Tony Blair says the West must be prepared to use ground troops to counter the Islamic State
The West must be prepared to send ground troops to fight the Islamic State, former Prime Minister Tony Blair has said.
The former Labour Prime Minister said ground forces could be needed to "confront and defeat the terrorists" as otherwise the West risks more terror attacks in Europe of "such size and horror" that will result in many more victims and lead to strict and extensive security measures being warranted.
Writing in the Sunday Times, Blair said that local forces could be used against Isis in Iraq, Syria and Libya. However, he said western ground forces would eventually be required to overcome Isis as it sought to create a caliphate.
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"We must build military capability able to confront and defeat the terrorists wherever they try to hold territory. This is not just about local forces. It is a challenge for the west. Ground forces are necessary to win this fight and ours are the most capable," Blair wrote.
"We can use local allies in the fight, but they need equipment and where they need active, on-the-ground, military support from us, we should give it. They [Isis] have to be crushed," Blair continued.
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Blair said there needs to be a "fundamental change of strategy" in defeating Isis. As well as force, there must be efficient co-operation between intelligence agencies, an effective system to processing refugees, and education that promotes religious tolerance as well as effective aid and development policy, he wrote.
While a coalition of countries have launched airstrikes against Isis, allied countries have thus far not deployed ground troops, other than to train local forces.
Meanwhile, Syrian government forces were today reported by state media as having recaptured the ancient city of Palmyra from Isis.