1. The Labour Case for Intervention — Introduction

‘The Labour Case for Intervention’ is an attempt to answer the many hundreds of questions on Syria, IS and the government case for extending air strikes as is possible in one night. The decision facing Labour MPs in parliament is a very complex and difficult one. If nothing else, this document is designed to show just how difficult that decision is. There are no right answers on Syria, or on the fight against IS.

To keep this document simple, the separate sections are structured simply as the response to questions on Syria. A ‘Background Explainer’ on the context to the case made for intervention, the forthcoming vote, political context, the limitations and the author’s standing has also been published on Medium.

For now it is enough to say that the questions addressed here have come from a number of sources. They include questions asked by genuinely undecided Labour MPs, challenges posed during heated and less heated weeks on twitter, and questions sent through after I posted an open invitation on twitter. I have tried simply to pick the questions that are most asked or most relevant to the decision being made by Labour MPs, to group them under headings that make a rough kind of sense, and to link them with background information where required. I started at 3pm and will finish at around 6am. It’s going to get messy.

In the interests of readability, I will publish in sections, covering different parts of the debate, and ranging from the focus on Raqqa to IS attacks overseas, and the relationship of the Damascus Regime to IS. I hope to publish an index and link into a single searchable document at the end of the night (or tomorrow night, after some sleep).

Where a group of questions seemed to me to cover the same ground, I have simply picked the version which best integrated into that section of the document. My apologies to all who do not see the wording of their question in the sections I publish today.

And at the end, that’s the key to it. This is one night’s writing, and I can’t, in one night, cover anything like the ground that I would like to. Many of these answers will seem rushed and they will certainly be over-simple. I will return to each section, and write a fuller answer when I can. These are questions that deserve better than a swift response.

Lastly, everything I do write is based on the much deeper work and analysis of others. I cannot reference or attribute as I go, but am acutely aware of where debts are owed. I will return to this document and add those references at the first opportunity. I will also publish a reading list, so that anyone interested in these arguments can access the very best in analysis of IS and of Syria for themselves.

And finally, with your help, the draft that I publish tonight will improve. This is a live document, written in haste. Challenge, correction, new evidence, additional information and argument on each specific point can only make it stronger.

Jump in, share your thoughts and further questions on twitter via @katevoteslabour, and I’ll do my best to see that they are integrated, and to revise this draft in better form.

Kate Godfrey

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