As Shia militias battle for Ramadi, is current UK military intervention against IS sufficient?
Simon Mabon is a lecturer in international relations at Lancaster University and a research associate at The Foreign Policy Centre, says Yes
Since last summer, RAF fighters have participated in an international coalition created to defeat Islamic State (IS), dropping some 200 bombs. After the gains made by IS in recent days, the US-led coalition has increased the number of air strikes on targets, but to little avail. While the domestic appetite for increased military involvement in Iraq and Syria is largely absent, the need for a more creative response grows, as the campaign cannot be won solely by an external coalition. Greater support for actors on the ground is needed to help defeat the group, while also ensuring that IS is unable to cultivate support from groups across Iraq and Syria, who perceive that they have few options to ensure their safety from other militias. Ultimately, the coalition needs to provide military assistance to the Iraqi army and to Haider al-Abadi’s government, in their quest to retain Iraq’s sovereignty.
Tom Wilson is resident associate fellow at the Centre for the New Middle East at The Henry Jackson Society, says No
As Islamic State (IS) militants advanced on Ramadi on Friday, it was clear that the limited airstrike operations being carried out have been completely insufficient. Since intervention began, there have only been a relatively small number of strikes by British aircrafts and unmanned drones, and these will never be enough to comprehensively defeat IS. But more importantly, the fact that UK operations against IS exclude Syria and are restricted to Iraq means that Britain is currently unable to play a decisive role in combating the Islamist militants. Given the appalling atrocities committed by IS against Christians and many others who have had the misfortune of falling into their hands, there is now a moral imperative for the West to crush this group once and for all. Without intervention in the parts of Syria where IS is strongest, it will be all the harder to stop it in Iraq – or anywhere else, for that matter.