The west has intervened in the Middle East in recent years on the grounds that parts of that area harbour terrorists who might or have taken action in western cities. The intervention builds on a long standing western wish to intervene which has in the past depended more on access to the oilfields and oil supplies of that prolific oil producing territory.
The first priority of a new UK strategy should be to create energy self sufficiency at home, to reduce our concern for and need of Middle Eastern supplies. A suitable combination of new gas and oil production, new technology use of coal, higher degrees of fuel efficiency and thermal insulation and sensible renewables which work when you need them rather than when the wind blows could combine to produce an independent UK within a decade.
The second priority should be to tackle terrorist tendencies at home through better border controls, intelligence led activities against potential criminals, and programmes to engage with those most likely otherwise to seek adventure through violence. Some of this is happening anyway as part of the government’s policy, but the tougher and more intelligent control of borders is an important part of winning.
The third priority is to offer help to those states and groups who wish to promote or support democracy. Much of this entails diplomatic and educational work, offering training and support.
Military intervention should be the last resort and unusual. Rescuing Kuwait from an unwelcome invasion was a sensible use of western force, which liberated the country relatively easily and acted as a warning to other wannabe Middle Eastern invaders. Seeking to become embroiled in Sunni/Shia disputes or in civil wars over what constitutes the true borders of a given Middle Eastern country is neither easy nor productive in most cases.