John Baron MP cautions against mission creep in Iraq

August 22, 2014

MP says Iraqi Army is ‘elephant in the room’

John Baron MP has cautioned against mission creep by the West in Iraq. He has called for more urgent action to get the Iraqi Army ‘fit for purpose’, and support from Gulf allies if necessary.

John said,

“Talk of further military involvement by the West ignores the realities. IS [the Islamic State] is not a disparate group of terrorists living in caves, but a well-organised and equipped guerrilla army which will be difficult to defeat through air strikes alone. This Caliphate must be defeated by a local force.”

“The elephant in the room is the Iraqi Army, numbering over 250,000, compared to IS’ 8,000. It should be able to regain all lost territory quickly if properly organised and supported. Our allies in the Gulf, such as well-equipped Saudi Arabia, should be prepared to play their part. Defeating IS is in everyone’s interests.”

“There are downsides to any other course. Further arming of the Kurds takes us a step closer to the old regional fault-lines, which could have ramifications beyond Iraq’s borders.”

“Soldiers only buy time. The politicians must provide the solution. The IS invasion is born out of the sectarian and violent politics pursued by al-Maliki. The new leadership of Haider al-Abadi must succeed in pursuing inclusive policies if Iraq is to remain a single state.”

“Our track record when intervening in the region has been disastrous. We must recognise the limit of what Western intervention can achieve. However, given our misguided invasion of Iraq in 2003, we now have a responsibility to the Iraqi people to defeat IS.”

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