I've been reading the arguments about aerial intervention against ISIS in Iraq. I agree with the present proposals, Iraq has asked for help and it should be given where we can, although I have considerable doubt as to what can be achieved from the air. There are times that I suspect that a good old-fashioned Spitfire, using its cannons, could achieve more against a scattered mobile enemy than the latest high-tech bombs.
Syria is a totally different matter; Assad may be a nasty piece of work, but his election as president was at least as legitimate as many others around the world whom we are happy to tolerate. Our intervention against another nasty dictator in Libya has hardly been a roaring success. The fact is that past dictators throughout the Middle and Near East maintained reasonable calm for most ordinary people as long as they kept out of politics, and what has replaced them is largely chaos.
The problems, of course go, back to the time that the British and French carved up the middle east by drawing lines on a map and creating countries which took no account of tribal, ethnic or religious boundaries. It's a bit late now to do anything about it, but I would certainly favour the establishment of a proper Kurdish state if this could be achieved.
My main concern, however, is that the government does not appear to have done much within this country to improve our security from insider attacks. To me, the scandal in Rotherham serves to illustrate how scared our authorities are to do something which might upset the Muslim population, and one fears that they could be looking the other way with regards to security issues just as they did with abuse. Preventing potential jihadists from leaving the country by withdrawing passports hardly seems a solution, and stamping something across their passports like "Not Valid for Entry into UK" would seem a more sensible approach, even if it is against EU law. Forcing these potential jihadists to stay in the country surely increases the risk of terrorist action by these dissidents.
According to the Mail, the government has agreed to buy 20 Tomahawk missiles at a cost of over a million pounds each for use against ISIS. As I noted above, it is hard to see how these would be of much use against a scattered enemy, and seems to illustrate the problems of using high-tech weapons against a low-tech enemy, and I suspect that they will be no more use against ISIS than they would have been against the IRA in Northern Ireland.
My view, for what it is worth, is that the £20,000,000 would have provided better protection for UK residents if it had been spent on the security services and improved border control.
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