UK bombing Syria will cause more terrorist attacks in Europe, says Man Uni expert

The UK’s response to terrorism will lead to more attacks in Europe and further radicalisation at home and in the Middle East, warns an expert from the University of Manchester.

Parliament last night voted to extend British military action into Syria after a day of debate where 157 MPs took the opportunity to speak both for and against intervention.

The motion passed by 397 votes to 223, after a 10-hour Commons debate and saw Tornado jets take off over night to carry out the first sortie.

Dr Piers Robinson, a senior lecturer, believes that Britain does not appear to have learnt from previous mistakes and fears that history will repeat itself once again.

He told MM: “There has been a worrying tendency among most of the governments to react in a way which has been a very familiar and predictable response to terror incidents.

“That response has essentially mirrored from what you’ve seen in 9/11, where you push for a very aggressive, muscular response.

“And the kind of problems we’ve seen emerging over the past 15 years is that those kinds of responses tend to have the level of violence and increased the terrorist threat.

“They [politicians] tend to be falling into a standard response which is that the obvious way of dealing with this is to increase military action, which over the last 15 years doesn’t seem to have achieved much, other than increasing the overall level of conflict.”

However, the effects have not been solely military, at home there has been a worrying rise in incidents of Islamophobia and right wing groups in Britain and Europe.

Critics have argued that this proves there is a clear correlation between aggressive British and Western responses in the Middle East and the rise of right wing agenda in Europe.

“The overall discourse of Islamophobia has been fuelled by the terrorist incidents and also by political actors in Europe and also in America,” said Dr Robinson.

“This has, I think, very much unfairly labelled a large population and identified them as, in the minds of a significant proportion of the public, potential terrorists or as being ‘extremists’.

“In terms of the way the government has responded to current events this has raised the worrying concern about Islamaphobia and the rise of the right in which the scapegoating of minority populations can be exploited by these political actors.”

Some believe Parliaments vote last night has consigned refugees and minority Muslim communities to increasing marginalisation in the future.

Consequently, Britain and states elsewhere will see more and more young, disenfranchised and disconnected Muslims leave their homes to join ISIS.

For Dr Robinson this is a particularly important point, as it raises question marks of the efficacy of air strikes.

He said: “I think that overall, as with very muscular responses to terror attacks, are highly counter-productive if your overall task is to de-radicalise certain parts of the population.

“The idea that these kinds of responses will actually achieve the claimed objective of defeating ISIS doesn’t stand up to scrutiny in terms of the past record and in terms of an objective assessment of what is going on.”

Dr Robinson argues instead those involved need to look at the situation more in terms of a much broader and nuanced approach, and not an immediate kneejerk response of force.

He said: “The ISIS attacks are occurring within the context of a regional war in the M.E and this is a regional war which has major players with SA and Iran involved and it also has major external actors, including the West and Russia.

“If you try and step back and primary focus on ISIS terrorist attacks and what might be fuelling violence then really your attention needs to get away from ‘let’s deploy air strikes against one particular group.

“Your attention needs to go one ways in which we can move the players in this conflict towards some kind of resolution, whereby Russia and the West find some kind of way forward for Syria, which will involve some kind of settlement and would be in the interest of the people of Syria.”

Image courtesy of Freedom House, with thanks.

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