Times change: once courted . . .
Cardiff-born Reyaad Khan and Ruhul Amin, from Aberdeen were killed in Syria by a drone on 21st August by a remotely piloted aircraft, whilst travelling in a vehicle. Another British national, Junaid Hussain, from Birmingham, was killed in a separate air strike by US forces in Raqqa on 24th August.
Democracy? The British Parliament was not consulted in advance of the drone strike, even though two years ago MPs rejected possible UK military action in Syria
In the most detailed account seen, the Telegraph informs readers: “Britain’s war on Isil in Syria was launched from a nondescript aircraft hangar in Lincolnshire 3,000 miles away, where an RAF drone pilot in a leather chair fired the missile that killed two jihadis on a road outside Raqqa”.
Andrew Tyrie, the Conservative chairman of the Treasury select committee, has called for an investigation by parliament’s intelligence and security committee (ISC): “The ISC exists to scrutinise decisions like this.”
David Cameron had convened a meeting of the National Security Council, at which the Attorney General, Jeremy Wright QC, confirmed there was a “legal basis” for killing the two men. The NSC is said to have agreed that “should the right opportunity arise” the RAF should use drones to kill both men.
Did ‘our special friend’ direct Cameron to perform this ‘summary execution’ (AI)?
Though government officials insist both were on a legitimate “target list”, there are further questions:
- What was the intelligence on which the decision was based?
- Was the target list compiled by the CIA and/or the JSOC?
Kat Craig, from human rights group Reprieve, called the air strike “deeply worrying”. “Make no mistake – what we are seeing is the failed US model of secret strikes being copied wholesale by the British government.”
We need a better prime minister: a judicious, ethically sound ‘pair of hands’
The Guardian reports that Jeremy Corbyn said he was writing to the prime minister over his failure to accept his call for an international summit to address the Syrian refugee crisis. He said: “Further to the prime minister’s inadequate response in the chamber … I am now writing to offer the prime minister the opportunity to explain his inadequate response to my request for an urgent summit involving the UN, [European Union] and the US on Syria and the refugee crisis.”
With a supportive Plaid, Green, SNP, MK coalition
Caroline Lucas, the Green MP for Brighton Pavilion, said: “There is a very real risk that we are basically following the US model of secret strikes. They can often be counter-productive as well as illegal. On this occasion the prime minister has assured us that he was advised it was legal. It is right that parliament should see that advice.”
Jeremy Corbyn has once again questioned the legal basis for the use of drones and calls for urgent consideration to be given to the appropriate process by which attacks such as this one are sanctioned, on what evidence and on what basis of law.