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Labour’s position on the Iraq crisis

Posted: 15/08/14

Responding the to the humanitarian crisis continuing to unfold in Iraq which has displaced more than one million Iraqis from their homes- Labour's Shadow Foreign Secretary, Douglas Alexander, has said:

" Labour supports the decision to make UK military assets available as part of the wider international humanitarian efforts, and the UK must continue to play its part, alongside other EU and international partners, in contributing to the efforts already underway to bring safety and help to those civilians fleeing from ISIL's murderous advance.

Clearly the forces of the Kurdistan Regional Government have played an important role in recent days in both holding back ISIL's advance, and in supporting that wider humanitarian effort.

ISIL has already captured a great deal of heavy weaponry from the Iraqi Security Forces. In the wake of recent advances by ISIL forces Iraqi Kurdistan now shares a 600-mile border with these terrorists, and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces are well positioned to try and protect the Kurdish population.

Since this crisis began, the UK has already assisted these Kurdish forces with technical and logistical military support. So as the Foreign Secretary meets with his EU counterparts in Brussels today, Labour believes the UK Government should work with European and other allies to ensure the Kurds have the military equipment they require in the days ahead.

This equipment is needed not simply to allow the Peshmerga to protect the Kurdish community in Iraq, but also needs to be part of a wider strategy for tackling ISIL.

That is why the EU should consider further steps to support Jordan which shares a border with the ISIL-held areas in its south, and to work with Turkey's newly elected President Erdogan to provide support to the hundreds of thousands of displaced people now seeking refuge inside Iraqi Kurdistan.

"But ultimately, these broad steps to enhance security in Iraq will also have to be matched with determined will on the part of Iraq's leaders to bring all the peoples of their country together, not drive them further apart. The acceptance of Haider al-Abadi as Iraq's prime minister-designate potentially offers a new direction. His challenge is now to promote an inclusive, sovereign and democratic Iraq that can push back on ISIL advances and restore stability and security across the country"