“We have to fight groups like Isis,” writes Tony Blair on the website of his faith foundation, following the launch of airstrikes in Syria. However, bombs may not be enough.
The evidence suggests that Isis, and similar groups around the world “can be hemmed in, harried and to a degree contained by airpower, but they can’t be defeated by it”.
While boots on the ground may not be popular, “we should not rule it out in the future if it is absolutely necessary”.
What’s more, “it would make no sense to declare that [UK] Tornadoes, designed as strike aircraft, will only fly reconnaissance missions – presumably to photograph the terrorists to death”, writes The Daily Telegraph.
Similarly, the days when solely humanitarian intervention was enough “are clearly over”. Given that Isis “would launch attacks on British soil if it had the chance”, it would be wrong ”if we decided to leave others to deal with this threat and shrugged off any responsibility… David Cameron should recall Parliament and seek permission to send the RAF into action against Isil [Isis] wherever it may be”.
Indeed, it’s “unfortunate” that “Britain was not there to assist” in this week’s strikes, says The Times. “This country’s involvement is not central to the success of the operation… but acting in solidarity with our allies is an important symbol, both to them and the world.”
One argument for delay is the supposed need for parliamentary approval for any military action. “But not every situation of emergency or rapid action is susceptible to the delay of a parliamentary recall. We elect governments to make difficult decisions.”
The new campaign against Isis is “by some measure the most delicate military operation of recent times”, says The Independent.
That’s because in Iraq, “the US is fighting to restore the territorial and military morale of the Iraqi state”, but “in Syria it is intervening in a civil war. And it is intervening on the opposite side to that on which Obama… tried and failed to intervene last year.”
However, “despite the incoherence”, Obama “had no choice in the matter”. “We need to suck out the oxygen that keeps this burning,” argues The Guardian. That means Iran and Saudi Arabia must work together “to restore coexistence between Sunni and Shia” in the Middle East.
There is evidence that both countries are beginning to understand “they have created a monster which threatens them all”.