THE BLOG

Air Strikes Will Not Work - We Need a Long Term Solution to Extremism

01/12/2015 10:19 GMT | Updated 30/11/2016 10:12 GMT

Within the next week Members of Parliament will be voting on whether to launch air strikes against ISIS in Syria. With many Labour and Conservative MPs in support of extending air strikes into Syria, it is likely that the first bombing raids will take place towards the end of next week. But it has not been determined what the government wishes to achieve by bombing Syria.

If the destruction of ISIS is the plan, then what will the RAF achieve that the combined Air Forces of Russia, USA, France and other countries has not? French air strikes against ISIS didn't stop terrorists killing 129 people in Paris. Even if air strikes manage to wipe ISIS off the face of the planet there will still be terrorists to take their place.

I do not think that air strikes will stop ISIS. In fact, bombing Syria is likely to just radicalise and isolate more young Muslims. In Syria, the people living in the regions controlled by the terrorists will have to make a choice. It's a pretty easy one. Do they stay in their homes and wait until they are the next person digging their family out of the rubble? Or do they watch the ISIS propaganda and think that they'd rather take a chance with them? If you're desperate to live, to protect your family, then it's not a very difficult choice to make.

In the UK, young Muslims will see the UK bombing another Middle Eastern country and they will be isolated by the hatred and intolerance shown towards them by some members of society who can't understand the difference between a Muslim and a terrorist. A few might even decide to try and teach the people that authorised the bombing a lesson. Just one angry, isolated and radicalised young person could kill hundreds in London at rush hour. But don't think that all Muslims are potential terrorists because that is the cause of the problem.

In terms of a long term plan, it is clear that the President must remain in his post at least until ISIS is defeated. A weak Iraq facilitated the rise of ISIS in the first place and a weak Syria could hand ISIS the victory they desire. Therefore, the Syrian institutions of state must be made strong to counter the influence of corruption. But a strong judiciary, police force and executive branch means nothing without a strong foundation. Local power must reside with elected councils and not with armed militias as has happened during the civil war. With strong local authorities that are accountable to the people, extremist ideology is limited in it's effect on people.

Syria needs to beat ISIS militarily and that can only be done by combining the forces of the Free Syrian Army (the largest rebel group) and the Syrian Armed Forces. The talks in Vienna should initiate this agreement to work together against the common enemy. If they can cooperate in defeating ISIS on the ground then there is hope for a political settlement that will see a stable Syria after the war is ended. But this depends fully on both sides realising that Syria must come first before political control. If these two opposing factions cannot put their differences aside and unite then a regional coalition of Middle Eastern powers need to intervene with restraint.

A long term plan is needed to deal with ISIS rather than just short term power plays. The UK cannot bomb Syria and carry on pretending that we are trying to stop the war. There are those who would call my stance unpatriotic. They are wrong. It is because of patriotism that I have this stance. I desire my country to be loved around the world, that people don't judge me because I'm British. That is why Britain should not bomb Syria.