The British government is hoping that UN talks next week will provide the much-needed agreement for a military campaign against the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Prime Minister David Cameron will use his address to the UN’s general assembly to call for a multi-national coalition against the group, something that would likely lead to a recall of parliament with MPs asked to approve British air strikes in Iraq.
The Times reports that the military is also making plans for a British offensive, even though no official approval has so far been given. There is a growing expectation that Britain will join American strikes against ISIS positions in Iraq, although not in Syria.
Although it is not certain where British jets would fly from, they have so far been conducting surveillance missions over Iraq from the UK’s sovereign bases in Cyprus.
If conditions for military action are met, including the formation of a credible government in Baghdad, then parliament could be recalled to approve air strikes as early as next week, with the strikes beginning at the start of next month.
Plans for the multi-national force are currently being drawn up by over 20 nations at a summit in Paris.
So far, America has been carrying out targeted strikes against ISIS in Iraq, with Britain signalling that it intends to join and France also offering support. Germany, however, has so far declined to consider strikes and is limiting itself to providing supplies only.
Turkey is also reluctant to overtly help the effort, as they fear ISIS reprisals from across the Syria border.
France’s president Hollande and Iraq’s president Masum jointly hosted the Paris conference, while US Secretary of State John Kerry claimed to have won the backing of several Arab nations, including Egypt, Jordan, Iraq, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia and Qatar.