The Henry Jackson Society welcomes the debate Members of Parliament will be having later today on extending air strikes against Islamic State into Syria, and for a vote which will decide whether Britain will finally participate alongside our coalition allies in targeting IS in its heartland.
Over the past three years, HJS has been consistent in laying out the reasons as well as the legal case for why British military action should take place against Islamic State in Syria as well as Iraq. The IS attacks in Paris last month as well as plots in the west are a reminder that the jihadists are actively plotting against European targets including Britain. Destroying Islamic State is a key national security objective for the UK.
Dr Alan Mendoza, Executive Director at HJS says: “The UK is already engaged in air strikes against IS in neighbouring Iraq. But some of the major IS command and control points are located within Syria. For us to take an arbitrary approach when IS itself does not take account of this border when pursuing its nefarious activities means that our campaign against it cannot be as effective as it would be with full freedom of manoeuvre.
“Strategically, we need to end IS’s control of its territory in both Iraq and Syria in order to drive it back into the shadows from where it emerged. We cannot do that by only air striking in Iraq.”
Our recent report Destroying Islamic State, Defeating Assad: A Strategy for Syria lays out how the Assad regime aided the growth of IS, which now threatens the West. The most comprehensive study to date proposed a plan for how to draw the Syria war to a close, calling for David Cameron MP to lead and:
- Ignore the Iraq-Syria border and engage IS’ centre of gravity in Syria
- Formulate a political transition in Syria by removing Assad
- Restrain and where possible reverse Iranian power and influence
- Not rely on Kurdish forces outside of Kurdish areas
- Increase support to vetted opposition Sunni groups and tribes
While welcoming the parliamentary debate, HJS is calling for the role of Bashar al-Assad to not be overlooked and for him to be removed; as well as for western leaders to work on a post-war reconstruction plan for the country.