Cameron Beats War Drums

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PRIME Minister Cameron is to set out his strategy on Syria and tackling the Islamic State group in the region before MPs this week.

He will be seeking to persuade MPs to back UK military action against Syria by Christmas. Paymaster General Matthew Hancock said the chancellor will be spending £12bn on 138 stealth fighter jets ‘so there will be tough decisions’ on welfare cuts.

The Tory chair of the House of Commons Defence Committee Julian Lewis told Murnaghan on SkyNews yesterday that ‘Daesh has to be defeated, the question is who will supply the ground forces to do it’ and ‘it should be recognised it has to be with the acquiesence of the Russian and Syrian armies’.

Labour Shadow business secretary Angela Eagle told Murnaghan yesterday: ‘We in the opposition are waiting for the prime minister to come forward with his plan’. She added: ‘We want to see if the prime minister’s plan is sensible, likely to work and has legal backing’.

The Foreign Affairs Committee report made five points that have to be clarified. It asked: i) How the proposal would improve the chances of success of the international coalition’s campaign against ISIL;

ii) How the proposed action would contribute to the formation and agreement of a transition plan for Syria;

iii) In the absence of a UN Security Council Resolution, how the government would address the political, legal, and military risks arising from not having such a resolution;

iv) Whether the proposed action has the agreement of the key regional players (Turkey; Iran; Saudi Arabia; Iraq); if not, whether the government will seek this before any intervention;

v) Which ground forces will take, hold, and administer territories captured from ISIL in Syria.

Former head of the Army, Lord Dannatt said yesterday that rather than sending in UK troops, Syrian refugees in border camps should be armed, trained and returned ‘to fight for their villages, towns and cities’.

He added: ‘It may sound harsh, but some of their blood should be shed in the attack on ISIL before we even consider committing British ground troops to combat.’ Cameron is meeting French President Francois Hollande in Paris today to discuss the fight against terror.