Skip to comments.British Troops Returning to Iraq 'Shouldn't Be Ruled Out' as Extremism Continues
Posted on 06/14/2014 11:40:09 AM PDT by nickcarraway
BRITAIN should not rule out sending troops to volatile Iraq, a former defence secretary has said as extremists continue to take control of parts of the country.
Islamic militants are now dangerously close to Baghdad and today Iran offered to join forces with arch-rival America in a bid to stop the rampage.
The US and UK have so far ruled out putting western boots on the ground and Liam Fox said he understood the extreme reluctance by Barack Obama and David Cameron.
But he added the option should remain on the table as a victory for the militants in the bloody insurgency would be potentially catastrophic.
Last night Dr Fox told Newsnight: "There will be an extreme reluctance by any Western governments to do so but I don't think at the moment, given the potential consequences of ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant) success, that anything can be ruled out at this stage."
Islamist militants have taken control of two major Iraqi cities - Mosul and Tikrit - and hundreds of people may have been killed in the last few days according to the UN. Up to 500,000 people have fled.
The ISIS group has been advancing in both Iraq and neighbouring Syria, capturing territory in what appears to be a campaign to set up a militant enclave straddling the border.
Today Irans President Hassan Rouhani suggested he would be willing to co-operate with the USA - Iran's traditional adversary to stop ISIS taking control of its neighbour.
This should be a wake-up call: Iraq's leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises in order to bring the country together Barack Obama In a televised address on Saturday morning Mr Rouhani said Iran would be willing to go to Iraqs assistance and added: "We all should practically and verbally confront terrorist groups."
Today groups of men in Baghdad have been storing up weapons and vowing to defend the capital.
Earlier on Saturday, insurgents seized the small town of Adeim in Diyala province, meaning the militants are just 60 miles north of Baghdad.
Prime minister Nouri al-Maliki has been widely criticised for fuelling the sectarian divide in Iraq by openly favouring the majority Shia population at the expense of the Sunnis.
Iraq's top Shia cleric has issued a call to Iraqis to do their "duty" to fight the insurgency amid reports of atrocities being committed by ISIS.
Dr Fox added: "The question in the coming days will be whether Maliki can rise up as a statesman at this late stage, whether the Iraqi military - given all the investment that has been made in their equipment and training - can fight back.
"That remains to be seen and then I think this situation will have to be watched very closely by the international community because the price of failure ... to confront and defeat ISIS could be catastrophic and felt well beyond the region."
"I do agree that it does look as though the Iraqi government are beginning some sort of fightback, notwithstanding the pretty pathetic efforts of their forces so far.
"We have seen them in the past being able to take on insurgents and they will hopefully be able to do so again."
Foreign secretary William Hague said the Government might offer counter-terrorism expertise to the Iraqi Government.
ISIS militants posted a video on social media of the scene at the border of Iraq and Syria [AP]
Head of the UN mission in Iraq, Nickolay Mladenov visits a northern Iraqi refugee camp in Ebril city [EPA]
Mr Obama is considering a range of military options short of sending ground forces back to the country which they withdrew in 2011. They are thought to include air strikes - to boost Baghdad's efforts to counter the insurgents' drive.
He said any action taken must be joined by a "serious and sincere" effort from Iraq's leaders.
He said: "We can't do it for them and in the absence of this type of political effort, short-term military action, including any assistance we might provide, won't succeed.
"So this should be a wake-up call: Iraq's leaders have to demonstrate a willingness to make hard decisions and compromises in order to bring the country together."
He added: "We are not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we are there, we are keeping a lid on things and, after enormous sacrifices by us, as soon as we are not there suddenly people start acting in ways that are not conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country."
The crisis in Iraq is also expected to dominate a meeting of the National Security Council chaired by Prime Minister David Cameron next week.
Speaking after talks on Iraq with US secretary of state John Kerry in London, Mr Hague said Britain's three priorities were to see Iraqi security services stabilise the situation, for Iraq's leaders to show "a united response to this brutal aggression" and urgent help for those fleeing the violence.
A team from the Department for International Development is in northern Iraq to see what humanitarian help the UK can offer.
The Foreign Office has ordered Brits to leave the district of Ramadi and Fallujah in Anbar province, and to the whole of Ninewah and Salah-ad-Din provinces immediately.
It also advises against all but essential travel to the rest of Iraq except the Kurdistan region, adding that there is a high threat of terrorism including kidnapping.
Those intending to travel to places the FCO advises against should employ a professional security company.
Britain is to give £3 million of aid to Iraq as the first step in dealing with the humanitarian consequences of the bloody insurgency by Islamist extremists.
International Development Secretary Justine Greening said the initial tranche of emergency cash would allow agencies to supply water, sanitation, medicine, hygiene kitsand basic household items.
Obama is a strict Sunni supporter, he is a scion of the Saudi King, a protege and retainer to the Saudi Royal family (AKA a step and fetch for the House of Saud).
Obama will never join with Iran to fight against the Sunnis.
If hwe does it will only be to act as a double agent for the Saudis. Obama right now is trying to figure out a way to support the so called Government of the State of Syria and the Levant, an army that Obama has armed and supplied in Syria already.It would not surprise me if Obama is actually
running a CIA operation to assist the attack on Iraq by these self created pirates.
As to the Kurds, Obama will likely bring drone strikes upon them, because they are interfering with the Sunni resurgeance in Iraq.
“We are not going to allow ourselves to be dragged back into a situation in which, while we are there, we are keeping a lid on things and, after enormous sacrifices by us, as soon as we are not there suddenly people start acting in ways that are not conducive to the long-term stability and prosperity of the country.”
Obama built this all by himself!!!
Nothing will be achieved until we recognized that ISIS and others do not represent some mutant form of Islam but Islam itself.
Some can argue that ISIS is Islam and all the rest is mutant.
Bush set us back 25 years in properly dealing with reality with his “peaceful, friendly religion” BS immediately post-9/11.
Nowhere within Islam to we ever see any mass protests against the atrocities of the "extremists". Their silence gives implied consent. I would argue that the others, rather than being a mutant Islam, are a dormant Islam waiting for the right opportunity to impose Islam on other.
Tyler MacKenzie was one of the first Americans to be killed in Iraq. He is buried in the Memorial Gardens right across the highway from where I live.
Wonder what he'd have to say about this.
Religion is secondary to the good life and money
What’s Hagel going to do? A gay disco outreach program probably won’t win over ISIS. Perhaps if they brought along a few goats?
Oops wrong tab - lol!