Former UK Defence Secretary Says Re-Invasion of Iraq is Possibility
The possibility of sending British troops back to Iraq should not be ruled out, according to former Defence Secretary Liam Fox. Mr Fox told the BBC's Newsnight programme that, given the treat ISIS poses, Western leaders may want to send in troops at a later date.
BBC News reports that the former Defence Secretary also condemned the response from the Iraqi army as "pathetic", and when asked to rule out putting "boots on the ground" he said:
"There will be an extreme reluctance by any western governments to do so.
"But I don't think at the moment, given the potential consequences of ISIS success, that anything can be ruled out at this stage."
He added: "The question in the coming days will be whether [Iraqi Prime Minister] Maliki can rise up as a statesman at this late stage."
Many Sunni Muslims in Iraq accuse Mr Maliki, who is a Shia, of discrimination against them. The ISIS insurgents have been able to tap into this resentment and spread rapidly across the country. They regard the country's Shia majority as "infidels".
Iraq's most senior Shia cleric has now called for the population to take up arms against ISIS, while US President Barack Obama said that they "could pose a threat eventually to American interests".
Western leaders have so far ruled out sending troops back to Iraq, however. On Thursday, Foreign Secretary William Hague said there was "no question" of British soldiers returning to the country, saying: We left Iraq in the hands of elected Iraqi leaders with armed forces, with their own security forces, so it’s primarily for them to deal with."