We're reaching the end of 2015 with no end in sight over Syria. The carnage and agony continue. So do the detentions, the torture, the deaths in custody, the "disappearances" and state gangsterism. The Syrian government's barrel bombings also continue and the ever-widening internationalisation of the conflict appears to mean that any eventual resolution is harder still to envisage. But what, if anything, have we learnt about the Syria crisis during 2015? Here are a few thoughts...
Western involvement in foreign lands kills innocent individuals, urging some to leave behind rational thought and support or participate in ISIS' endeavours. The number of likely volunteers is growing rapidly and, undeniably, the West continues to produce more. Neglecting to pay attention to the aforementioned caution will only bolster ISIS' footholds.
The notion that we will indiscriminately bomb innocent civilians is ridiculous. We will be using Brimstone missiles - these are very precise, concentrated strikes that minimize the risk of collateral damage. Even the US does not have military capabilities as precise as ours. So, at the margin, our decision to join in with the coalition-led airstrikes campaign in Syria will not only weaken ISIS, but will help spare civilian lives while doing so.
In the aftermath of the vote on whether to bomb ISIS in Syria, the new Labour Party will have to face some uncomfortable questions about the new direction in which Corbyn wants to take, spurred on both by Corbyn's supporters, and by the group that now seems to take pride of place in Corbyn's foreign policy: Stop the War Coalition.
News of what happened at Leytonstone, of course, spread all over the world, so relatives and friends from the States got in touch. After I assured them that I was okay, they then went on to ask why and how the Met dealt with a potential terror situation - without guns. It was so strange, so incomprehensible, something they could not imagine. That's because the USA is an armed society. Arms are the equalizer; the avenger; the explainer; the revenge; and your best friend.