Speech: Airstrikes show we stand up for principle and civilised values: article by Boris Johnson

MoD_RSS

War Hero
There is a very simple reason why it was right for the UK to join our closest allies in launching strikes against the Asad military machine.

This is about our collective future. It is about the kind of world we want our children to grow up in.

It is about – and exclusively about – whether the world should tolerate the repeated use of chemical weapons and the human suffering they cause.

The problem with such weapons is not just that their effect is hideous. Anyone looking at the pictures from Eastern Ghouta can see the kind of suffering involved: the foaming at the mouth, the floppy bodies of children, and the particular terror those weapons deliberately inspire.

Vile, sick, barbaric though it is to use such weapons – that is not the principal objection. These munitions are not just horrible. They are illegal.

It is now centuries since humanity first recoiled against the use of poison in warfare. The French and the Holy Roman Empire were so disgusted by the use of poisoned bullets they signed a treaty to ban them in 1675.

It is now almost 100 years since the great post World War One treaty to prohibit use of chemical weapons – and in that period we have seen nation after nation sign up to the global consensus that this particular means of killing is evil and should be banned.

Indeed, the universal abhorrence of chemical weapons, and the destruction of declared stockpiles, must be considered one of the great achievements of the modern world.

The global community simply cannot afford to turn a blind eye to what is happening in Syria.

In 2013 the Syrian regime committed to destroy its chemical arsenal while Russia – the mentor of the Asad Regime – guaranteed to oversee the process.

Since then the Asad Regime and Russia has made a complete mockery of that pledge.

A significant body of information, including intelligence, suggests the Asad regime was behind the chemical attack at Douma on April 7 that killed about 75 people and resulted in hundreds of casualties.

Multiple accounts located a regime Mi 18 helicopter in the vicinity at the time. The opposition does not have helicopters and no other actor in the Syrian theatre is thought capable of launching a chemical strike of that scale.

The only reasonable conclusion is that the regime has become so hardened and cynical that it is willing to exploit the extra potential of these weapons for removing entrenched urban resistance – in complete defiance of global disapproval and the norms of civilised behaviour.

The Douma atrocity alone would be enough to demand a response. But it is not a one off.

The Douma massacre is now part of a pattern of use of chemical weapons by the Asad Regime. International investigators mandated by the UN Security Council have found the Asad regime responsible for using chemical weapons in 4 separate attacks since 2014.

The UK and our allies have done everything in our power to deter the barbaric use of these weapons. The EU has imposed sanctions on key figures linked to chemical weapons use in Syria.

We have tried countless resolutions at the UN. But Russia has repeatedly shielded the Asad Regime from investigation and censure, vetoing 6 separate UN Security Council resolutions, including torpedoing the UN mandated Investigative Mechanism set up to attribute responsibility for chemical weapons attacks in Syria.

Instead, Russia has repeated its lies and obfuscation that we have seen in this country since the attempted murder of Sergei and Yulia Skripal, including the grotesque assertion that the UK is somehow behind the attack in Douma.

Last year we had a military response from the US, when about 20 Syrian planes were destroyed at the Shayrat airfield after the chemical massacre of civilians at Khan Sheikhoun.

Now the world is forced to act again – not only to protect those who would otherwise fall victim to Asad’s monstrosities, but because unless we do so his regime will continue to weaken what has become an effective global taboo, with significant humanitarian consequences for many more.

If we do nothing there will be other people and other governments around the world who will look at the impunity of Asad and ask themselves: they got away with it – why shouldn’t I?

Unless we act there is a risk of moral contamination, a coarsening and corruption of what we have until now thought to be acceptable.

Yes of course it was also right for the UK to stand shoulder to shoulder with America and France – close allies who were instrumental in helping to forge the 28 strong group of countries that expressed their palpable outrage at the Salisbury attack by expelling more than 150 Russian diplomats.

Yes of course there are diplomatic considerations – but this is about more than diplomacy. It is about principle.

And in its specific focus on the use of chemical weapons – and the consequences that must flow – this action is limited, and we must be both acutely aware of those limits and clear about them.

These carefully targeted and calibrated strikes are not designed to intervene in the Syrian civil war or effect regime change.

The action was carried out to alleviate further humanitarian suffering by degrading the Syrian Regime’s chemical weapons capability and deterring their use.

At a time of understandable tension in our relations with Russia it has been important to stress that this action does not entail some attempt to frustrate Russian strategic objectives in Syria.

In short this does not represent any major escalation of UK or western involvement in Syria – and we should have the courage to be honest about that.

In degrading Asad’s chemical weapons capabilities we intend to do what we can to protect his people from that specific form of cruelty.

We are standing up for principle and for civilised values.

We may not end the barbarism – but we are telling the world that there is one type of barbarism that is banned and that deserves to be banned.

Continue reading...
 
Thread starter Similar threads Forum Replies Date
MoD_RSS Prime Minister's speech to UN General Assembly: 26 September 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Environment Secretary speech on biodiversity: 24 September 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Matt Warman’s Keynote Speech at Connected Britain 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Robert Jenrick's speech on planning for the future MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Sport Minister's SRA annual conference speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Emma Howard Boyd, Green Summit speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Julia Lopez speech at techUK’s ‘Building the Smarter State’ Conference MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Lord Chancellor’s Speech: White Paper Launch - A Smarter Approach to Sentencing MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Robert Jenrick's speech to Chartered Institute of Housing (CIH) 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Home Secretary speech at the Police Superintendents' Association conference MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Chartered Institute of Housing 2020: Housing Minister's speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Defence Secretary's speech at meeting of UK, German and French defence ministers MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Speech to ICAEW Virtual Conference MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Lord Chancellor’s Mansion House speech to the judiciary MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Chief Secretary to the Treasury delivers his first speech in the role to thinktank Onward MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Universities Minister speech at Festival of Higher Education MoD News 0
MoD_RSS George Eustice speech on environmental recovery: 20 July 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Commander Strategic Command, General Sir Patrick Sanders’ Speech at the Air and Space Power Conference MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Amb Pruce's Speech at the Forum on Youths’ SOGIE & Mental Health
 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Defence Secretary keynote speech at the Air and Space Power Conference 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Defence Secretary Ben Wallace gives a speech at the Air and Space Power Conference MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Alex Chisholm speech at Civil Service Live 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Foreign Secretary speech at India Global Week MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Education Secretary FE speech with Social Market Foundation MoD News 0
MoD_RSS A Plan for Jobs speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Local Government Association annual conference 2020: Minister for Regional Growth and Local Government's speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Speech by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Rushi Sunak, on the future relationship between the UK and Switzerland on financial services MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Environment Secretary speech at the COP26 Business Leaders Event MoD News 0
MoD_RSS PM Economy Speech: 30 June 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Has coronavirus killed globalisation: speech by Laura Clarke MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Digital Secretary's closing speech to the UK Tech Cluster Group MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Fiona MacGregor speech at Digital Housing Week – 22 June 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Leader of the House of Commons speech: 8 June 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Caroline Dinenage's keynote speech for the Founders Forum - Healthtech stage MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Caroline Dinenage's keynote speech at the CogX Createch Stage MoD News 0
MoD_RSS COP26 President speech at Race to Zero campaign launch MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Tourism Minister's speech at the Extraordinary G20 Tourism Ministers' Meeting on Covid-19 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS COP26 President speech at opening of Placencia Ambition Forum MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Gavin Williamson speech on COVID-19 response MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Queen's Counsel Appointments Ceremony 2020: Lord Chancellor speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Economic secretary speech to the ABCUL MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Education Secretary speech at ASCL's Annual Conference MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Speech for Airport Operators Association annual dinner MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Budget Speech 2020 MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Minister for Women and Equalities Liz Truss speech at The House magazine's Women in Westminster: The 100 event MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Housing Minister's speech to the Planning Inspectorate MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Defence Secretary Ben Wallace gives a speech to the Atlantic Council MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Secretary of State Oliver Dowden's speech at the Enders Media and Telecoms Conference MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Times Law Awards 2020: Robert Buckland speech MoD News 0
MoD_RSS Nigel Huddleston Youth Sport Trust Annual Conference speech MoD News 0
Similar threads


















































Latest Threads

New Posts

Top