WESTMINSTER, United Kingdom – The former head of the British Military has called for the UK and her allies to invade the Islamic State. Lord Richards told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme the current allied strategy of air strikes and support for Kurdish fighters was “woefully insufficient.”
He said the strategy was “firing up” the Islamic State because it was “dribbling” rather than “clouting” the terrorist nation. Richards went on to say: “Sooner or later tanks are going to have to roll, there is going to have to be troops on the ground…. The current strategy won't work in the time I think we've got available. If you really want to get rid of them we need to effectively get on a war footing.”
Richards comments will significantly up the pressure on the Cameron government to take more decisive action. He retired as Chief of the Defence Staff in July 2013, which is the UK equivalent of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff after which he was given a seat in the House of Lords.
Britain has pulled back from international conflicts in recent years, prompting claims the country is in decline as a world power. The UK is the second largest contributor to air strikes over Iraq, but as a result of a resolution by the House of Commons it has not bombed Syria.
This is in sharp contrast to the days of Tony Blair, when the British were instrumental in persuading President Clinton to invade Kosovo. Blair also offered British troops to assist in both the Afghanistan and Iraq campaigns.
Release of the British Terrorist
The UK was reminded today of the nature of the modern threat of terrorism as the US released the British terrorist Babar Ahmad. Mr. Ahmad of Tooting, South London, fought an eight-year campaign against extradition to the US to face charges of "conspiracy and providing material to support to terrorism”.
During the period he was kept in a maximum-security British prison, until he was eventually sent to America. In December 2013 he pleaded guilty to the charges, which related to the establishment of jihadi fundraising websites. He was sentenced to twelve and a half years in solitary confinement.
His release was announced by his family earlier today and appears to indicate the US authorities took into account his time in British prisons as part of his sentence.
Throughout his incarceration he received the support of his childhood friend and Labour shadow minister Sadiq Khan MP. He was visited several times in prison by Khan, who has never fully explained the nature of their relationship.
His family issued a statement in which they said: "We, the family of Babar Ahmad, are delighted to announce that by the grace of God Babar has returned home to us after 11 years in prison… Our lives will be enriched by his return."