‘Crush ISIS to save Christians,’ says former Archbishop as Tories push for war

A Royal Air Force Tornado jet. © Russell Cheyne
The West must escalate its war with the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL), former Archbishop of Canterbury Lord Carey has said, as Conservative figures urge the government to extend airstrikes into Syria and deploy troops on the ground.

Writing in the Telegraph on Sunday, Carey said the UK must help to ‘crush’ the militant group and its rival Al-Qaeda.

He also urged Britain to recognize the dangers of accepting large numbers of refugees, arguing the UK would attract “floods of economic migrants, most of whom are young men traveling alone.

We don’t even know how many of these have been combatants in the civil war,” Carey warned.

If his comment sounded somewhat “unchristian,” Carey said, the public should rest assured he agrees some refugees should be allowed to settle in the UK, in line with Prime Minister David Cameron’s plans.

There must be renewed military and diplomatic efforts to crush the twin menaces of Islamic State and Al-Qaeda once and for all,” Carey argued.

He also said military force was to be expected if Islamist groups were to be countered.

Make no mistake: this may mean airstrikes and other British military assistance to create secure and safe enclaves in Syria.

His view is in line with other senior establishment figures, including Chancellor George Osborne, who told the BBC on Sunday that “Personally I think, the prime minister thinks, the defense secretary and the foreign secretary, we all think there is a strong case – and indeed an argument around coherence – that if you’re tackling ISIS on one side of the Iraqi border you should be tackling it on the other side in Syria.

However, Osborne accepted the Labour Party must be won over to win a vote on escalating the war.

We would go back to the House of Commons if we thought that we could command support across the parties,” he said.

It doesn’t mean every member of every party, but we’d have to win the vote. There’s no point going back and losing. I think that would be the worst of all worlds.

Former Conservative International Development Secretary Andrew Mitchell MP weighed in on Monday, telling the BBC that safe havens should be created and, if necessary, guarded by UK troops.

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Bear in mind, this is not the offensive action by troops that people in Britain sometimes recoil from. It is a defensive action,” he argued.

Mitchell also said such an initiative would need a UN mandate and should involve troops from other countries, including Middle East nations like Jordan.

But it would need to have massive capacity to defend itself and those in the enclave, were they to be attacked,” he added.