This is not just a humanitarian imperative; it is in all our interests to act. In the globalised 21st Century conflicts are not easily contained by borders. As the Stern Review made clear, tackling climate change will ultimately be cheaper than allowing it to proceed unchecked. But it is the human cost of these crises, the children of Gaza, the homeless Philippines and the South Sudanese families who do not know where their next meal is coming from that really demand our action. The UK public have shown they are up to the task; it is time for world leaders to do likewise.
There are around 100 British nationals serving with the IDF as we speak, apparently with no legal difficulties. But a Brit who trains or fights with any anti-Assad rebel group runs the risk of being jailed as a terrorist. If we are worried about young British Muslims heading off to the Middle East to receive military training, should we be equally worried about Jews?
As Israeli missiles lay waste to Gaza, Hamas rockets fly and innocents die in civilian planes downed in eastern Ukraine, Syria has slipped even furthe...
Then there's the physical harm to girls. In some cases, it's fatal. A child bride is likely to become sexually active at a young age, while her body is still developing, and she may not have much understanding of reproduction and sexual health. Child brides often find it difficult to discuss family planning methods or sexual practices openly with their husbands. And they often face pressure from family members to become pregnant quickl
When that space is claimed and tainted by perceived security interests and the engagement with certain actors has more to do with the fear of legal retribution back home than any tangible threat from individuals or groups, the sector has surrendered to the political and interests of our governments, not of universal humanitarian principles.
It is not our role to discuss how best to bring peace, but it is up to us to address the impact of the conflict on civilians and their humanitarian needs. The need to scale up assistance is great and urgent. Access will become increasingly difficult in some areas - already aid agencies have to negotiate to reach people in need on a daily basis. More supplies are desperately needed in order to support ever-growing numbers of displaced people. Iraqi Red Crescent and ICRC volunteers and staff must be able to deliver assistance safely. Let there be no doubt that the crisis in Iraq has developed into a humanitarian one - and that addressing it is what the term humanitarian means.
A year later and the black flags of the Islamic State (formerly ISIS), currently fluttering across lands from from northern Syria to the Iraqi province of Diyala north-east of Baghdad, have once again pushed the noxious issue of intervention to the forefront of the US foreign policy debate - a discourse that is further dividing an already fractured Republican Party, with the question of action versus non-action likely to run all the way to the 2016 election.
During the course of my humanitarian work in Syria, I have listened to many children share their perspectives. The death of family members, whether siblings or a parent or other loved one is common. Being displaced from their homes, often more than once, and finding their friends and communities snatched away. Memories of repeated attacks from warring parties that flattened whole neighborhoods, fires that raged through the night stay with them.
Let me make a prediction. The so-called caliphate in Iraq and Syria will be totalitarian, won't be Islamic and, in the words of the former US state department spokesman Philip Crowley, "has as much chance of survival as an ice cream cone in the desert". By declaring statehood, Isis may have sown the seeds of its own destruction.