Attacks on ISIS terrorists in Iraq and Syria from Western air forces are not enough to destroy the jihadist organisation, claims General Lord Richards, who is urging boots on the ground in a similar fashion to the 2003 Iraq invasion.
The top ranking former British military official was head of the UK Defence Staff, and led ISAF forces in Afghanistan during his exceptional career. The Sunday Times reports his comments: “Ultimately you need a land army to achieve the objectives we’ve set ourselves — all air will do is destroy elements of Isis, it won’t achieve our strategic goal
“The only way to defeat Isis is to take back land they are occupying which means a conventional military operation.
“The only way to do it effectively is to use western armies but I understand the political resistance.”
A small number of British aircraft have begun missions over Iraq following a parliamentary vote authorising military action on Friday.
But critics have suggested that boots on the ground would mean another long, drawn out, bloody intervention on the part of the United States and its Western allies. Instead, they claim, other regional powers such as Turkey should commit forces to fighting ISIS.
“If we go on and on and in three years Isis is still there, the noble experiment to equip and train and deploy an Arab force has to be abandoned . . . the only way to do it effectively is to use western armies,” General Lord Richards said.
UK intelligence agencies are said to be on high alert for fear of domestic retaliation for the latest attacks on ISIS. Britain’s terror threat level was raised to the second highest level several weeks ago, and with the Conservative Party conference this weekend, fears will be running high that homegrown terrorists will attempt an attack on the UK following parliament’s approval of airstrikes.