Wednesday, December 2

Parliament votes to extend British air campaign against Islamic State to Syria BREAKING NEWS

No surprise, despite stiff resistance from Labor MPs and large numbers of the British public:

From RT's live-blogging of the event:

  • 22:32 GMT
    British MPs vote 397 to 223 in favor of launching airstrikes against ISIS in Syria, 174 majority.
    After a tumultuous day of impassioned debate, the motion to extend airstrikes against IS from Iraq into Syria has passed with a 174 majority.
    Some 67 Labour MPs voted in favor of strikes, swinging the vote in the government’s favor.
    Bombing against the extremist group’s Syrian strongholds could begin immanently.
    Earlier in the evening Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond said raids could begin “very quickly” because jets are already stationed in the Middle East where they are carrying out attacks in Iraq.
  • 22:23 GMT
    Hilary Benn's speech has been widely heralded as the best speech of the session.
    On Twitter Labour MPs, journalists and onlookers have praised his oratory and his sentiment.
    • 22:18 GMT
      MPs vote NO to block military action in Syria.
      Some 390 MPs voted against blocking military action in Syria, and 210 voted in favor.
    • 22:10 GMT
      The MPs are lining up to vote. A result is imminent. 
    • 22:04 GMT
      Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond gives his closing speech:
      The motion being debated is to extent airstrikes already taking place in Iraq into the“heartland” of Islamic State in Syria, the Foreign Secretary says.
      He says that although he “respects” Corbyn’s decision to vote against the motion, but believes his objections are “misguided.”
      Military action is, he says, “our obligation to act in the best interest of the UK and of British citizens.”
      He adds the House of Commons has performed “at its best” with 104 members making speeches, and “we have done justice to the gravity of the subject we are debating.”
      “Airstrikes alone will not finish ISIL,” he says, “but they will over time degrade ISIL and force a change in its behavior.”
      Hammond adds a ground assault will be needed in the end to oust ISIL from their Raqqa stronghold.
      “Ultimately there will need to be a ground assault on Raqqa,” he says. “That will come in months or perhaps years,” he adds.
      He adds he received a letter from US Secretary of State John Kerry saying there would be “no military solution to civil war in Syria,” but also there would be “no political deal with Daesh.”
      Kerry wrote that the Vienna talks are the best opportunity in four years to establish a ceasefire and political solution.
      The threat from IS in the UK is great, he adds, saying there have been more than 100 attempted attacks in the past year, compared to just 15 the year before.
      “Do we take the fight to them, or do we wait for them to bring the fight to us?”
      “What kind of a country would we be if we ignored the calls for help from our nearest neighbors even as they grieve for their dead?” 
    • [...]
    • 21:49 GMT
    • Shadow Foreign Secretary Hilary Benn tells the House that airstrikes are essential to halting the expansion of Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.
      At its heart, he says, the question of airstrikes is “very simple.”
      “What shall we do to confront this threat?”
      The “carnage” in Paris “brought home the present danger” to the UK and fostered the need to act against the extremists, he says, because it could have been and “could still be” a British city.
      Benn adds it is Britain’s “moral and practical” duty to extend airstrikes into Syria.
      He believes the mandate for military action agreed by Labour Party at its annual conference have been met by the United Nations Security Council resolution 2249.
      The UN resolution “is asking us to act now,” he says, “why would we not follow the will of the UN?”
      IS have murdered Yadizi women, the guardian of relics at Palmyra and countless homosexual men, as well as hundreds of tourists in the Tunisia, Paris and Egypt attacks.
      He brands IS as “fascists,” and reminds the House how it committed to fighting Hitler and Mussolini.
      “It is time for us to do our bit,” he ends.
      His speech was met with rapturous applause on both sides of the House. Much of the Labour frontbench, however, sat silent. 
    • [...]

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