Durkan: Syria strike proponents Janus-faced on Middle East

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Foyle MP Mark Durkan has suggested proponents of military strikes on Islamic State are speaking out of both side of their mouths on the Middle East by insisting on action on Syria but not on Palestine.

Mr Durkan also questioned the so-called moderation of the various forces fighting against both Islamic State and the Assad regime in Syria.

Speaking in the House of Commons on Monday, he said: “If we are to confront the evil logic and the cynical rationale that are used by Daesh and others who come up with a perverted extremist Islamist view of the world, we need to remember that they cite the west’s ineffectual position on Palestine as one of their main bits of evidence for our unsuited interest in the region.

“Let us remember that that conflict, which is being pursued with yet more demolitions and more settlements, has had a pretty ineffectual diplomatic response from the west - the same west that is talking about marshalling our best diplomatic efforts, military action and humanitarian aid into a comprehensive strategy in Syria.

“Then people will ask, ‘What quality will this huge diplomatic effort have? Where do we see this huge diplomatic effort elsewhere? Do we see it in the middle east and Palestine?’

“Frankly, people do not see it there. People see the EU and its member states adopting essentially a screensaver approach to what is happening to the Palestinians. Shapes are thrown, images are projected and impressions are created, but nothing real is going on.

“When was the last time that the Israeli Government took seriously any strong diplomatic message from EU Governments or the UK Government about any of those ongoing violations?”

He also expressed doubt about the quality and quantity of the supposed good guys proponents of military action have been citing as friends in Syria.

“We should remember that we have a fairly fickle proposed alliance arrangement for this intervention. We have a somewhat shifting alliance, which includes some fairly shifty allies, and that is just when it comes to the other states.

“When we then look at forces, such as the Free Syrian Army, which are meant to be the ground forces, we have to recognise that the question of how many of them are truly reliably and sustainably moderate into the future could come to haunt some Members given the glib way in which they have talked about 70,000 forces being available.”