Britain and the 'Islamic State'

22 Aug 2014

Television screens up and down the nation have been inundated with news of 'Islamic State' over the past two weeks.

Islamic State is a profit rich, independent Jihadist organisation, formed of various sects of previous terrorist organisations. Its foundation stems from the birth of Al-Qaeda Iraq (AQI) which opposed Western forces in the nation. However, in 2006, the original Jordanian founder al-Zaqawi was killed by US airstrikes, a death which prompted AQI to merge with other likeminded organisations to create ISI. Islamic State now boasts to have Arab and foreign volunteers of over 100,000 individuals.


The current state of affairs in Iraq, more specifically the north, is dire. However, Britain refuses to put "boots on the ground” in northern Iraq, a move by David Cameron seemingly designed to avoid another Iraq War. The general election next year will almost certainly be playing on David Cameron's mind with this decision, following the nation’s reaction to recent wars in the Middle East.

Despite this however, the UK has pledged "RAF Tornado jets and Joint Rivet surveillance aircraft" in an attempt to "track Islamic State militants as Britain joins fight to stop extremists", as reported by the Telegraph. Given the nature of this reconnaissance mission, Britain’s role appears to be strictly humanitarian.

As the Huffington Post UK states, "reports have suggested that Islamic State is now seen as a greater threat to America than Al Qaeda before the September 11 2001 attacks." In addition, Islamic State has claimed to be responsible for the 'beheading' of journalist James Foley, so reports of the organisation’s brutality and propensity for terror against the west are not to be dismissed.

Islamic State is also a relatively unknown quantity. It is a new breed of terrorist organisation, despite its ties to tormentors of past decades – as its utilisation of social media shows. Thus, David Cameron wants to keep the current mission strictly humanitarian, for the moment at least. But, with MP's urging a recall of Parliament to discuss Britain's involvement in Iraq, it has to be asked how long it will be before "boots are on the ground" in Iraq. The world is searching for an acceptable response to this nascent threat, and one feels as though Britain has not revealed its hand just yet.

By Karl Stanley

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