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Cameron: UK must use 'military prowess' to help stop Islamic State

By Reuters in London | China Daily | Updated: 2014-08-18 07:27

Britain should use its military prowess to tackle Islamic State militants in Iraq, Prime Minister David Cameron said on Sunday, adding that they had to be stopped from creating "a terrorist state on the shores of the Mediterranean".

In his toughest comments yet on the al-Qaida splinter group, Cameron said Britain needed to adopt a more-robust stance against Islamic State to prevent it from one day launching an attack on British soil, a warning he first issued in June.

Britain has so far limited its role in Iraq to aid drops, surveillance and agreeing to transport military resupplies to Kurdish forces. In addition, Britain's trade envoy to Iraq has said SAS special forces are gathering intelligence there.

"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," Cameron wrote in Britain's Sunday Telegraph newspaper.

As part of its expanded role, he said, he wanted Britain to lead diplomatic talks that include regional powers, possibly even Iran, to try to tackle the threat from IS.

Cameron said his government should also go further: "True security will only be achieved if we use all our resources - aid, diplomacy, our military prowess," he said.

"We need a firm security response, whether that is military action to go after the terrorists, international cooperation on intelligence and counterterrorism or uncompromising action against terrorists at home."

Equipment supply

Following an agreement with European Union partners last week, he said Britain would supply equipment directly to the Kurdish forces, adding that this could be anything from body armor to specialist counter explosive equipment.

Cameron precluded a full-scale military intervention in the region, however, saying he did not think that "sending armies to fight or occupy" was the right approach. He said he recognized that Britain's past involvement in conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan had made people wary of overcommitting.

Cameron on Sunday also announced tougher action against anyone in Britain propagating IS ideology.

The Islamist movement's black flag was briefly raised over one east London housing estate in recent weeks and leaflets urging Britons to join its struggle were handed out in London.

"If people are walking around with ISIL (IS) flags or trying to recruit people to their terrorist cause, they will be arrested and their materials will be seized," he said.

The authorities had taken down 28,000 pieces of "terrorist-related" material from the Internet, he added, including 46 videos directly linked to IS.

Cameron predicted the struggle against IS and its ideology would last the rest of his political lifetime.

(China Daily 08/18/2014 page12)

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