The report, titled ‘Global Britain: The Responsibility to Protect and Humanitarian Intervention,' calls upon the UK government to be more serious in its approach toward the United Nations' so-called ‘Responsibility to Protect' doctrine, also known as ‘R2P.'
— Foreign Affairs Committee (@CommonsForeign) September 10, 2018
According to the report, the UK's ‘non-intervention' in Syria has contributed to the deaths of thousands of Syrians, and provided space for the growth of Russian and Iranian influence in the Middle East.
— brian g (@bodhibrian) September 10, 2018
"While the cost, complexities and challenges of intervening have been well documented through previous inquiries, such as the Iraq inquiry, the consequences of not acting are less well understood. We believe that the consequences of inaction can be every bit as serious as intervening. The decision not to intervene in Syria has had very real consequences for Syrians, their neighbours, the UK and our allies," reads one of the report's central arguments.
The MPs who authored the report also lash out at Moscow for its use of veto power at the UN Security Council, saying that: "it is an abuse of the moral responsibility entrusted to the permanent security council members to block action sought to prevent or alleviate suffering from mass atrocities."
— OffGuardian (@OffGuardian0) September 10, 2018
Some will however likely argue that despite the UK government's claim to a policy of ‘non-intervention,' London has in fact, along with key allies, trampled on the sovereignty of Syria in various ways since the conflict began in 2011.
After all, it is a well-established truth that the UK has continued to provide largesse to various Syrian rebel groups, including the so-called ‘Southern Front,' which has fought alongside the Al-Qaeda terrorist affiliate, Jabhat Fateh al-Sham. Some analysts have long argued that this material support in and of itself constitutes a form of intervention.
As one of its core recommendations, the foreign affairs committee report urges the UK government to clearly define its belief in military intervention to "prevent mass atrocities."
"We believe the government needs to understand the role the UK's inaction [in Syria] has had and learn the lessons from it for the future."
Yet, the extent to which military intervention on humanitarian grounds can even be justified under international law and the UN charter is a long standing topic of hot debate. In addition, following Western interventions in Libya and Iraq, both universally considered to be catastrophic failures, many now question whether the era of Western military intervention is at its end.
Sputnik discussed the issue of UK intervention in Syria with professor Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran.
Sputnik: The UK foreign affairs committee has said that the cost of ‘non-intervention' has been the deaths of thousands of Syrian civilians and the growth of Iranian and Russian influence in the Middle East. But in reality, has the UK ever really maintained a policy of non-intervention in Syria?
Mohammad Marandi: The UK did intervene. From early on the UK cooperated with the Americans, they knew quite well that the Saudis, the Americans, the Turks, the Emirates and the Israelis were funding extremists. They were allowing extremism to grow in Syria.
A number of extremist Wahhabi clerics in England were actively encouraging young Brits to go to Syria and they were going. The UK government knew this and they allowed this to happen. They done so because they wanted to weaken the Syrian government, so they were breaking international law. They did intervene in Syria, and they are very much responsible for the deaths and destruction that took place in the country. If it wasn't for the Syrian Arab Army, Hezbollah, Iran and Russia, right now we would have black flags of ISIS flying over Damascus and the number of refugees flowing into Europe as we speak would be far greater than what we've seen so far. So the UK government has lots of blood on its hands."
Sputnik: The UK has of course been arming a funding particular rebel groups in Syria. Some have argued that this constitutes a form of intervention of sorts.
Mohammad Marandi: That's absolutely correct. They have completely disregarded Syrian sovereignty. They allowed extremist groups that ultimately became ISIS, and other extremist groups that were Al-Qaeda affiliates, to grow. They even bare some responsibility for the bomb attacks in England and Europe because they allowed these extremist groups to thrive. You cannot help extremists, and you cannot allow your allies to help extremists, and hope for only Syrians to die, or your target population to die. Ultimately its going to come back and hit you. For the terrorist attacks in Europe, the British government is partly to blame. For the flow of refugees into Europe, the blame lies on the shoulders of European, Western and British government officials."
Sputnik: Do you think the era of Western-led military intervention is at its end, or do you foresee more in the future?
Mohammad Marandi: I think it's going to be more difficult for Western governments to intervene in the future because they've created so much instability in Northern Africa, because of Libya. In our region because there's instability because of Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, Gaza and so on. They've created so much instability that they know if it gets worse it will only increase the flow of refugees, people for whom they've created so much misery across the board. Any more instability will simply make the flow of refugees increase dramatically. It's also very expensive to intervene. A lot of the economic problems that the West is enduring, particularly the United States, since the end of the Bush regime and the beginning of Obama's time in office, was the result of their war expenditures. So I think it's going to be increasingly difficult, especially as new powers are on the rise and the West is on the decline, relatively speaking, military intervention becomes more and more difficult for them to think about seriously.
READ MORE: US Challenges UN System by Striking Syria — Russian Security Council
*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) and al-Qaeda are terrorist groups banned in Russia
The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of the speaker and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.