UK joins the fight against ISIS

Given the non-binding vote in the House of Commons this week a piece notes that the UK has not begun to bomb Syrian ISIS targets “David Cameron sought Wednesday to reclaim Britain’s role as America’s wingman in the war on terror, securing parliamentary approval over a fragmented Labour Party for the United Kingdom to join the U.S.-led air assault against the Islamic State in Syria. The decision marked an important political victory for Cameron, who was humiliated more than two years ago for failing to win enough domestic support to launch airstrikes and punish Syrian President Bashar al-Assad for using deadly chemical weapons against his own people in the country’s civil war”.

The report goes on to make the point that “The conservative British leader’s case for war gained ground in the weeks following the Islamic State’s claim of responsibility for the Nov. 13 terror attacks in Paris that killed 130. It also came as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged NATO members to increase their military commitments to the fight against the Islamic extremists. “We should answer the call from our allies,” Cameron said at the opening of Parliament’s hours-long debate on the use of force in Syria. He noted that the extremist group’s execution of British hostages in Syria, and its plots to commit “atrocity after atrocity” on the streets in Britain demanded a military response”.

The report goes on to mention “Following the 397 to 223 vote in Parliament, President Barack Obama praised Britain, saying it has been one of America’s “most valued partners in fighting ISIL.”  We look forward to having British forces flying with the coalition over Syria, and will work to integrate them into our Coalition Air Tasking Orders as quickly as possible,” he said. It was the most assertive response by a Western government since France stepped up its airstrikes against the Islamic State last month”.

The piece adds “World powers are seeking to move closer to an international agreement on a political transition in Syria. Saudi Arabia is organising a conference of Syrian opposition leaders in Riyadh in the coming weeks aimed at unifying the group’s overall message. On Tuesday, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power was cautiously upbeat, telling reporters at U.N. headquarters that “we have not seen this kind of momentum around the diplomatic and political track in a very long time, and arguably ever.” On the same day, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken told a Washington forum hosted by Foreign Policy that that the chances of crafting a political transition in Syria were better than “at any time during this crisis.” And Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova told the Associated Press that Moscow is more determined than ever to reach a consensus on a list of “terrorist” groups in Syria before the next round of talks, tentatively expected to take place later this month in Vienna or London”.

The article continues “Kerry stopped short of outlining specific commitments from member nations that have yet to gain final approval from their capitals. He said new contributions wouldn’t necessarily include ground troops or direct fighting; rather, countries could supply medical facilities, refueling services, and intelligence gathering — an easy out for nations that do not want to be drawn directly into combat. “There are many things that countries can do,” he said. Kerry also held the door open to Russia broadening its cooperation against the Islamic State in Syria. Moscow can be an “extremely constructive and important player in reaching a solution to this current crisis,” Kerry said. “And I think the world would welcome that kind of cooperative effort.” Concerns about maintaining broad international participation against ISIS spiked after Ankara last week shot down a Russian warplane that entered Turkey’s airspace, the first time a NATO member downed a Russian jet since the 1950s. The United States has worked quickly to lower tensions in the dispute, offering notably measured support for Ankara while urging both sides to engage in dialogue”.

The writers go on to  note “prospects for closer cooperation with Russia encountered fresh strains with NATO’s decision to invite Montenegro to the alliance. That defied Moscow’s long-held complaint that expanding NATO’s footprint into the Balkans is “irresponsible” and would erode trust between Russia and Western powers. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg called Montenegro’s inclusion “the beginning of a very beautiful alliance.” In an angry response, Russian presidential spokesman Dmitry Peskov warned that NATO’s “continued eastward expansion … cannot but result in retaliatory actions from the East, i.e., from the Russian side, in terms of ensuring security and supporting the parity of interests.” In the past, Britain’s inability to secure parliamentary support for military operations with the United States has raised questions about London’s reliability as an ally. Skepticism over combat has lingered in Britain since the U.S.-led overthrow of Saddam Hussein — without U.N. Security Council authorisation — based on the false pretext that the late Iraqi strongman was building an arsenal of weapons of mass destruction”.

Pointedly it ends “Britain’s military prowess also has been diminished by defence cuts; the army alone is projected to be pared down to as little as 50,000 troops over the next four years. Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, an anti-war proponent who is proving unpopular with key factions in his own party, denouncedCameron’s military plans Wednesday before the House of Commons as a “reckless and half-baked intervention,” and an “ill-fated twist in the never-ending war on terror.” Critics also have questioned whether Britain and other members of the coalition of more than 60 nations against the Islamic State have the legal authority to intervene militarily in Syria, given that Assad has not asked them for help. British officials claim the United Nations’ charter, which allows member states to use force in self-defense, provides sufficient legal basis as long as the Islamic State continues to plot against or attack U.K. interests. They also point to a French-drafted U.N. Security Council resolution that calls on member states to use “all necessary measures” to eradicate ISIS’s safe havens in Syria”.


One Response to “UK joins the fight against ISIS”

  1. Order and Tradition Says:

    […] the beginning of UK bombing of ISIS a interesting piece in the Economist argues that the Left must reject anti-Western notions prevalent […]

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