The House of Commons will vote to extend the British involvement from Iraq to across the Syrian border, former MP George Galloway told RT.
RT: David Cameron says he wants to bomb Syria. Do you think he’ll get enough support to do that this time?
George Galloway: Probably, yes. It will be more or less a gesture because there is no shortage of people bombing Syria already. It will not be accompanied by a crackdown on Western funding for the groups that are in the same package as ISIS, al-Qaeda, and other extremist groups. We’ll continue to do that. Our allies in the Persian Gulf and our NATO ally in Turkey will not turn away from their attacks on the Kurdish people and seriously tackle their ‘yesterday allies’ in the same boat. So it’ll be a symbolic gesture, but the war drums are beating; the media is in full almost fanatical mood. So I am sure that the House of Commons will vote to extend the British involvement in the region from Iraq to across the Syrian border.
RT: What else can the UK do constructively if bombing isn’t the answer?
GG: Well, they could tackle the way in which the finances of these groups continue to be largely unhindered. They could ensure their best friend – they tell us Saudi Arabia is their best friend in the Muslim world – they could tell their best friend that it has to stop all this arming and funding and extending propaganda to these groups. They could do the same, as I as say, with their formal NATO ally in Turkey. That would be a far better British contribution. Britain has been so much a part of all the disasters in the Middle East, including the attack on Syria in the past in covert form, and of course the invasion and occupation of Iraq, which set much of the momentum of this fanaticism going in the first place.
RT: President Obama said yesterday that Russia’s bombing campaign targeting all terror groups is actually helping ISIL because it bombs the opposition too. What’s your view on that?
GG: Obama is hot and cold as he has been on many issues. Right from the start of his presidency I had hoped that after that tête-à-tête with President Putin that we would see a more sensible American policy, but it doesn’t look as if that is going to happen. Therefore, all hopes of a genuinely united front against these killers, this death cult, appear to be floundering now. If you see Russian and the Syrian government as the problem then you’re certainly not going to come upon the solution. So I am not sure at what juncture we now stand. We’ll get a clearer picture no doubt once Mr. Cameron brings his motion before the House of Commons. But I don’t think we’re going to defeat these people any time soon.
They keep talking about the need for bombardment, but as I started out by saying: Bombs are not going to solve this problem; they are not solving it yet in any case despite all the bombs that are falling. Only a ground war can defeat these people and there already is a ground war. And we should support the Syrian army and the Iraqi army who are in that ground war and stop assisting the people that they are fighting against. It is really not a rocket science that appears beyond our leaders.
RT: People in Europe are concerned about their security now as they faced a refugee crisis and possibility of terrorism. Do you think tightening borders is the answer?
GG: Of course border checks have to be a part of it… I am not sure that the Schengen agreement can survive the crisis that we currently have. I am not sure what all this expenditure on intelligence is achieving – there are reports that virtually every terrorist that has been involved in outrages over recent years was already on the radar of intelligence. Indeed, the so-called ‘mastermind’ of the Paris events appears to have been able to move between ISIS-controlled territory in Syria and Europe back and forward regularly without intervention, without being stopped. So there are many, many aspects to this whole affair that don’t add up; don’t really make much sense. I am not sure that the Western countries that claimed to have been fighting ISIS over the last period really were doing so…
RT: Do you think it likely that we’re going to see a big move now towards far-right movements within political parties in Europe as a result of this? Presumably this is something they can jump on to.
GG: Yes, there is a real danger of that in France in particular, but in Belgium, too. We’ve got a by-election coming up… It will be very bad news I think if the far-right xenophobic nationalist UKIP were to win that by-election. But undoubtedly, the air is full of propaganda – xenophobic, Islamophobic propaganda…
RT: How big is the problem of a backlash against Muslims?
GG: Well, I was at a very large mosque in… London campaigning on Friday; thousands of Muslims were there. They were as 99 per cent of all Muslims always do, utterly denouncing the death cult ISIS; but every single one of them, I think, was anxious about what this atmosphere means for themselves, their families, their property, their mosques, their schools, and so on. It is a very, very dark moment that we have arrived at in world history, and those who are responsible for it will be condemned forever in history, I believe.