More atrocities in the Caliphate

 

Islamic extremist forces have captured more territory and are threatening an important city in the north west. A pilot has recently been brutally beheaded. Thousands are now dead as a result of the extremist uprising, and many thousands more have been thrown out of their homes. The black flag flies in many places proclaiming the new Caliphate.

All this is happening in Nigeria with very little western attention. We have not been asked to intervene  militarily to defeat the forces of Boko Haram which now threaten a large part of north western Nigeria. Different standards and considerations seem to apply to Nigeria from those the President of the USA  and his allies apply to Syria.

Those of us who urge caution about our further military engagement in Iraq and possibly Syria need some explanation of why the west ignores these actions in Nigeria, unites to take action in Iraq, and remains split over what to do in Syria.

We also need to know from Mr Obama and his advisers how they see the war in Iraq and Syria developing. Yesterday we were told that it is unlikely that bombardment from air and sea can save Kobani. The forces on the ground who could lift the siege and relieve the city may be unable to win their local war. Kurds there tell the west they do not  have the weapons, and co-ordinating between the ground forces and the many western airforces now capable of bombing the area is clearly difficult. Mr Obama will be under pressure to have more and more troops on the ground short of fighting infantry. There will need to be special forces in case captives can be released, intelligence gatherers, communications experts, people who direct incoming fire and assess damage and accuracy achieved, suppliers of weapons and advice to the local ground forces and many others besides.

It is easy to see how the west drifts into a more dangerous ground war. The more people we put on the ground to help others fight, the more people we have at risk. If the risks miscarry, do we then send in ground troops to retrieve the situation?

I do not see how you can quarter fight a war successfully. To me there are two choices. Cancel more bombing and leave matters to local forces. Or put in enough force to clear Iraq of ISIL forces. I would do the former. The latter draws you into war in Syria as well, and leaves open the huge question of how would you then settle the politics and governments of these huge areas once you had defeated ISIL? How do you avoid creating a power vacuum which other nasty people fill? How do you get the governments of Iraq and Syria into good democratic shape, capable of governing their whole country in a peaceful way with the consent of all the warring groups? The President does have to think through what he will do if bombing is not enough, and if the forces fighting the war on the ground are unable to win. He also needs a good political strategy to win over hearts and minds in the event that local forces do round up or drive out all ISIL miltary people.

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64 Comments

  1. Lifelogic
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 5:42 am | Permalink

    Indeed I agree it is usually all or nothing in wars. As you put it:

    “I do not see how you can quarter fight a war successfully. To me there are two choices. Cancel more bombing and leave matters to local forces. Or put in enough force to clear Iraq of ISIL forces. I would do the former.”

    Even if we did use all our force what guarantee would there be that what followed would be any better and would last. Just look at the history of this region and of wars in general.

    What the by-elections surely show is a Tory deal with UKIP (backing real Tory/UKIP policies) would be hugely popular and could win seats up to and including Heywood from Labour. So labour might have circa 150 and Tory/UKIP the rest – apart from on or two Libdems, a few Irish and perhaps a pleasant (but scientifically deluded) green in Brighton.

    There is a huge majority in the country for controlled & selective immigration (perhaps many working only on time limited licences), lower taxes, cheaper energy, no pointless wars, far less or no EU, a far deal for the English and smaller government all round. Alas Cameron has still not grasped this or perhaps he just prefers to lose again?

    • waramess
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 10:51 am | Permalink

      Maybe a coalition would not necessarily be viewed as a benefit by UKIP should they win enough seats.

      Perhaps allowing one of the other parties to “rule” as a minority party would have a better outcome, particularly as UKIP would not then need to compromise any of their policies.

      This would give them effective control on all matters where acquiescing MP’s of all parties were insufficient to carry through a new policy.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

        I do not think they can possibly win enough seats without some deal.

    • bigneil
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:24 pm | Permalink

      Regarding the “time limited licenses” -nice idea but couldn’t see it working. As soon as the end neared it would be off to a lawyer, human rights claim as the children settled at school/getting lifelong treatment on the NHS etc. -None would go.

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

        Indeed well we need to get out of the ECHR and sort out the legal system and gravy train for largely parasitic Lawyers. It seems the UK spends 8 times as much on legal aid (if I remember correctly) as the French.

        No doubt 50 times as much as they do in Japan and all for nothing in delivering any real justice.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 1:06 pm | Permalink

      It would be a terrible mistake for the leaders of UKIP to enter into any national deal with the leaders of the Tory party, or any other party. At the constituency level, yes, UKIP could very occasionally rather quietly be more selective about whether there should be a UKIP candidate actively competing with a particular individual who was being put up as a candidate by another party, whether that was the Tory party or another party. Would those leading the Tory party ever agree that it should stand aside in a constituency where UKIP clearly had a much better chance of winning the seat from Labour or the LibDems? No, they would not, firstly because they still delude themselves that the Tory party is the natural party of government and it would be beneath their dignity to step aside and not split the vote, but much more importantly because they would much rather have the seat taken by one of the rival pro-EU parties than by UKIP. And the same for those leading the rival pro-EU parties, they would much rather see a seat taken by one of the other pro-EU parties than by UKIP. This is what it all boils down to: three old parties whose leaders are united in having given their primary loyalty to the EU, joined in their opposition of, even hatred of, a new party whose leaders have an undivided loyalty to this country and its people. In May 2015 those old parties will between them put up getting on for 2000 candidates, each of whom will ask to be elected to our national Parliament, but because of the pre-selection and selection procedures adopted by those parties you would be lucky to find even 100 among those nearly 2000 candidates who were actually committed to the sovereignty of that Parliament. The rest will either be indifferent to our national sovereignty and democracy, or they will be actively hostile and will view the UK Parliament as no more than the mechanism by which they can further the legal subjugation of the UK to the EU. UKIP needs to steer well clear of such people and expose them for what they are, and it would cease to be possible for UKIP to do that if it had entered into any kind of electoral pact with any of those corrupt, unpatriotic and anti-democratic national parties sponsoring them.

    • Mondeo Man
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:02 pm | Permalink

      These wars are so often justified because “If we don’t fight terror abroad there will be terror on our streets.”

      Are the billions spent on these wars ever deducted from the economic ‘benefits’ of mass immigration ?

      It is taboo to discuss immigration in anything other than a positive light.

      This is why I am voting UKIP.

  2. sm
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 6:29 am | Permalink

    It appears to me that whatever actions the US and the West take in the Middle East, including INaction, we will be blamed for the disastrous outcome.

    Why don’t we interfere in Nigeria? Well, why haven’t we interfered with Robert Mugabe and his vile tyranny? The Middle East, Africa, Pakistan, India – they all wanted to discard the mantle of the British (and other) Empires, but still want to suck on our teats when difficulties arise.

    The older I get, and the more history I read, the more I realise that there will never be peace in the world, because there will be always be too many fools who positively like stealing, fighting and killing.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:11 am | Permalink

      History can indeed be rather depressing in this way. But there is some cause for hope some progress has been made in much of the world and some world order and legal frameworks. Population growth seems to sort itself out as countries develop. Perhaps try reading the Rational Optimist by Matt Ridley for a rather more optimistic view.

      Technical developments in cheaper energy (probably some more advanced nuclear fission or fusion) could solve many of the pressures for energy, clean water, food, general economic pressures and demand for other resources.

  3. Mike Stallard
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

    Why should it matter to President Obama what we think?

  4. Richard1
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 6:43 am | Permalink

    What’s your view of David Cameron’s argument that ISIL is a direct threat to the UK, and that if it isn’t defeated in Iraq we will have ISIL terrorism here? Have MPs asked to see any of the intelligence leading to this conclusion?

    Reply I think some ISIL people could be a threat to the UK, just as non ISIL terrorists elsewhere can be a threat to the UK. I do not see how military defeat of them is a) going to achieved and b) why thereafter these people are no threat.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:14 am | Permalink

      Your reply is quite right. If anything we have (and still are) augmenting the threat to the UK with the bombing.

    • Richard1
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 9:38 am | Permalink

      Yes I think I agree with that. I heard a very unsatis interview with the Turkish ambassador to NATO the other day. Turkey will not commit any troops – though it is a powerful NATO member on the border with Syria, and apparently won’t even let the US and the UK use its air bases. If local allies behave like this I do not see why we in the UK should take it on ourselves.

      • bluedog
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 10:30 am | Permalink

        Yes, the Turks are as unpredictable as their cousins the Russians. Quite why they were permitted to sign up as partners in the F35 project is a both a complete mystery and an utter folly.

        • forthurst
          Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm | Permalink

          The Turks are by no means unpredictable; they are both opposed to the Syrian government in alliance with Saudi Arabia and Qatar and they are opposed to any policy which would strengthen the Kurds’ claim for an independent state; therefore, they have been actively promoting policies which have given rise to ISIS; furthermore they would not be disconcerted by the ISIS invasion of Kurdish regions provided they kept out of Turkey itself.

          • zorro
            Posted October 11, 2014 at 3:54 pm | Permalink

            Of course, there is no way that ISIS will go into Turkey particularly as a large number of ISIS were trained in bases within Turkey when they were badged as the ‘moderate’ Syrian opposition. Doubtless, they will transfer back to ‘moderate’ when politically convenient….

            zorro

          • bluedog
            Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:15 pm | Permalink

            Fair call. Perhaps ‘untrustworthy’ is a better adjective to describe the Turks. The days when they could be depended upon to hold the south-eastern flank of NATO seem long gone, and their principle motivation is Islamist, as you say. Hence my concern that they share the secrets of a key Western weapons system, the F35, which will equip the RN.

  5. Ex-expat Colin
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:40 am | Permalink

    Vietnam…failed despite bombs and boots thrown at it.

    I think its going to engulf Turkey and that gets to be a problem with NATO. I have a feeling NATO will want to keep out of this. The thought of facing a huge mess in the Middle East and ongoing threat towards Russia seems to be a few risks too far. Russia has not been successful in the ME either.

    It was indicated yesterday on RT that coalition forces outnumber jihadis by about 20 to 1 (30k/600k). Maybe, but the 600k are loosing and likely they are not of the jihadi battle skilled type.

    It would seem to me that special boots are required and Russia needs to help with that as well. Marching line abreast into jihadis isn’t going to work.

    Is it the case that the West is holding out for jihadi munitions to dry up? Slow process but ultimately has big impact.

    The humanitarian issue with refuges is truly appalling. Where are the muslim helpers now….the book directs them on the subject.

    • Gary
      Posted October 12, 2014 at 6:38 am | Permalink

      Russia must help us? !

      Isn’t it already obvious that Russia, the most resource rich country in the world, is our ultimate target? We have been trying for over 150 years to control Russia. Now our insolvent economy is making this quest ever more urgent.

      Piping gas from Qatar through Syria into Europe and cutting off Russian gas is what this is all about.

      Don’t be so naïve.

    • stred
      Posted October 12, 2014 at 7:07 pm | Permalink

      Perhaps some sort of thinking of the sort that these Spads are supposed to do would help. The problem seems to come from the large number of frustrated young men, who do not mind or actively pursue the goal of being killed as martyrs and then having a visit from a large number of virgins. Presumably, the young men believe the virgins will have the same interests. In the case of the Isees from the UK, they may well have had little success with the local girls. “Fancy coming out and desecrating some infidel graveyard” or something along this line probably isn’t the best chat up line.

      Now many older men, of any faith would rather run or have a cup of cocoa when faced with 13 young ladies, but these lads really need to be calmed down. Psychological methods could be tried, for example by dropping an IS version of a Pirelli calendar, but with not too attractive young ladies on the 13 pages, perhaps internet clips, or maybe just drop a beefed up Bromide in the local water supply.

      Blasting them out of existence is bound to be ineffective and very costly.

  6. The PrangWizard
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:53 am | Permalink

    What is your strategy when ISIS cross into Turkey, when under your plan they have been allowed to consolidate their hold where they are? It is thought that the Turkish leader does not wish to help the Kurds because they oppose him, and that he is sympathetic to the ISIS cause. What if he were to do a deal with them and thus parts, if not all, Turkey were to fall under their influence and power? How long after that before they start moving further into Europe? And do we have the strength to oppose them? NATO’s leadership is weak, and without the US is not fully fit to fight, our own army has been cut too far by Cameron and his cronies and is probably not strong enough to provide much more than a token force, as is the case with the RAF. I believe on the other hand that Australia has provided a squadron of aircraft and other forces to the fight. Their Prime Minister has grasped the problem although his nation, unlike parts of Europe is not in danger, and is strong enough to do something worthwhile.

    • bluedog
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

      The Turks face a huge demographic issue. By 2025, or maybe 2050, half the young men in Turkey will be ethnic Kurds, and the Kurds are a people of Iranian descent. One can envisage Turkey shrinking to the same Anatolian borders as the Byzantine Empire after the defeat at Manzikert in 1071.

    • zorro
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

      ISIS will not cross into Turkey but will move South towards Assad… He who pays the piper calls the tune…..

      zorro

  7. Javelin
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 8:44 am | Permalink

    John – we have had 1st, 2nd and 3rd person perspectives. Then this rogue perspective called multi-culturalism came along. Let’s be clear it’s really multi-person perspective. That we’re all equal and that all cultures and systems can integrate. The reality is they can’t so we see religious systems cutting the heads of people, we see economic systems in Europe clashing to create a depression, we see viruses brought out of (Other countries ed) to massive cities.

    Multi culturalism was never anything other than a fudge to try to make globalism work as rapidly as possible to serve the profits of the wealthy. Anybody who ways otherwise is clearly deluded.

    The LibLabCon have swallowed multi culturalism whole, digested it and it runs through them like a stick of rock. (words left out ed) A philosophy that was meant to create harmony has created deep divisions and anger.

    Talk on the trading floors has shifted beyond multi culturalism. Our role is to predict the future. Talk has moved on to estimating the odds of civil strife and even civil war. A paper was circulated looking at key miles stones towards civil war. The conclusion reached by many of us is that the LibLabCon are leading the country to civil war – the basis of their unintended actions is fear of offending a few voters at the expense of the many. The British public are now throwing off the shackles of political correctness – or profiteering by the rich and the immigrants as they now see it.

    My message to the LibLabCon is to put immigration in reverse gear etc ed.

    Reply Multiculturalism is not a new phenomenon. C16 London was a very multicultural place. Shakespeare explores difficult issues of multiculturalism in Othello and The Merchant of Venice because they were live issues then as well. I want to live in a great city where people are free to come and go with their ideas, investments, energy, and do not mind what their religion is or what the colour of their skin is. It does not lead to civil war, and has not done so over the centuries in the UK. The English civil war – or the war of the three crowns as some modern historians call it – was not caused by or about the multiculturalism of contemporary London. I also agree that we need UK democratically determined migration controls, that should be the same for EU and non EU. Mr Carswell has spoken well on migration matters recently.

    • Lifelogic
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 10:52 am | Permalink

      Indeed JR. UKIP and myself are also in favour of sensible, but selective, migration as needed. Alas Cameron does not even want to try to negotiate on free movement of people within the EU regardless of their abilities and needs.

      Reply He does and he is – the government is battling for example over payments of welfare benefits to EU migrants

      • Lifelogic
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:48 pm | Permalink

        That JR, as you must know, is just tinkering – deck chairs on the Titanic stuff, rather pathetic distractions as is the UK bill of rights as currently framed.

        Rather like all the current Ebola distraction/PR/theatrics – lost of people donning their fresh protection outfits for the cameras as if on a cat walk.

        • zorro
          Posted October 11, 2014 at 3:59 pm | Permalink

          Ebola distraction – Indeed….

          zorro

      • Denis Cooper
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 1:11 pm | Permalink

        Battling over a secondary issue which he presents as the primary issue.

      • Hope
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 3:19 pm | Permalink

        There should be no battling, it should be a matter for our Government. You make the point admirably that he asking a higher power for authority to do something that should only be in his gift to grant or refuse. Therein lies your problem, Cameron kowtowing, once more, to the EU tune that we did not elect and should not give our taxes to.

    • forthurst
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 1:14 pm | Permalink

      “C16 London was a very multicultural place.” Really? Both the Merchant of Venice and Othello were set in Venice which is on the Mediterranean; Londoners were no doubt interested in other coutries and cultures, but how does that make them multicultural?

      Reply He wrote about “Venice” but drew on the experience of contemporary London, which is why people went to see his plays.

      • forthurst
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 6:17 pm | Permalink

        “Reply He wrote about “Venice” but drew on the experience of contemporary London, which is why people went to see his plays.”

        That is a very facile answer. Both plays were derived from Italian sources and stand on their own as great drama which is why the works of Shakespeare are universally popular, except of course in England, where schoolchildren are deemed too thick to study their own greatest writer, having to make do with Arthur Miller etc.

    • sm
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 3:31 pm | Permalink

      Javelin-comments on forward thinking and scenarios are not unthinkable in the world we live at presently. Your comments JR however could be considered wishful thinking. What happens if you are wrong?

      Maybe the circumstances are similar – i am not sure the numbers involved are . The current law of the land on treason, the politics , the population dynamics of the youth (of the young fertile) are different. They are the eventual balance of power.

      “I want to live in a great city where people are free to come and go with their ideas, investments, energy, and do not mind what their religion is or what the colour of their skin is.”

      Lets hope different cultures that immigrate to this country continues to agree with this and are intolerant of intolerance and support democracy.

    • zorro
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 4:10 pm | Permalink

      Reply to reply – John, yes to a manner of speaking but you are comparing apples and raisins….

      It was not that multicultural and certainly had nowhere near the number of immigrants we have in proportion to our population from far off lands. Tudor Airlines alas did not exist…. Shakespeare clearly had access to lots of literature and there is debate about how he got that knowledge and if he had travelled abroad or not. Multiculturalism is different from people comimg and going, and exchanging ideas etc…. I can think of a large number of countries with competing ethnic and religious poulations which have had awful civil wars as well as others that haven’t. To say that it does not lead to civil war is a denial of the historical reality. Anyway, who said that the English Civil War was about multiculturalism? No-one is arguing against ‘foreigners’ per se, and I am certainly not amongst that number. What people are arguing against is mass migration which is creating a balkanisation of the indigenous culture which has grown gradually over 1000’s of years (with some integration) and not a couple of decades….

      zorro

  8. ian
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Syira are friends with Russia that why and you know it. Parliament is run by big business and you know that to, it does not matter what the people want. Every budget you have you give money to big business in the way of grants loans and so on, usually about a extra 1.5 billion a year or more. Big business get the money, they get more tax and food bank. That why when Mr Carswell get his message out to the people about what UKIP stand for, that UNITED KINGDOM INDEPENDENT PARLIAMENTARY MEMBER and vote for him is a vote for democracy, that is that they the people can vote and stop this from happening to their money, The three big party will be out of business for good. You to will have to be independent from a party and a party whip. It looks bad to me that the people have to keep giving big business money, when see how much money they pay themselves and they not got the intelligence to run their business without hand out from the poor. They also like holiday let which cost the people out of their tax. 8 billion a year at the last count and all the rest of the peak the last one to date, if you do not touch your pension of 1.25 million you can hand it down your kids tax free and it grows tax free every year on the back of the poor. I suppose you got all this set up for yourself, I do not care about money but to leave people on food banks and poor paying jobs while your lot voting for million more for yourselves with the other two party with buy to let and all of that the labour party MPs love buy to let on the tax. You tell the people that they have never had it so good, while MPs and business leaders are filling up their pockets hoping that the people are not looking.

    • bigneil
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm | Permalink

      You mention people going to foodbanks – this govt does not give a damn how many English are going to them. It does not cost the govt ANYTHING. Someone else buys the food and donates it. The shop is still selling the food, the govt is still taxing the shop’s profit – therefore the govt loses absolutely nothing financially. The govt cares to hand out free lives to thousands of people who have never contributed anything, ( and probably never will) who have only achieved there rise in living standards by walking in here and claiming what our leaders have said they are entitled to. It’s a shame the govt doesn’t care the same for the people who they tax.
      P.S – john -read an article which said the govt are running out of money to pay the state pension, as close as next year – nice to know there are a few million seeing their taxes handed over to those who walk in – but will not receive a penny for 40+ years of work/taxes.

      Reply There is no danger of failing to pay pensions next year!
      The government does care about visits to foodbanks. That is why it has followed policies which have generated a large number of new jobs, and why it has taken so many lower paid people out of paying Income Tax. We want people to be better off and are trying to achieve that.

      • Mondeo Man
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:41 pm | Permalink

        “We want people to be better off and are trying to achieve that.”

        Common sense please.

        How is uncontrolled immigration conducive to a rise in living standards ? Please explain.

        Of pensions. I don’t expect to see my state pension. Big Neil’s statement has the ring of truth. This is a widely held belief – perhaps not next year though.

        People are furious with being treated second class in their own country.

  9. oldtimer
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 8:58 am | Permalink

    If any country is in a position to intervene on the ground in Syria it is Turkey. Yet it declines to do so because it is, apparently, content to see the Kurds across the border in Kobani be ground down and wiped out by IS. If IS attacked Turkey, a NATO member, then treaty obligations would provide a reason for NATO involvement. That seems unlikely but not impossible but what do I know about the mind set of those running IS?

  10. John E
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 9:00 am | Permalink

    We have had Special Forces with air support in Nigeria since May. It was widely reported at the time that they were sent to assist in the search for the 300 kidnapped schoolgirls.
    Also French forces have been in combat in Mali.

  11. Bert Young
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 9:05 am | Permalink

    Us foreign policy has often been misguided and proportioned to best influence its own affairs ; in the Middle East they are committed to Saudi Arabia and , as a result , biassed to oil supplies – who can blame them ? We have followed their directives because we are joined at the hip to their economy and the consequences of not behaving .
    As of this morning , you published 129 responses to your blog following the Clacton result ; once again you decided not to publish my mid-morning effort and I am intrigued to know why ? I was not of the opinion that my views were any more critical than many others – some of whom were “multiple” responders . The only “needle” point I can think of was my quoting Norman Tebbit’s view of Carswell saying ” He regarded him as an honourable man who the Conservatives could ill-afford to lose”. Sorry if this dug beneath the belt but it seemed to me to echo how the vote in Clacton showed the strength of feeling that Cameron was out of kilter with the public .

    • M Davis
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:45 pm | Permalink

      Join the Club!

  12. ChrisS
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    You’re assessment is, I am sure, broadly correct.

    The Americans found at huge cost that they couldn’t win the Vietnam war with one hand tied behind their back and the same applies in the current conflict. Whatever we do in a particular country to help combat the threat from militant Islamists, others will spring up elsewhere. Nigeria being a perfect example.

    They cannot be reasoned with and can only be defeated by the indigenous population defending themselves. The West can do little more than stand by and offer advice and weaponry.

    Incidently, I have always thought that allowing asylum seekers, predominantly young men of fighting age, to take sanctuary in other countries is counterproductive. If they knew they had to stay in their own country they would be likely to contribute to solving the problems at home for the benefit of their fellow citizens.

    We have to accept that, no matter how much money and effort we waste on it, the Middle East is never going to be fertile ground for Western-Style democracy. Can anyone seriously argue that the average family in Iraq is actually better off or safer than they were under Saddam ? I am no admirer or his regime but he would never have allowed IS to gain a foothold in the country.

    If the countries of the Middle East fail to deal with militant Islam themselves, in the end we will have no choice other than to strengthen our own defences at home, pull up the drawbridge with very strong border controls and spend a lot more on our intelligence services. This will inevitably have consequences :

    The sooner we can get away from relying on oil and gas from the Middle East and Russia, the better. As a first step, the countries of the EU should be taking a strategic decision to build many more Nuclear Power Stations to make ourselves self sufficient in energy production within a decade.

    As Electric cars are a technological cul-de-sac we should also construct the necessary infrastructure to switch to vehicles powered by ultra-clean Hydrogen Fuel Cells.

    The Middle East will then no longer be of much strategic importance and the people can live under any kind of Government they are prepared to put up with.

  13. David Murfin
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    The peoples of this region have been fighting each other vigorously for at least 5000 years so there is little prospect of an agreed peace. Starving them of modern weapons and not buying their oil might help bring them to their senses, but that would hit people’s pockets more directly than firing expensive missiles and sending troops.

  14. waramess
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 10:36 am | Permalink

    We can be certain that the coalition efforts will have no other outcome than a resounding defeat in the event they are unable to materially cut off the ISIL funding.

    Saudi and Iran would appear to be secure from ISIL but only for the moment. They both have defence capabilities but then so do each of the countries of the coalition.

    Both Saudi and Iran have much to fear from an advancing ISIL who, after all are a terrorist organisation and who operate in exactly that way so, we should leave them to dwell a little on the threat and how they might deal with it.

    At the same time we should leave each of them to accommodate the fleeing Syrian refugees as best they might for each have the resources to do so.

    A tough decision maybe but, as you rightly point out, we seem to have been quite happy to ignore the situation being played out in Nigeria.

  15. BobE
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 11:34 am | Permalink

    “Why don’t we interfere in Nigeria?”

    Does Nigeria have oil? No. Oh, right. Question answered.

  16. Another old timer
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 11:47 am | Permalink

    The Royal Air Force bombed Iraq in the 1920s. What did that achieve?

  17. Terry
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

    What I do not understand is how and why the IS are doing so well.

    Where are their training grounds and logistic bases? How are they fed and watered and resupplied with ammunition? Why aren’t we and/or the Americans not attacking their supply lines and ammo dumps as would be the case in a conventional war? Or is there a distinct lack of intelligence data even with the help of spy satellites and drones?

    • zorro
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 4:21 pm | Permalink

      There is a lot of data available on this if you care to look. Look up who is buying the oil produced by ISIS and where it is being shipped from… If anyone seriously believes that an ‘army’ of 30,000 (I doubt those figures somehow) can control that area of land in the Middle East against armies many times their size, they are living in cloud cuckoo land… Oh sorry, I remember, they go into battle shouting ‘Allahu Akbar!’ and everyone turns and runs. What nonsense!… If anyone seriously believes that the NSA and GCHQ are not able to use technology to locate these people or have special forces on the ground, then they need to read up on the technology which is available and the billions of dollars spent to develop it…. Well, it depends what the special forces are doing there I guess….

      zorro

  18. M Davis
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 1:00 pm | Permalink

    The British Government needs to curb its desire for fighting in other peoples Countries and get on with policies and actions for defending our own Countries borders.

  19. Denis Cooper
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 1:24 pm | Permalink

    If it is true that the Kurds defending Kobani really are short of the necessary weapons and ammunition to defeat the Islamic State religious fanatics, and they can expect no help from the Turkish government, then the answer seems self-evident. Of course there is the possibility that having provided the Kurdish fighters with better weaponry they would later use it against us or our allies, as happened after the US supplied weapons and training to the mujahideen in Afghanistan to assist them in their fight against the Soviets, but we would have to cross that bridge when we came to it.

    • zorro
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 8:13 pm | Permalink

      ISIS’s weapons supply route could be turned off instead….. I doubt that the Kurds would be any threat to any UK interests, perhaps a little historical enmity with the Turks of course.

      zorro

  20. ian
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 1:57 pm | Permalink

    The real reason the conservative party sacked MRS THATCHE and she saw it coming when she was first elected is because MRS THATCHE would not let the kids around her put their hands in the sweet jar. Q, john major, that why they lost 4 election in a row and they will lose this election as well because they cannot keep their hands out of the sweet jar. After seeing labour in power on the back of house prices for three election with their hand always in the sweet jar, the people are looking elsewhere for a MRS THATCHE and UKIP fit the bill. Sometimes it not all about policy, it what they see.

  21. Rods
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 4:32 pm | Permalink

    When it comes to fighting wars Admiral John Fisher, who was our greatest Admiral after Nelson had it right when he said: “The essence of war is violence. Moderation in war is imbecility.”

    The problem we have with modern wars is that ill informed politicians normally ignore military advice on the where, how and why a war will be fought where political considerations take priority on the basis ‘we must be seen to do something’ and ‘what will lose us the least / gain us the most popularity?’ and in the UK’s case there is also ‘what would we like to do?’ against ‘what can our eviscerated armed forces actually do?’.

    The war is then fought on political terms with the military having to work within these constraints. The result is half-hearted tactics with not enough force used to be decisive, with no overall credible plan and most of all no clear objectives and exit strategy. The latter is the most important and needs to include not only how we will win the war but also how you are going to win the peace. Without knowing how you are going to win the peace, all of the former are generally a waste of time, money, ordinance and most of all lives!

    President Obama has made the criterion for fighting against ISIL, ‘that it must be different to what my predecessor did’ which means no ground forces (madness!) thus showing again what we already know, that when it comes to military and foreign policy actions, he is a total tactical and strategic incompetent fool. Unfortunately, his and our enemies aren’t which is why Putin is being so successful with his invasion of Ukraine, where the US, UK and EU have essentially given him a free hand to do whatever he wants in Eastern Europe. As a very minimum this includes: Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania along with several of the ‘-stan’ countries. This is particularly shameful for the US and UK with Ukraine where they have abandoned their obligations under the Budapest Agreement. In the Middle East, despite the half-hearted actions by the US and to an even lessor extent by the US badly equipped allies, ISIL are still winning. ISIL might not have the equipment of the allies by they have the vision and will for what they want to achieve, however distasteful this is to our ‘civilised normals’!

    IMO in life: Force and Success = Equipment x Skill x Will If the ‘Will’, like our fight against ISIL, is near to zero, then so will be the ‘Force’ and ‘Success’.

    • Denis Cooper
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      “This is particularly shameful for the US and UK with Ukraine where they have abandoned their obligations under the Budapest Agreement.”

      Wrong, our obligations under that agreement are only to refrain from attacking Ukraine, and do not extend to defending Ukraine against attack by Russia.

      As can be seen here, courtesy of the Poles:

      https://www.msz.gov.pl/en/p/wiedenobwe_at_s_en/news/memorandum_on_security_assurances_in_connection_with_ukraine_s_accession_to_the_treaty_on_the_npt?printMode=true

      • Rods
        Posted October 11, 2014 at 9:16 pm | Permalink

        Item 4 is open to interpretation, but I take this as action in securing the integrity of the borders of Ukraine.

    • zorro
      Posted October 11, 2014 at 8:18 pm | Permalink

      ‘ISIL might not have the equipment of the allies’…. I think that you will find that they are remarkably well supplied, and particularly with armaments made in the USA……

      zorro

  22. ian
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 4:36 pm | Permalink

    I have been reading the papers today and everybody got if wrong MR CARSWELL has join UKIP as a independent MP for Clacton to vote as they want him to vote on their behalf. He has stated he has no packed with UKIP or any other party only Clacton votes with full recall. He will not be bribed.

  23. CHRISTOPHER HOUSTON
    Posted October 11, 2014 at 7:06 pm | Permalink

    To many countries it must seem the UK and US plus whoever else they can rope into the game are like neighbours from Hell. Big family, decides to play soccer in their own back garden but becomes boisterous, argumentative, knocks down the washing, kicks the ball into neighbouring properties, goes after it, knocks on doors and runs away then they moves into the front garden and street, a cul-de-sac…still close to their own house and kicks the ball every which-way, banging into neighbours’ cars until frustrated people tell them to move on whereupon they go 50 yards down the street and begin all over again.
    Answer: take the ball away from the UK and US and never let them play with it again. Also regarding buying them a drum for Christmas…don’t go there!

    Seriously. So Britain and the US do not like ISIS. Well no doubt ISIS does not like Britain or US either. Such is the repetitive theme of Anglo-US wars. “We’re the goodies and they are the baddies who rape our women, and generally are bad eggs.” In global wars the US, UK and Russia virtually wrote the history: The Winners write the history!” Unfortunately, in the Middle East, now, the US, UK (and let’s not leave Russia out ) are not winning, cannot win.
    It is written.

  24. Lindsay McDougall
    Posted October 12, 2014 at 1:34 pm | Permalink

    The creation of a Caliphate and the nature of ISIL are two different issues. Why would Sunni Moslems want to live in two separate States, Syria and Iraq, whose borders were defined by France and Britain, and whose current Governments do not much care for them? The desire for a Caliphate and the redrawing of borders is entirely understandable. [Just as an aside, how many people think that Bosnia exists in anything but name].

    etc ed.

  25. lojolondon
    Posted October 12, 2014 at 6:43 pm | Permalink

    John, you are dead right here. The sad truth is that Obama, Cameron and the MSM don”t care about Boko Haram because their victims are poor and black and there’s no oil.

  • About John Redwood


    John Redwood won a free place at Kent College, Canterbury, and graduated from Magdalen College Oxford. He is a Distinguished fellow of All Souls, Oxford. A businessman by background, he has set up an investment management business, was both executive and non executive chairman of a quoted industrial PLC, and chaired a manufacturing company with factories in Birmingham, Chicago, India and China. He is the MP for Wokingham, first elected in 1987.

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