Islamist threat in Iraq will only grow if we are weak
However weary of Iraq we may be, Britain has a duty to intervene to prevent the genocide of Christians and the other victims of an Islamist threat that won't go away just because we can't be bothered to get serious
The news that the government has ruled out recalling parliament ‘for the moment’ over the Islamic State crisis is yet another sign of Britain’s increasingly lacklustre and disturbingly passive approach to genocide.
The lack of action over the massacres of Christians and other minorities in Iraq comes nearly a year after we failed to intervene in Syria, where President Bashar al-Assad was using chemical weapons against civilian targets, leaving children with napalm burns and in clear violation of international laws.
To his credit, David Cameron showed great courage and strong leadership over Syria, doing the right thing by recalling Parliament, delivering a passionate speech and call to action. But this action was thwarted by Labour leader Ed Miliband in probably the most revolting display of political opportunism in his career, with Cameron losing the vote and being unable to support the United States.
I said at the time that this disgusting and dishonourable behaviour from Ed Miliband was made all the worse by reports that he had previously indicated he would support Cameron in the vote, only to change his mind and engineer a crushing defeat for the purposes of personal political gain.
It was that single, selfish sabotaging of the Syria vote that has left the government in paralysis over Iraq and has left our credentials as a country that takes a moral stance and necessary action in tatters. The Syria vote also sent a clear message out to Islamic State terrorists that the West was in no position to intervene, suffering a crisis of confidence to take and action and do the right thing.
The first and foremost reason why Britain and the United States need to intervene in Iraq with military force is the humanitarian crisis, with many thousands of minorities being beheaded in the streets or crucified.
So far, the UK has only played a minor, albeit critical, role in the distribution of aid and emergency supplies to the refugees who have been forced from their homes by this incredibly violent organisation. It has been left to the United States, under the frighteningly indecisive leadership of President Obama to launch a series of airstrikes to help keep the Islamic State forces back.
In my opinion, limited airstrikes are the very least we should be doing, for a country in the grip of an organisation so bloodthirsty and evil it could create its own terrorist state.
There is also a very clear national security case for taking action against the Islamic State movement. Already this organisation controls a third of Syria and about a quarter of Iraq, building a terrorist infrastructure much more dynamic and extensive than al Qaeda.
They have also amassed significant weaponry and financial assets, whether from the fleeing Iraqi army or funding from the wealth of oil wells captured during the fighting. The Islamic State’s ability to force conversion to Islam and indoctrinate a culture of extreme violence means that if we allow this new terrorist organisation to gain a foothold, there will be many more terrorists seeking training which will put Britain at risk.
Former Cabinet Minister Sir Malcolm Rifkind summarised the passive approach to genocide which is so prevalent in our country recently when he said, “There is no need for the recall of Parliament in such circumstances.”
I completely disagree with him. There is every reason to recall Parliament over such a serious international issue where so many Christians are being massacred. The fact that our elected representatives are sunning themselves on the beach and relaxing whilst such a grotesque and lethal terrorist threat is committing mass murder tells you everything you need to know about the modern politics of apathy.
Britain has a duty to intervene in Iraq, whatever the cost may be. We owe it to the many thousands of Christians and other minorities who have lost their lives and we owe it to those innocent people who will soon be indoctrinated and oppressed by the Islamic State fanatics.
Sitting back and doing nothing is a morally indefensible option. It brings shame on our country and will put our national security at risk for a generation.
Clare-George Hilley is a Contributing Editor to The Commentator and a former Conservative councillor in Croydon
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