Julian Lewis was a Shadow Defence Minister between 2002 and 2010 and is MP for New Forest East
Asked about arming the Syrian opposition this week, David Cameron reminded the Commons at Prime Minister’s Questions of his record of “making sure that Parliament is recalled to discuss important issues”. This is the closest he has come to promising a vote on the matter, but he would be wise to make it explicit.
Intervention in this dreadful civil war would be fraught with danger. Consider four facts:
First, there is a stock of deadly nerve gas, believed to be sarin, under Assad’s control – where it poses little danger to the West.
Secondly, it is our overriding priority to keep mass-destruction weapons (like sarin nerve gas) out of Al-Qaeda’s hands.
Thirdly, according to the Foreign Secretary, Al-Qaeda have several thousand jihadis fighting alongside the opposition to Assad.
Finally, if Assad falls, his WMD arsenal will be seized by the opposition forces.