Syria, David Cameron and a historic night in the House of Commons

The Syrian morass has thousands of countless victims: some have been brutalised more than others, with recent heart-wrenching images of chemical attack victims. Yet many (including backbenchers and party grandees) will certainly latch on to the defeat in the House of Commons to argue that David Cameron overstated Britain’s role in the world (Report, 30 August). Yet without Labour’s shying away from making a firm stand against dictators who gas their defenseless people and apparently reneging on initial pledges of support, the parliamentary defeat would have not materialised.

Indeed, the purpose and objective of the limited strikes articulated by Cameron in the face of opportunistic opposition displayed nothing but the qualities of true leadership, determined to assert the moral ascendancy of the UK at such testing times. This was not another Iraqi war. Nor was it even remotely akin to Miliband’s party’s belief in the “dodgy dossier”, sexed up to justify an illegal war in the servitude of oil and post-invasion commercial contracts. The national interests of the UK and the worthy reputation of its armed forces as a force for good would have been served much better had parliament voted otherwise.

Either way, it remains a moral victory for Cameron for having the courage to spearhead the international efforts to stand up to the Syrian dictator; and equally for respecting the will of parliament and the democratic process, of which we are all very proud to uphold.
Dr Lu’ayy Minwer al-Rimawi
Visiting fellow, Harvard Law School and Co-director of the MA programme in Islamic Financial Law BPP (London)

• In our personality-obsessed era it’s inevitable that the media have run headlines such as “Cameron humiliated” and your own “blow to Tory leader’s authority“. But you were two-thirds right with your leader headline “Two cheers for parliament” (Editorial, 30 August). What happened in the debates and the vote represent a significant shift in the balance of power between parliament and the executive. We are often told that the Commons is not the power it once was. Thursday may come to be seen as a glorious episode in the restoration of parliamentary democracy in this country.

And how about a third cheer for the role played by their lordships? Seven hours of high-quality speeches, on all sides overwhelmingly and devastatingly critical of the government’s plans.
Tony Greaves
Liberal Democrat, House of Lords

• The United States, Britain and France recently admitted the strong presence of al-Qaida-affiliated terrorist organisations within the armed opposition in Syria. Western media correspondents also reported these terrorists to be the strongest faction fighting against the Syrian army in some areas. Before his failed attempt to take Britain into yet another disastrous war, did Cameron consider that the planned US-led attack could strengthen al-Qaida terrorists? And did the government consider the possibility that it was al-Qaida which engineered the “chemical” atrocity on the day the UN observers arrived in Damascus?
Sami Ramadani
Senior lecturer, sociology, London Metropolitan University

• One wonders whether the …read more