Prime Minister David Cameron has chaired a meeting, before recalling parliament, which will meet on Friday to approve UK air strikes against the Islamic State. We could be at war by the weekend.
The UK, it now appears will play a large role in this conflict and will join the United States, and as of this morning France, in a bombing campaign against the Islamic State. The UK however, it has been detailed, will be focusing their bombing against Iraq rather than the Syrian targets which have been hit by the Americans thus far. Royal Air Force jets, based in Cyprus, are being prepared to bomb IS targets in Iraq and are being made ready for the moment Cameron gives them the order. Six Tornado GR4 aircraft have been flying reconnaissance missions over northern Iraq and have been equipped with listening devices whilst getting intelligence from Qatar.
Ed Miliband as leader of the opposition has stated he will not support this British military action unless it has been sanctioned and authorised by the United Nations Security Council. “We support the overnight action against ISIL. What needs to happen now is that UN needs to play its part, a UN Security Council resolution to win the international support to counter that threat of ISIL,” he said at a the recent Labour party Conference.
He added in a statement the following day “ISIL is a threat that can’t be turned away from. We’ve said that we need an alliance which is not just a military alliance but a political and diplomatic alliance. How will I judge any proposal? Whether Britain can have an effect, whether we can succeed and whether it is legitimate and lawful. But I am open to the possibility. This is a very grave decision as someone who wants to be the prime minister. Before I commit British combat troops I want to look at what the proposition is and the nature of that proposition.”
The actual agreement for the application of force has already been made by the Prime Minister. The only reason MPs will return to Westminster on Friday will be for a vote that clears the way for RAF planes to join the US, France and a number of Arab states in the region in bombarding IS targets. This will be the second time Cameron has attempted to involve British troops in war; but he hopes this time to avoid the embarrassment caused last year when the House of Commons refused his proposal. Cameron said: “I have requested that Parliament be recalled to debate the UK response to the Iraqi government’s request for support against ISIL. The Speaker has accepted my request to recall Parliament on Friday.”
Ahead of the vote to be held on Friday the United States President Barack Obama stated to the General Assembly that the world should work to “dismantle this network of death”. He continued on by saying that forces such as the militants of ISIL only respond to “the language of force”. He after leaving the Assembly released a statement saying “No God condones this terror. No grievance justifies these actions. There can be no reasoning, no negotiation, with this brand of evil. The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force. So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.”
This language appears to be in line with the rhetoric which the President has been using in order to gather support for another foreign war being conducted by the United States. However President Obama did confirm that there would be “no troops sent to occupy foreign land” which will come as a relief to those who did not wish to see more soldiers tangled in another foreign war which they did not start.
Mr Cameron has also asked MP’s not to “be so frozen with fear that we don’t do anything at all. Isolation and withdrawing from a problem like ISIL will only make things worse. We must not allow past mistakes to become an excuse for indifference or inaction.” He also mirrored his counterpart from the United States saying there would be no “boots on the ground” from the British military only bombing campaigns, training and support for other nations in the area surrounding Iraq and Syria.
The ever increasing likelihood that we will be at war again in the near future does not sound appealing; considering the cost both in money and in human lives over the past few years when fighting other people’s wars. This one though may well be worth it. The religious fanaticism which spurs the members of ISIL to fight against the West has become so vitriolic and has already claimed the lives of so many would be reason enough. This however is about the future of the East. This is about the freedom of religion, no matter what colour or creed you happen to be; the freedom of expression. This is about the safety of our future. If you walked the streets today in the Islamic State as a Christian or a Jew or a Buddhist there is every possibility you would be killed.
The freedom to believe or not believe what we desire is a fundamental right of every human the world over. Nobody should be punished for that. The British government will in all probability vote to begin striking against Iraq. The world will hopefully be a safer place for it in the coming months but one thing will be for sure; it will be freer because we helped make it so.