Liam Fox on Islamic State: Ruling Out Troops is Mistake
Former Secretary of Defence, Liam Fox claimed that ruling out British troops in Syria was a “mistake” by the West
In an exclusive interview with WNOL Investigaes, Fox said that the war against extremist group Islamic State will not be won by mere air strikes alone and important tactics on the ground need to be put in place if UN forces are to suppress the Islamic State.
In 2010, fox was appointed defence secretary but resigned his position in October 2011 over allegations that he had given a close friend, lobbyist Adam Werritty, access to the Ministry of Defence and allowed him to join official trips overseas.
Now, the local minister for North Somerset feels more force is needed to suppress the extremist group spreading through the Middle East.
Fox said: “In terms of military action against them, having ruled out ground troops which I think is a mistake by the west because I don’t think we can win the war by the air,
“We have a UN obligation to prevent the slaughter of innocent civilians.”
Fox’s claims support those of Tony Blair when the former PM told the BBC, “Unless you’re prepared to fight these people on the ground, you may contain them but you won’t defeat them.” But Western nations have proved reluctant to engage ground troops in Syria and Iraq.
The US, Germany and Britain have ruled out the use of troops on the ground against IS with many more following suit. UK public opinion agrees with a majority saying the UK should not send troops overseas, a YouGov poll found in late September.
The Islamic State have grasped the attention of the West and the UK in particular with national figures claiming that over 600 jihad fighters have left the UK to bare arms with IS.
Following recent reports of many extremist returnees from conflict in the Middle East, Fox believes that hard-line methods should be used in order to deal with travelling fighters.
Fox said: “If they have fought, if British Civilians have taken up arms with ISIS that should be regarded as treason and they should go to jail,
“They are a threat to our national security and they should not be allowed to integrate back into the population. You can’t take a sabbatical from civilisation and you can’t have a jihad gap year and come home.”
Last month, Home Secretary Theresa May announced the UK’s new anti-terror legislation. Aimed at returning jihadists, the bill puts closer restrictions on suspected jihadist and gives officials the power to seize the passports of terror suspects.
Fox claimed that these were the, “right measures” and, despite reports of over 250 returnees from holy war in Syria and Iraq, “our intelligence teams are on top of the task.”
The North Somerset councilman also stated that the war against IS had ideological roots as well as physical concerns and that in many cases jihadist foreign fighters do not know the full extent of what they are getting involved in.
Fox said: “We must spend more time trying to win in the cultural ideological space and not just the physical battleground,
“The dissefected youth always has an attraction towards rebels whether or not they understand what they do. What is rather more worrying is people who understand what ISIS is about and still sympathise with them.”
Picture: Tech. Sgt. Michele A. Desrochers @ Wikimedia Commons