Hark, I Hear the Cannons Roar: RAF Planes Poised as MPs Approve Military Action in Iraq

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MPs back air strikes against Islamic State by 524 to 43, with a majority of 481 votes

It comes after more than six hours of debate in an emergency recall of Parliament today to plan for a third war in Iraq.

Earlier today David Cameron called for military action to stop a “terrorist caliphate” being set up near the Mediterranean.

“The brutality is staggering — beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon, the slaughter of children. All these things belong to the Dark Ages.”

— Prime Minister David Cameron

Six RAF Tornados were poised to bomb Islamic State assets tonight, just hours after all three main parties were expected to endorse a tightly worded motion restricting action to air strikes in Iraq.

In a historic Commons debate, Labour leader Ed Miliband — who has disowned the 2003 invasion of Iraq — said he understood the “qualms” and “deep unease” among MPs and the public about another war.

He urged: “I believe, although this is difficult, this is the right thing to do.”

David-Cameron

However, Diane Abbott was among backbench MPs who said they would not vote for another Middle East war. Fears of “mission creep” among critics were fuelled when Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond left open the possibility military action might later have to be carried out in Syria as well as Iraq.

“In the space of a few months, Isil has taken control of territory greater than the size of Britain and is making millions selling oil to Syria’s Assad regime.”

The debate was led by the Prime Minister, who laid out the case for war by stressing that IS — also Isis or Isil — is a growing threat to the British people.

“The first Isil-inspired terrorist acts in Europe have already taken place, with the attack on the Jewish Museum in Brussels,” he said. “Security services have disrupted six other known plots in Europe as well as foiling a terrorist attack in Australia aimed at civilians, including UK and US tourists.”

“This is not a threat on the far side of the world…This is not the stuff of fantasy. It is happening in front of us and we need to face up to it.”

— Prime Minister David Cameron

Mr Cameron described the “staggering brutality” of IS fanatics. “Isil is a terrorist organisation unlike those we have dealt with before,” he said. “The brutality is staggering — beheadings, crucifixions, the gouging out of eyes, the use of rape as a weapon, the slaughter of children. All these things belong to the Dark Ages.”

But he warned that the organisation was growing in power, territory and wealth, saying: “It is backed by billions of dollars and has captured an arsenal of the most modern weapons.

“In the space of a few months, Isil has taken control of territory greater than the size of Britain and is making millions selling oil to Syria’s Assad regime.”

In his grimmest warning, he said: “This is not a threat on the far side of the world. Left unchecked, we will face a terrorist caliphate on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a Nato member, with a declared and proven determination to attack our country and our people. This is not the stuff of fantasy. It is happening in front of us and we need to face up to it.”

The six Tornados are expected to fly tonight to attack IS positions or assets. They moved to Cyprus a month ago and are backed by a Voyager air-to-air refuelling aircraft to enable longer patrols over Iraq…(read more)

London Evening Standard



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