. Syria is a different issue, but clearly President Assad has had a new smile on his face this week, anticipating some quiet understanding, if not practical co-operation, with the United States.

Finally, we must applaud again the hospitality shown by Turkey and others to the thousands of refugees still within their borders. We commend the aid agencies—Christian Aid and others—which are actively helping families. Like the late David Haines, the lives of many aid workers are also threatened by ISIS. Their courage must be applauded and rewarded where possible with proper protection. This will be another long campaign.

3.23 pm

Lord Rooker (Lab): My Lords, I support the Government. I have heard every speech in your Lordships’ House today and have had the advantage of listening to and watching the whole of the Prime Minister’s speech. I have to say that he has shown exemplary parliamentary and national leadership on this issue. Unlike in 2003, it is crystal clear for all to see that there is a problem that has to be dealt with by the use of force. We are right, even at a late stage, to join other nations, and the more the better.

It looks like a regional problem and these problems are best dealt with by regional nations, but in reality it is international. Because of that, force cannot be the only ingredient to a solution. Different nations have different agendas for the future, but the threat to all is so great that we should use our best endeavours to work together at this time. It seems to me crucial that Iran, and indeed Russia, should be welcomed to play a major role and not be shunted to the sidelines, as Secretary of State Kerry indicated a few weeks ago in the case of Iran. Yes, there is a need to talk to the Syrian Government. Some may not think that they are a legal Government, but they are still there.

The burden on the neighbouring countries of the millions of refugees cannot begin to be comprehended as we sit and watch events unfold from the comfort of our homes. The opportunities for IS of destabilising more nations grows daily as the refugee flow continues. This is in no nation’s interest.

There has to be an end plan. It is now clearer than ever that having no plan post 2003 was a major error of leadership and judgment by the then war leaders. I was a member of the Government at the time and I

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supported the Government at the time. The Iraqi army—where is it? Can we be convinced that it can be rebuilt again so that it is sustainable to defend the country?

I do not think that we have to defend existing borders at this time. This is about defending peoples. As such, if we are to reach a settlement, some boundaries may need to be redrawn by the nations themselves and we should support them. The Kurds are playing a very substantial role and it is the case—or I hope that it is the case—that Turkey, Iran and Iraq may see the benefit to themselves of having a more unified area for the Kurds.

There will, of course, be problems in this enterprise and very serious issues, especially relating to hostages, now and in the future. There is heavy weaponry in the hands of ISIS. It might down aircraft. We have to think about that. This brings me to my final point, where in some ways I part with the leadership on my side. It is never too late to avoid making a bad decision. I believe that we put our own pilots at greater risk in the efforts that they will be undertaking by stopping at the Iraq-Syrian border. There is legal opinion, and reference to that has been made in the House today, that a UN resolution is not required to go after ISIS in Syria. In any event, the veto will be used if it looks like a step too far. We should not, therefore, hide behind the Russian veto. Russia clearly feels badly let down about the misuse of the UN resolution in the case of Libya. Surely we can accommodate Russia on this issue. The governance positions of Iraq and Syria are different, but ISIS is in both countries.

I support the Government, as I said. I wish our service men and women every success as they enter battle and I ask those involved to think hard about the end plan, which unfortunately appears to exclude Syria.

3.27 pm

The Lord Bishop of Coventry: My Lords, the noble and learned Lord, Lord Howe of Aberavon, referred your Lordships’ House a few moments ago to the parallel in the 1930s and 1940s in Europe. I should like to draw on one figure from that period who I found helpful in thinking about the matters before us. Dietrich Bonhoeffer said that when a madman came down the street swinging an axe it was our duty to not just apply plasters to the injured but to stop the madman with whatever means were expedient.

The Government are seeking to join with others to stop the madman swinging the axe of cruelty, and we agree that stopped he must be. The question is: what are the expedient means for doing so? In facing that dilemma, I have four areas of questions for the Government, which reinforce some of those that have already been asked. First, is the Government’s objective of crushing and destroying ISIS and its ideology a reasonable one? Will we be any more successful in destroying ISIS than we have been in crushing al-Qaeda? Can an ideology ever be wiped out? I agree with the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, that we should seek a more achievable military objective. It should be focused on binding the madman’s arms so that his powers may be disarmed by dismantling the ideology by which he thrives and by the more powerful weapons of truth,

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justice and compassion, to which those more senior than me have referred. The noble Lord, Lord Alton, made it clear that one cannot bomb an ideology.

Secondly, as other noble Lords have noted—most clearly the noble Baroness, Lady Morris—one of the weapons that will degrade the ideology of ISIS is the building of an inclusive and functional Iraqi Government. As the United Nations Secretary-General said earlier this week:

“Missiles may kill terrorists, but good governance kills terrorism”.

What more can the Minister tell us about Her Majesty’s Government’s efforts to achieve that end?

Thirdly, if the Prime Minister is right that this is a generational struggle, how can we ensure that the mission does not creep beyond that which is right? In trying to stop the madman, how are we to stop ourselves from being caught up in the sort of escalation of violence that causes us to be seen, as we have been seen all too often in the past, as madmen swinging our own axes for our own ends rather than seeking to save lives, most of them Muslim, as the noble Lord, Lord Desai, said? How, in the heat of a long battle, will we assess whether our cause and intention remain justifiable, our objectives limited, and our means legal and proportionate, and that they do not destroy the lives of non-combatants? How do we ensure that we do not defeat cruelty with cruelty?

Fourthly, given the transnational character of ISIS, its stronghold in Syria and the complexities of military involvement in Syria, what is the Government’s assessment of the present convergence of interests against ISIS? Does the Minister agree that we may have a temporary window of opportunity to reinvigorate international efforts for a political resolution of the underlying crisis in Syria?

I end with a comment from Coventry’s history; a city that another madman slashed to the ground with terrifying force in 1940. A voice from the wilderness of Coventry’s devastated cathedral cried, “Father forgive!”—not just forgive them but forgive us all. It was a shocking confession of the complicity that we all bear in the history of the alienation and anger between peoples and nations that give the madman the energy that fuels his violence. If our Government believe that they are justified in using violence to stop violence, let them never, and let us never, put our trust in chariots and horses to resolve the deep problems that the world faces today. If they have a part to play, it is simply to position us to work for the things that make for peace.

3.32 pm

Baroness Neville-Jones (Con): My Lords, I agree with the cautionary words that we just heard.

I support the Government’s proposal that the UK should join other allies in taking direct military action from the air against the self-proclaimed Islamic State in Iraq. This is not a state in any accepted sense of the word, but a group of murderous thugs terrorising the area they control. They are enemies of the inhabitants of Iraq, a threat to the authority and stability of countries in the region and a terrorist threat to this country and many of our allies.

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Today, we are not discussing the possible action in Syrian airspace. The presence in Iraq of ISIL, however, clearly demonstrates that the threat to Iraqi security from the uncontrolled situation in Syria, from whence these people come, is a factor in the situation. I do not think that there are serious legal obstacles in the way of legitimate military action in the air over Syria without a UN resolution. That is not necessary and I agree with those who argue that to compartmentalise our assistance to only part of the problem, and not reach its core, does not make total sense.

In our history in the UK, we have normally sought to respond to action against so clear a threat to our country. We have not outsourced the defence of our interests to third countries and we should not do so now. The urgent task is obviously to contain and then reduce the area to which the terrorists lay claim and then degrade their control over it so that local forces can retake the ground. We have the capability, both in aircraft and in Special Forces, that is needed to make the air campaign a success. We can assist, including with training and lethal weaponry, the local forces on the ground.

The legal base for action exists in the clear request of the Government in Baghdad for assistance. Their spokesmen have made clear that this includes the UK. I understand why the Government have not taken action until now but they should delay no longer. The strictly military risk to our Armed Forces looks acceptable. The potentially increased security risk to this country must be factored into the measures taken by the Government to protect us.

I welcome the increasingly clear and unambiguous rejection by the vast majority of British Muslims of the perverted ideology of ISIL. More effort and resource devoted to Prevent is part of what the Government should do, and they need to accompany this action with the strategy being pursued abroad. The noble Viscount, Lord Hanworth, who is no longer in his seat, made some important points about the management of jihadists when they attempt to return to this country. However, although removing passports is a sensible measure, it does not render people stateless.

It has been well pointed out that humanitarian action has to accompany the strategy, as does a proper political position on our part. It needs to be regional as well as related to Iraq. We are fully engaged in the humanitarian effort. As to the political situation, much hangs on the future inclusivity and performance of the Government in Baghdad. A political settlement between the people of that country is an indispensable component of success. Wider regional stability also depends on the willingness of countries such as Saudi Arabia to pursue policies that unambiguously increase rather than undermine the social and political stability of their neighbours. Western allies can help and I welcome the Prime Minister’s discussion with President Rouhani three days ago, which I hope will be a first step towards a successful strategic stability in the Middle East.

3.37 pm

Lord Stone of Blackheath (Lab): My Lords, in medicine, as the noble Lord, Lord Sterling, pointed out, removing a localised, potentially lethal growth

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surgically will be good for the body only if, alongside that, the whole organism is nourished and cared for with love so that it recovers after the operation. We know from our own history that vicious tyranny in our own darker times was ended over a long period, not by interference from outside but the will of the people in the region.

My point is that surgical air strikes from outside alone will not work in the long term for the people we wish to help in the region. There needs to be, alongside the military strategy, a political, economic and social plan for the region, creating jobs and extending education, involving the key players and listening mindfully to all the people in that whole region. What do they want? By the whole region I mean both in the south, including north Africa and the Middle East, and all the way up to the north, including Syria and Iraq.

We know that within this region the kingdom of Saudi Arabia and the Islamic Republic of Iran have huge influence and, were they each to play a positive role for the people there, this would make a huge difference. So here, in three minutes, I will suggest two grand initiatives, alongside the proposed intervention, to settle the whole region within a year. The first in the south is an example of what happens after air strikes. I have been privileged to be in discussions over these past few months while I have been in Israel, the Palestinian Territories and Egypt. They have been developing a regional plan to end the war there in talks involving Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine and Israel, whereby the first four of those—the local Arab countries—agree to demilitarise Gaza, with the promise of, say, $50 billion from donors to reconstruct and heal the strip for the benefit of all the people there, and to link this with projects in the West Bank. Israel then feels safe, and Gaza is therefore able to have a sea port, airport and open access. Then the Arab peace initiative, first proposed by King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia, becomes a real basis for Israel to be recognised by 22 Arab countries, including Palestine; and for Israel to recognise Palestine.

Egypt is key in all this, as the noble Lord, Lord Marlesford, described so well. President al-Sisi’s positive statement to the UN Security Council this week shows that it has an appetite to play a bigger role. Saudi Arabia is having a donor conference at which it hopes to raise $100 billion for Egypt. If it can follow it through a safe and secure mechanism, perhaps the Middle East Centre for Civic Involvement, MECCI—which I have earlier described in your Lordships’ House—could ensure that the funds for Egypt go into projects that will help its people. In the short and medium term, they could gain employment and training while, in the long term, they form institutions and infrastructure for the benefit of all Egyptian people.

The second project I suggest is focused on the north of the region and is about Iran. Yes, we must be firm with Iran on the nuclear question, but being firm does not mean ostracising it. America, France, Germany and others, at the same time as talking tough and negotiating hard, are now discussing and planning in Iran the type of constructive business and trade that could be done were Iran to comply with the requests made of its nuclear programme. Again, with the wise counsel of the noble Lord, Lord Alliance, together

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with a senior Iranian Ayatollah, we are in discussions with great, skilful, innovative companies here in the UK, which could be doing business with Iran and helping its people to be involved in the long-term growth and development of their own country and the region. I propose that we at least make a scoping trade visit to Iran this year, and work with it as partners in trade so that it can also help resolve the ISIL issue.

On the first proposal, about Saudi Arabia and the regional solutions for the Middle East and north Africa, we should support the World Economic Forum and its MENA team, as we did with its Breaking the Impasse project on Israel and Palestine. They will be discussing this plan next month, and taking it forward in their annual event soon. On the second proposal, about Iran and trade, I am asking Her Majesty’s Government to help facilitate, without breaking any sanctions, an exploratory trade visit to Iran this year.

3.41 pm

Lord Singh of Wimbledon (CB): My Lords, Sikhism teaches that we should resort to the use of arms only when there is no other option to stop the killing of the weak and innocent. This situation has now been reached and we must give military support to the Iraqi Government in their fight against the brutal behaviour of the Islamic State.

However, we must be clear about our objectives, both short and long term, and, importantly, make these clear not just to the Government but to the people of Iraq and adjoining countries. Yes, there must be targeted air strikes, but air strikes alone are not enough. Parallel support for action on the ground will be needed to destroy ISIS.

However, at best this can only bring us back to the instability that followed the defeat of Saddam Hussein. The Middle East has for decades been one of the most unstable and fractured regions of the world, with national boundaries that split communities carved into countries by the West following the demise of the Ottoman Empire. For too long, initially Britain and France and more recently the United States and Russia have propped up one dubious dictator after another, turning a blind eye to brutal repression in return for trade and political advantage. It was not too long ago that I was invited to a reception at No. 10 for President Assad, who was being heralded as a torchbearer for peace and religious freedom in the Middle East. Today, the situation has been made worse by new players such as China looking for trade and strategic interest before human rights.

A paradigm shift to new criteria is needed, which must be honoured by those seeking our military support. They must pledge themselves to uphold freedom of religion and belief, gender equality and protection of minorities as a condition of our support. These rights must trump all considerations of trade and supposed strategic advantage in the cradle of civilisation and in the rest of the world.

3.45 pm

Lord Pearson of Rannoch (UKIP): My Lords, I refer you to a short debate I held in Grand Committee on 19 November last, when I asked the Government to

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justify the Prime Minister’s statement after the murder of Drummer Rigby that there is nothing in Islam which justifies acts of violence. I will not repeat what I said then, given our time constraint, but mention it as background to these few words.

We are now met to consider military action against the self-styled Islamic State, which has surfaced since that debate, and I support such action; but I fear that military action alone—and even victorious boots on the ground—will not be able to contain the resurgence of jihadist Islam on our planet. I suggest that we have to look deeper and accept that there are many verses in the later Koran and in the later actions and sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, which Muslims are instructed to follow, which justify acts of violence.

Islam has the problem of the Muslim tenet of abrogation, which holds that where there is contradiction in the Koran, the later texts outweigh the earlier. I cited two of those verses on 19 November but have time for only one today. Surah 9.29 reads like this:

“Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture—[fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled”.

That means a tax on non-Muslims.

There are many other such verses which are being enforced by ISIS, the Taliban, al-Qaeda, al-Shabaab, Hamas, Hezbollah, Boko Haram, and wherever the sharia penal code is strictly enforced.

It does not help to point out that the Bible and other ancient religious texts have similarly violent passages. Jehovah did indeed smite the uncircumcised quite a bit in the Old Testament, but there is nothing of that in the New Testament, from which Christianity takes its inspiration. Jesus said:

“Love thy neighbour as thyself”,

and, “Do unto others as you would they should do unto you”. His instruction was universal. He was not talking just about relations between Christians, whereas I understand that the verses of peace in the Koran may refer largely to relations between Muslims. Of course, modern Jews do not act out the gruesome instructions of Leviticus and Exodus, so the comparison with the Old Testament does not help.

As I said on 19 November, Christianity has still been the volcano through which much evil has erupted over the centuries, but that is no longer happening. Today, it appears that the collective darkness of our humanity has moved largely into the violent end of Islam, where only peaceful Islam can resist it theologically and defeat it at its roots. As the noble Baroness the Lord Privy Seal said in her opening remarks, we must support our Muslim friends as they try to reclaim their religion—I would add, particularly in this country.

I repeat a question I put to the Government on 19 November, to which I did not get a reply: as our jihadists are such a tiny minority who misinterpret the Koran and the holy texts, why does the great majority of Muslims not do more to stand up against them? For instance, could not the Government encourage our Muslim leaders in this country to call a great council to issue a fatwa against our jihadists, casting

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them out of Islam? Dozens of our imams wrote to the


newspaper on 17 September invoking Islam for the release of Alan Henning. Could they not form the nucleus of such a council? It would also need to address the violent verses in the Koran to which I have referred. One suggestion is that they should be declared to refer to the internal struggle between good and evil within each one of us, while true Islam flows only from the verses of peace.

Perhaps such a new explanation of Islam might also help to meet the point made by the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury—that our young Muslims need a much better vision for their lives—with which, I am sure, all your Lordships agree.

I look forward to the Government’s reply.

3.49 pm

Lord Howell of Guildford (Con): My Lords, I am not sure whether I am supposed to sum up the Tory view or just be tail-end Charlie; I suspect, the latter. It is fairly obvious that there is broad, cautious support in your Lordships’ House—with reservations and one or two voices of dissent—for the Government’s contribution to this challenge and for the efforts of President Obama, the Prime Minister and other leaders to build up a colossal coalition. I would add, right at the end, one additional thought, which has been echoed by some of your Lordships: it is essential that this operation should not be seen as yet another western intervention in the labyrinth and quagmire of the Middle East. The revolting and vile ISIL is in fact a challenge to all responsible states throughout the planet—certainly all the great Muslim states and states with big Muslim minorities.

My central plea would be that this is seen not just as western but as regional, obviously very much with the support of the Iraqis who have asked us in; the Kurds; Jordan; the Saudis, who have a major role to play, and perhaps should be more forward; the GCC states that are already involved, such as the UAE; and Turkey, which must decide how to develop its support. The Middle East is bristling with the best and most advanced weapons and vast manpower resources all around. Those countries are threatened even more directly than we are, and they should now show commitment. My noble friend Lord Marlesford also mentioned Egypt, with its colossal army—one-quarter of the entire Arab world. It should clearly play a part. Iran, as we know, is bound to be two-faced, but nevertheless it must reckon where its interests are, and if it has a part to play then it should play it.

Beyond that, the issue is not just regional. As I think the noble Lords, Lord Rooker and Lord Reid, both said, this is a global issue. The Prime Minister rightly said that all should be united, and all should mean all. What about the great states of the world that now claim to be leading as the centre of gravity shifts from west to east? What about India, with 2 million men under arms and the highest degree of equipment? What about the Chinese, who claim that they want to be a leading nation in the world? They have a responsibility; they have a huge Muslim minority and a direct interest in seeing that the doctrines, murders and mayhem of ISIL do not prevail. What about

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Japan? Shinzo Abe says that he wants Japan to be a responsible nation, organising and supporting world stability. Where is its voice in this? The Japanese should come forward. How nice it would be if even Russia, which has plenty to lose with the dangers of ISIL, were involved, but obviously for the moment, until it comes to its senses on Ukraine, it cannot. Pakistan is already involved in defending Saudi Arabia’s borders.

ISIL is a threat to all of us. It is a threat to the borders and the stability of the entire responsible world. Air strikes are of course limited, as noble Lords have rightly said, but there is a whole range of measures against communications, finances and oil that can all be devastating in crushing these murderous gangs. My plea would be: not just the West, with no more assumption that the West is the hegemon and the world’s policeman. It is not any more, and the continued belief that it is will be very misguided and lead to much grief.

3.53 pm

Lord Bach (Lab): My Lords, the contributions to this debate have done justice to the seriousness of the matters before the House today. On behalf of the Opposition, I thank all noble Lords on all sides who have spoken. The House has benefited very much from speeches reflecting the enormous experience and knowledge, and of course the concern, that noble Lords bring to this debate. If one were to count the number of former Defence Secretaries, Foreign Secretaries, Lord Chancellors, Attorneys-General, other senior Ministers, Permanent Secretaries, ambassadors and other experts, it would add up to a very large number indeed. Last, but certainly not least, to have heard from the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury and his three colleagues on the Bishops’ Benches has also helped us immeasurably.

Given the very limited time available, I am sure that the House will forgive me if I do not acknowledge individually the contributions that we have heard today. I start with a word about ISIL itself. I agree very much with my noble friend Lady Symons that the expression “Islamic State” is completely unsatisfactory; indeed, the Secretary-General of the United Nations rightly observed earlier this week that it should more fittingly be called “Un-Islamic Non-State”. No religion on earth and no secular ideology can justify its barbarism.

We are not, and never will be, in conflict with Islam as a religion. Islam teaches peace and I know that many noble Lords feel proud, as I do, to live in a country where millions of our fellow British citizens of Muslim faith live their lives and play their part in our national life at all levels. We should never forget that there is a constant need to win hearts and minds. That has been a significant feature of this debate, which I am sure we will come back to. Comments have been made by many noble Lords about the Prevent programme. Indeed, to counter what the noble Lord, Lord Pearson of Rannoch, said just a few minutes ago, it is worth reminding the House what the British Muslim scholars and imams said about ISIL just a few days ago:

“They are perpetrating the worst crimes against humanity. This is not jihad—it is a war against all humanity”.

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Lord Pearson of Rannoch: My Lords, the noble Lord has misquoted me—

Lord Bach: No, I am not going to take the intervention.

ISIL’s modus operandi has been to attack minority groups—Christians, Yazidis, Turkmens, Shias, Kurds—on either side of the Syrian-Iraqi frontier. We heard today about the Kurds in northern Syria close to the Turkish border who have been made refugees. These are minorities that clearly cannot defend themselves and are often faced with a choice that is actually no choice—convert or die. Just to say it shows how completely unacceptable ISIL’s behaviour is and how it cannot remain unanswered.

However, even limited military intervention brings unforeseen and uncertain circumstances. If in a short while the other place supports the Motion before it, it will be supporting action to prevent at least the foreseeable and certain killings of Sunni, Shia, Kurdish, Christian and Yazidi Iraqis by ISIL, and this country will be supporting action that has broad support in the region and follows, as we have heard, a direct request from the democratically elected Government of Iraq.

I will repeat what the Opposition need to be satisfied of before supporting the Government’s proposal in another place: just cause; that the proposed action is a last resort; proportionality; a reasonable prospect of success; a legal base, of course; and broad regional support. On all those bases, we are happy to support the Government today but of course it is a mark of our freedoms and our democracy that the Opposition can and will continue to question, probe and scrutinise. We believe the Government have a duty in these circumstances to act in the national interest and it is the duty of the Opposition to support them when they are acting in the national interest, as they are in this case. I hope that in the time ahead—and I am sure that the Minister will be able to agree to this—the Government will ensure that the House is brought up to date at all times and that debates will be held where and when necessary.

The House will be united in its wholehearted support for the men and women of the Armed Forces who will take part in this perilous action with skill, courage and their characteristic devotion to duty—and, of course, our hearts should be with the families who they leave behind. As for ground troops, our view is that the Government are right to resist putting substantial combat forces back into Iraq. There does not seem to be much public or parliamentary support for such action. But, as importantly, it would undermine an essential point that needs to be made again and again to the Iraqi Government and their Sunni Arab neighbours—that this has to be their fight, if it is to be successful.

The fight against ISIL is, at its core, a struggle for the future of the Sunni world, so it is crucial that Sunni Governments have not only offered support but are participating in the multilateral mission. ISIL is too entrenched, well equipped and wealthy to be defeated by air power alone, and it can only be defeated on the ground with someone to replace it on the ground. Notwithstanding the very impressive capabilities of the Peshmerga, that will take time, given the current condition of the Iraqi army. Air strikes are essential to

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stem ISIL’s advance and degrade and destroy its operations and, at the very least, to contain it. However, we should be clear that these objectives of containment and disrupting and weakening ISIL must be in the service of creating the conditions for a new form of governance in Sunni Iraq. There must be an underpinning by a clear political strategy. The ultimate answer lies in local politics, not in external intervention.

The commencement to military action should not be a signal that the time for diplomacy is over. We have a duty to devise a comprehensive and effective political and diplomatic strategy for eliminating the threat of ISIL throughout the Middle East. So while today we have a clear legal, moral and political mandate to act to help to defeat ISIL in Iraq, we must also acknowledge that this mission brings with it unforeseen consequences and acknowledge that military action alone will not defeat ISIL. That is why the international community’s military response to the threat that ISIL poses is just one element of a long-term multinational political strategy in the region. As my noble friend Lord Foulkes said, it is necessary but not sufficient.

ISIL is a real and present danger, not just to the Middle East but to all of us. The world is too small for Britain to be able to just look the other way and say, “Well, this is really nothing to do with us”. This appalling mixture of medieval barbarism and state-of-the-art modern technology and finance has to be stood up to. Britain has to play its part in that enterprise. Force is not enough but, without it, does anyone seriously believe that ISIL can be contained, let alone defeated?

4.03 pm

The Advocate-General for Scotland (Lord Wallace of Tankerness) (LD): My Lords, I start by associating myself with the noble Lord, Lord Bach, in thanking all noble Lords who have taken part in this important debate. There is probably nothing more serious than inviting Parliament and your Lordships’ House to consider issues of substantial military action. The benefit of your Lordships’ House is that a huge reservoir of expertise can be brought to bear in debates such as these, as well as political, military, diplomatic and a wide range of community and civic knowledge and experience. It has been a very serious debate, and I am very grateful to all those who have taken part. As my noble friend Lord Alderdice said at the beginning, while the other place will take the actual decision on a Motion, your Lordships’ House can consider the wider questions and proffer constructive advice to Her Majesty’s Government. That is very much what we have seen.

I welcome the fact that, with only a few exceptions, there has been widespread support for the proposal that the Government are putting in their Motion in the House of Commons. That is very welcome, particularly if it is passed on to those who will go into operation, so that they know they do so with widespread backing from Parliament.

I do not want to elaborate on the sheer abhorrence and barbarity of ISIL because that has been said by many who have contributed to the debate. While in no way minimising or detracting from other expressions

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of that barbarity, important points were made by the noble Baronesses, Lady Symons of Vernham Dean and Lady O’Neill of Bengarve, about the particular venom and violence directed towards women. That puts very graphically the nature of those with whom we are dealing.

My noble friend Lord Alton asked about the International Criminal Court. My understanding is that any decision to refer those who perpetrate such barbarity to the International Criminal Court must be made on the basis of what would be the most effective means to bring the perpetrators of such atrocities to account. Iraq is not party to the ICC so any referral would need to be through the UN Security Council. However, I can assure the noble Lord that we will continue to look at every available option to ensure accountability and to work with our international partners on what can best be done to assist victims and bring those responsible to justice.

A number of noble Lords said that ISIL is not an enemy that can be negotiated with. While diplomacy has a major role to play in strengthening the regional alliances that are essential for the stability of the Middle East, no diplomatic deal can be done with ISIL. Left unchecked, it will continue its advances in the region and continue to intensify its fight against the West, including with attacks on European soil. We reach for military action not as the first port of call, but as a last resort. It is important to recognise, as the noble Lord, Lord Jay of Ewelme, said, that we do this with our eyes open. That was reflected by many who contributed to the debate. As the noble Lord, Lord Desai, said, this will take time. It would be very naive to assume, if there were to be air strikes this weekend, that it would all be finished by Christmas. We have to be realistic about this.

We also recognise that we are engaging in this not in isolation, but as part of a broader coalition, including the Arab states. It is a coalition that is in the service of the Iraqi Government. The targets of our air strikes will be carefully selected and with a clear aim: to help the legitimate authorities in Iraq to destroy ISIL. I cannot agree with the noble Lord, Lord Bilimoria, that we are somewhat late to the party. The United Kingdom Government have taken other actions. We have been very much at the fore of getting United Nations resolutions to try to cut off streams of funding to ISIL. During the recent NATO summit in Wales we were very much leading the discussions and considerations as to how we could build up coalitions.

The coalition is involved not only in military strikes, but in providing arms to Iraq and the KRG. It includes a wide range of countries—for time, I will not list them all. There are those that give other assistance, including humanitarian aid, or take action to tackle ISIL’s financing and foreign fighters. It is a coalition of 60 nations. Looking very specifically at how this is working, I am advised by my noble friend Lord Astor that one of the planes the UAE contributed to the military strike in Syria earlier this week had a female pilot. It is interesting that there are things that might have been thought unthinkable in how different interests and countries bring what they can to bear against ISIL.

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The noble Baroness, Lady Symons of Vernham Dean, asked about China. There was a UN Security Council resolution this week, which was not in any way opposed by China, that recognised the threat of terrorism from organisations, including ISIL.

The noble Lord, Lord Reid of Cardowan, was absolutely right when he said that we require a strategy that goes beyond military capability. If all we were bringing to the debate today was military action in the form of air strikes, I think we would be on weak ground. The noble Lord, Lord Hunt of Kings Heath, in opening for the Opposition, made a measured and constructive speech. He talked about the need not only for a military action but for one that is supported as part of a wider diplomatic and political humanitarian approach. That is very much what we believe is necessary here. The noble Lord, Lord Browne of Ladyton, said that military action must be part of a wider political strategy. And of course, as I have mentioned, diplomatic efforts are being made. I have already mentioned specifically what would be done in the United Nations to try to ensure that effective action will be taken to stem the financial flow to ISIL, but the political context in this case is very important as well.

A number of noble Lords mentioned the change of Government in Iraq from Mr al-Maliki’s Administration to the one with Mr al-Abadi. It is important to recognise that the new Government include appointments from the country’s main Shia, Sunni and Kurdish communities. My understanding is that when my right honourable friend the Prime Minister saw Mr al-Abadi in New York on Wednesday, he urged him to reach out to all communities, and notably to Iraqi Sunnis and Kurds. He has committed to reforms, including decentralising power, reforming and restructuring the security forces and improving relations with Iraq’s neighbours. He has announced a series of measures to reach out to the Sunni communities, including reform of the judiciary and security forces, and has already brought back into government some who opposed Mr al-Maliki’s divisiveness. That is an encouraging start, but I think everyone recognises that it is just that: a start. We must look to the new Iraqi Government as they deliver change and build trust so that they can unite against the threat they face. It would also be fair to say that no amount of military equipment or training can assist a military force that does not have political cohesion, a clear direction and a common purpose. I therefore believe strongly that a political settlement is a key part of the solution to this crisis.

Closely linked to that is a point that was expressed very well by my noble friend Lord Kirkwood of Kirkhope, who has experience, having been to the region. Part of this is building up an infrastructure. It is about water supplies, electricity supplies, health provision and education. It is important to recognise that the initial humanitarian response that was requested by the Iraqi Government earlier in the summer has resulted in an important contribution of life-saving aid being made. I take the point made by my noble friend about looking again at more specific humanitarian aid being directed towards Iraq, and I will ensure that it is brought to the attention of my right honourable friend the Secretary of State for International Development.

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For the wider area and Syria, the United Kingdom Government have allocated £329 million to partners providing humanitarian assistance. We have provided support to Lebanon and Jordan. One of the specific initiatives that I would like to draw to noble Lords’ attention is that more than 6.6 million children across Syria and the wider region are in need because more than half of them are out of school. There is a fear about a lost generation of Syrian children who have experienced trauma and displacement. We have seen the No Lost Generation initiative increase support for education, psychosocial support and protection for Syrian children. The United Kingdom is supporting organisations in Syria and the region in this. That is the kind of initiative that is important and must be seen as part of the effort. None of this alone is the solution; it must be part of an overall diplomatic, political and humanitarian approach.

The question of Syria came up on a number of occasions. Perhaps I may reiterate what my noble friend the Leader of the House said in opening the debate. The Government’s position is that we believe that there is a strong case for the United Kingdom to join in international action against ISIL in Syria, because ISIL must be defeated in both Iraq and Syria. We expressed our support for the air strikes conducted by the United States and five Arab nations against ISIL in Syria.

However, the proposal and Motion before the House of Commons today relates to the action that we as a country propose to take in Iraq. I reiterate that the Government will return to the House of Commons for a separate decision if we propose to take military action against ISIL and Syria. The noble Baroness, Lady Symons, and others, including the noble Lords, Lord Anderson and Lord Bach, asked about your Lordships’ House. Having recently discussed this on the Bench with my noble friend, I think it is inconceivable that, after a decision of that magnitude has been taken in the House of Commons, this House would not also have an opportunity to express a view similar to the way that we have done today. However, as the noble Lord, Lord Bach, indicated, this is different inasmuch as we have been recalled, and I am sure that if there are events when we are sitting, there will be an opportunity for the Government to be held to account, as well as opportunities for the Government to keep the House informed of developments.

Some things have been said about co-operating with the Syrian authorities. As I think the noble Lord, Lord Hannay, said, President Assad is part of the problem and not part of the solution. His actions in Syria have driven many people into the arms of organisations such as ISIL. However, we believe that there is a role for us. The noble Lord, Lord Hannay, also asked about the Geneva initiative. We believe that an inclusive political settlement in Syria is very pressing to bring together all Syria’s communities. A lasting political settlement has been our aim. The new United Nations special envoy, Staffan de Mistura, recently made his first visit to the region and we certainly support his efforts to bring about a political solution. We believe that the Geneva II talks failed because President Assad indicated that he was not willing to negotiate seriously with the Syrian opposition, but I

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assure the House that we will give such support as we can to the efforts being made by the new UN special envoy.

I was asked about Iran. The statement that we issued after the Prime Minister met President Rouhani on Wednesday this week was that the Prime Minister and the President noted the threat posed to the whole region by ISIL and agreed that all states in the region must do more to cut off support for all terrorist groups, including financial support. The Prime Minister welcomes the support that the Iranian Government have given the new Government of Iraq and their efforts to promote more inclusive governance for all Iraqis. He argued that a similar approach was needed in Syria to promote a transition to a new Government capable of representing all Syrians.

With regard to Turkey, it is a great tribute to the Turkish authorities that 847,000 refugees have entered Turkey, including 130,000 in the last week alone. This Government very much welcome Turkey’s generosity and the challenge it has taken on in hosting refugees, and we would certainly urge Turkey to keep its borders open.

Finally, one of your Lordships said that if we do not take action in the streets of Iraq, we will deal with the problem on the streets of the United Kingdom. My noble friend the Leader of the House indicated in her opening speech a number of the actions and initiatives that the Government are pursuing and intend to pursue to improve our homeland security. For example, we will obviously want to give serious consideration to observations, recommendations and advice from the independent reviewer of terrorism legislation, David Anderson QC. However, a number of those who contributed to the debate—not least the noble Lord, Lord Bach—drew attention to the fact that many Muslim people hold many positions in, and contribute widely to, our community and to what is strong and good in the United Kingdom. We must make sure that when we undertake any actions, we recognise that there are indeed many British Muslims who have spoken out against ISIL. That is exemplified by the Not In My Name initiative—a campaign which has been pursued very widely. As my noble friend Lord Paddick said, Islamic terrorism is a contradiction in terms.

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These are very difficult times for the Muslim community in Britain. One can readily understand why people get angered and dismayed by the way in which their religion has been perverted by violent extremists and by the way the word “Islam” can be heard every night on the TV in the context of brutal atrocities. It would be unacceptable to see any rise in Islamophobia and anti-Semitism. However, that is what organisations such as al-Qaeda and ISIL want to foment. They are determined to engineer hatred and division between people of different faiths and none. Let us be very clear. Islam is a religion of peace, it is welcome in Britain, and it is entirely compatible with the British way of life and our values. It is important that we make that abundantly clear.

Finally, there is the question of ideas, which the most reverend Primate the Archbishop of Canterbury raised in his contribution, and which was echoed by other noble Lords in our debate such as the noble Lord, Lord Hylton, the right reverend Prelate the Bishop of Derby, and others. They said that we must have a competing vision to that offered by ISIL. That is not just a matter for government; it goes much wider than that, to the religious faiths and to our community at large, and we will not solve it in a four or five-hour debate on a Friday afternoon. However, it is fundamental that we offer something that is seen to be much more compelling, which people feel that they can adhere to and want to champion, rather than the barbarity and the distorted and depraved values that people are so regrettably going to Syria and Iraq to champion. That is a challenge to all of us.

Again, I thank all noble Lords who have contributed. I apologise that in a relatively short time I did not have the opportunity to pick up on every point. I will say in closing only that while it may be presumptuous to anticipate the result of the Division at the other end of our Palace in just over half an hour’s time, the expectation is that the Motion before the House of Commons will be carried. With that in mind, we wish our service men and women, who will be acting in operations as a result of that, every success. They go with our best wishes.

Noble Lords: Hear, hear!

Motion agreed.

House adjourned at 4.22 pm.