Prior to the vote on potential British military involvement against ISIL/DAESH in Syria I asked a question directly to the Prime Minister on relevant matters.
Joan Ryan (Enfield North) (Lab): For those of us who will have to make the decision in the very near future about British military involvement in Syria, will the Prime Minister say something about what lessons he thinks we can draw from the recent and current action in Iraq, and what that might tell us about what we might be about to see in Syria?
The Prime Minister: There are so many lessons that we need to draw from recent conflicts that it is not possible to set them all out at the Dispatch Box now, but let me take one. One of the mistakes that was made in Iraq was the sense that the entire state and establishment had to be dismantled after the invasion of Iraq. That left a vacuum that has now been well documented. In saying that we believe that Assad cannot play a part in the long-term government of Syria, we are not saying that all the institutions of the Syrian state have to be dismantled. Indeed, quite the opposite. It will be very important to have a transitional plan so that Syria has a state and institutions. They need to be institutions that can represent all the country, but it should not be part of our plan to dismantle them in a year-zero approach. That would not work and we must learn the lesson from the past.