Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dave Anderson Columnist

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Dave Anderson Columnist

Article excerpt

WE have all been disgusted by the wanton barbarism in Iraq - beheadings, mass executions, selling women as sex slaves, rape, and genocide against religious minorities.

The so-called Islamic State (IS), deemed extreme by even Al Qaeda, can be defeated militarily and politically although the Nato coalition reckons it will take three years. It is a fight that cannot be flunked.

I want cross-party support for measures that can save the Kurds and encourage a deal that allows the peoples of Iraq to work together for the common good. Incredibly, Baghdad has blockaded the Kurds since January and their civil servants and soldiers have not been paid. This must end.

I met the former Iraq Prime Minister in Baghdad in 2008 but he proved unwilling to work with Kurdish and Sunni minorities and helped create alienation that the IS exploited. I have also met the new Iraqi Prime Minister and hope that he can make a fresh start.

The Kurds and the Iraqi army, when it recovers from its disastrous defeat in June, can do the job. Military action against IS does not need foreign combat troops apart from advisers who can improve the organisation of local soldiers.

Turkey is part of the coalition and they and the Kurds have overcome ancient tensions to work together. I note that Iran and Syrian President Assad have parallel interests. We may have to sup with the long spoon with them as we did in the fight against Nazism. Arab states and millionaires should stop backing the IS.

David Cameron was initially hesitant because he feared that public opinion would not tolerate involvement. I urged the Prime Minister to recall Parliament in August because Cameron could present a stronger case if he heeded MPs in touch with public opinion and who can help give a lead. There is a brutal moral clarity about what is at stake. The Kurds need weapons so they can fight the IS without one hand tied behind their backs and have also asked Britain and others to take part in air strikes.

They argue that their defeating the IS will enhance our security. Kurds with British accents due to their exile here from Saddam Hussein tell us that many IS fighters also speak with British accents and could come back here, battle hardened and keen to kill. …

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