Defence Committee report confirms UK must step up fight against Islamic State


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The Henry Jackson Society welcomes today’s UK Defence Committee report examining Britain’s current operations in Iraq, which makes clear the need for a greater military presence in the country if we are to defeat the Islamic State (IS).

The report, to which HJS Research Fellow Robin Simcox submitted evidence, is right to recognise that the failure to define the UK’s role in the conflict has had a detrimental impact on our capability to take on IS. Key findings closely resemble HJS’ own research into the limited impact of the first 100 days of UK airstrikes.

The report correctly highlights Britain’s unfortunate over-reliance on US firepower and the imbalance between the rhetoric on fighting IS and our actual military commitment. However, HJS continues to assert the clear necessity of defeating IS, and is alarmed at containment being mooted as a strategy. Furthermore, the Defence Committee should have been far clearer in defending the legality of intervention in Iraq, for which there is an entirely legitimate framework – as laid out in HJS’ previous report The Legal Case for British Military Action Against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

Research Fellow Robin Simcox commented: “The Defence Committee is correct to point out the necessity of the UK’s military engagement in Iraq. We must comprehensively defeat Islamic State and will have to step up our own contribution to do so. There are helpful suggestions on how the UK can do so in this report, though there is still more that can be done.

“Ultimately, Islamic State cannot be defeated without a military approach that expels them from their territory in both Syria and Iraq.”


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