Iraq:Written question - 219723

Asked by Mr Tom Watson
(West Bromwich East)

Registered Interest

Indicates that a relevant interest has been declared.

Asked on: 05 January 2015
Ministry of Defence
To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will place in the Library a copy of his Department's policy on the disclosure of information concerning lethal strikes in Iraq.
Answered by: Mr Mark Francois
Answered on: 02 March 2015
Holding answer received on 15 January 2015

Our policy on the disclosure of information regarding air strikes by Royal Air Force aircraft engaged on Operation Shader in Iraq is that the detail of each individual strike is carefully considered against the necessary constraint of maintaining operational security, but our over-riding principle is to seek to place information on each strike in the public domain in a prompt and timely manner.

This is consistent with, and a continuation of, Ministry of Defence practice for any operational information. It reflects the necessity for the Armed Forces of a democracy such as the UK not just to conduct military operations in a highly disciplined, careful and proportionate manner within the rule of law, but to demonstrate transparency and accountability for such activity. The need for this is all the more important when the military operations are being conducted against a terrorist organisation such as ISIL which wholly disregards the rule of law and relies on a perverted ideology and deceitful propaganda. This policy has been followed ever since the start of air strike operations in support of the Iraqi authorities, following the Parliamentary vote on 26 September. The primary channel for publishing this information is the Government website, and the information thus disclosed has been regularly reported in the British and international media.

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