Tuesday, December 13, 2016

The former chancellor, speaking in the Commons, said the tragedy in Aleppo had not "come out of a vacuum" but was due to "a vacuum of Western leadership". Western leadership another Hillary success?

Aleppo: George Osborne attacks 'vacuum' of Western leadership

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Media captionGeorge Osborne: We share responsibility for what is happening in Syria
George Osborne has told MPs they are deceiving themselves if they think they do not share some responsibility for what has happened in Syria. 
The former chancellor, speaking in the Commons, said the tragedy in Aleppo had not "come out of a vacuum" but was due to "a vacuum of Western leadership". 
Parliament, he argued, should "take its responsibility because of what it prevented being done". 
MPs voted against military action against the Assad regime in 2013.
However, the Commons did sanction air strikes against militants from the so-called Islamic State group in Syria in 2015.
Speaking in an emergency debate about the conflict in Aleppo, Mr Osborne - in one of his first Commons interventions since losing office - said Parliament must reflect on its own actions with regard to the five-year civil war in Syria.

'Worst decision'

In August 2013, Parliament rejected the government's case for possible intervention in response to the alleged use of chemical weapons by Syrian regime forces. 
MPs voted 285-272 against the UK joining President Barack Obama's plan for US air strikes - which never came to pass because of political opposition in the US.
Mr Osborne recalled speaking from the backbenches ahead of the 2003 Iraq War and said he feared now that "it is impossible to intervene anywhere".
But he said he had "some hope out of this terrible tragedy in Syria" that "we are beginning" to learn the "price of not intervening".
The price was that tens of thousands of people had been killed, millions of people had been forced from their homes and "we have allowed a terrorist state to emerge".
He added that key allies like Lebanon and Jordan had been destabilised while the refugee crisis had allowed fascism to rise in Eastern Europe and created extremist parties in Western Europe and "for the first time since Henry Kissinger kicked them out of the Middle East in the 1970s, Russia is back as the decisive player in that region".
He added: "Let's be clear now, if you don't shape the world you will be shaped by it."
A member of the Syrian government forces walking amid the rubble of the Al-Kalasseh neighbourhood in eastern AleppoImage copyrightAFP
Image captionThe United Nations says there have been atrocities in Aleppo
Mr Osborne has previously described the decision not to intervene in 2013 as one of the worst decisions ever taken by Parliament. 
The UN has warned that Syrian pro-government forces have been entering homes in eastern Aleppo and killing those inside, including women and children, as they seize control of that part of the city after months of bitter fighting. 
Speaking in Tuesday's debate, former Cabinet minister Andrew Mitchell said the UK had been among nations ten years ago to sign up to the "responsibility to protect" doctrine to prevent humanitarian catastrophes of the like seen in Srebrenica and Rwanda.
"This responsibility to protect was signed up to at great fanfare and embraced by all the international community, great and small," he said.
"Yet here we are today witnessing, complicit, in what is happening to tens of thousands of Syrians in Aleppo."

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