LONDON – British Prime Minister David Cameron – in a strongly-worded article published in The Sunday Telegraph – said that a stronger Islamic State can pose direct threat to Britons at home.
He said that the solution was to clamp down on the recruitment drive in the United Kingdom, but not to send ground troops to Iraq. He also warned that if the Islamic State grows stronger and creates a ‘caliphate’ in the Middle East, the group would project threat to Europe.
“If we do not act to stem the onslaught of this exceptionally dangerous terrorist movement, it will only grow stronger until it can target us on the streets of Britain. We already know that it has the murderous intent,” said Cameron, who has been criticized for the coalition government’s cautious approach to the security crisis in Iraq.
He called the fight against IS a generational struggle against a ‘poisonous and extremist’ ideology, adding it may take the rest of his political lifetime. The Islamic State is gaining strength after taking control of large portions of Syria and Iraq. It is now fighting in northern Iraq against Kurdish militias while massacring and ousting religious and ethnic minorities.
The goal of the group is to create a ‘caliphate’ ruled by fundamentalists. “If it succeeded we would be facing a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member,” Cameron warned, referring to Turkey, which borders northern Syria and Iraq. In the article, which was short on specific commitments, Cameron reiterated his position that Britain should not send troops to fight against the militants on the ground.
“I agree that we should avoid sending armies to fight or occupy, but we need to recognise that the brighter future we long for requires a long term plan for our security as well as one for our economy,” he said. The prime minister, who said that UK had to use all its resources – aid, diplomacy, military prowess – to solve the problem, said his government should take action to hamper IS recruitment drive in Britain.
He said the Metropolitan Police was working to address incidents like the flying of a militant black flag in east London this month. “The position is clear. If people are walking around with ISIL flags or trying to recruit people to their cause, they will be arrested and their materials will be seized,” he wrote in the article.