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Iraq War Haunts UK Debate on Libya Intervention

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TEHRAN, March 23 (ICANA) – Prime Minister David Cameron won overwhelming parliamentary support for the UK government taking a leading role in military action against Libya, but at the expense of many MPs expressing serious misgivings.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011 7:53:08 PM
Iraq War Haunts UK Debate on Libya Intervention

After a six-hour debate, 557 British MPs voted on Monday in favour of the action that stops short of an invasion, with just 13 opposing and more than 70 abstaining or missing.

Many backed Cameron, who promised “no regime change, no occupying force”, but with marked caution and reservations following Britain's bitter experiences of being embroiled in the Iraq and Afghanistan wars over the past decade.

The prime minister insisted that the military intervention would not become “another Iraq” but refused to say categorically that Britain will not commit ground troops amid concern that Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi was being targeted outside the mandate of UN Security Council Resolution 1973.

Former Labour defence secretary Bob Ainsworth said he was 'reluctant and late' in his support and warned that he was 'somewhat concerned by the degree of enthusiasm' among some sections of the media, the public, and parliament for getting involved in 'yet another operation abroad'.

'What is the end game? No-one really knows,' asked Conservative MP John Baron, while veteran Labour MP Dennis Skinner questioned Cameron what were the circumstances for ending military action, saying: 'It is easy to get into a war; it is harder to end it.”

'Many innocent people are going to be killed or slaughtered - whatever word you’re going to use - because it can't otherwise be the situation,' another veteran Labour MP, David Winnick, warned.

Scottish National Party leader in parliament Angus Robertson was among others who also expressed concern about Britain's an open-ended commitment and the 'potential for mission creep'.

Plaid Cymru Welsh nationalist leader Elfyn Llwyd warned that the clear wording of resolution 1973 might become clouded - and this whole matter “could be a smokescreen or shorthand for regime change, which would be unlawful under international law.”

After two successive wars, Labour MP Dai Havard expressed concern about the sustainability of Britain's armed forces, saying the country was still involved in Afghanistan and “need to get real about what we can and cannot do.”

The Conservative-led government gained official endorsement for the action for their Liberal Democrat coalition partners, who voted against the 2003 Iraq war, and from the frontbench of the main opposition Labour Party and its leader Ed Miliband.

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