I have spent most of my adult life working on, and in, interventions. I began as a junior diplomat with East Timor, served in the Balkans and in Iraq, then spent a few years in Afghanistan. But none of this made me feel I could predict the future of Libya as I entered Tripoli in August. There were echoes of Baghdad in the masked men holding on to truck-mounted anti-aircraft guns and shouting Allahu Akbar at an angry crowd outside the bank. Was this the prelude to a sudden flurry of looting, then, after a few months, sullen resentment, riots, roadside bombs and rockets falling into the foreign compounds? Would Libya, like the Iraq or Afghan interventions, eventually suck in billions of dollars, thousands of lives, and achieve little more than trauma, corruption and insecurity?

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My decision on the Syria vote was strongly influenced by my personal experiences and work in Bosnia, in Kosovo, in Iraq and Afghanistan. The Balkans showed me how important an international intervention can be in protecting civilians. Iraq and Afghanistan showed how much uncertainty and ignorance and risk we face in intervention. There are risks […]

A Better Understanding of Intervention

The Libyan government has retreated to a ship off the coast. The President of Yemen has fled from his capital – apparently disguised as a woman. Boko Haram controls swathes of Northern Nigeria. South Sudan – the newest country in the world – celebrates its independence in Civil War. Over 10,000 civilians were casualties in […]

Ukraine proves defence spending cut would be ‘big mistake’

Rory Stewart, the Chairman of the House of Commons Defence Committee, has said it would be a “big mistake” for spending on Britain’s military to fall below the Nato target of two per cent of the national budget. He warned that recent actions by Russia in Ukraine illustrated that spending needed to be maintained as […]

Should we be worried about Putin’s Russia?

Should we be worried about Putin’s Russia? For fifteen years, the establishment answer has been ‘no.’ Despite a Russian-backed cyber-attack on Estonia in 2007, despite the Russian invasion of Georgia in 2008, despite the assassination of Litvinenko with radioactive plutonium in a Chelsea hotel by the Russian secret service in 2006, Russia has often been […]

The role of air strikes in Iraq

I am writing on the night sleeper, travelling down to Westminster to vote on air-strikes. Emails and texts are hammering into my Blackberry, for and against, from colleagues, constituents, friends, and journalists. The whole Scotland campaign, which absorbed us until last Friday, now seems months in the past. Parliament has been recalled at 24 hours […]

Rory speaks to Channel 4 News from Iraq

Rory Stewart MP and Nadim Zahawi MP speak to Channel 4 News from Iraq. The two MPs are carrying out a fact-finding mission to better understand the situation on the ground, and the ways in which Britain can support.