Coffee House

David Cameron seems more and more committed to interventionism

18 January 2013

A visibly tired David Cameron has just completed his statement to the House of Commons on the hostage situation in Algeria. What was striking about it was the starkness of the language that the Prime Minister used. He talked about Al Qaeda in the Maghreb and other North African terrorists groups posing a ‘large and existential threat’, warned that they ‘thrive in ungoverned spaces’ and that ‘parts of Mali have become a safe haven for Al Qaeda’ and declared that if it is not confronted ‘the threat there will grow and we’ll face it as well’.

Now, to be sure Cameron made clear that he wasn’t thinking about combat troops for Mali and that instead Britain would limit itself to logistical support for the French and West African operation there. But Cameron clearly still accepts the interventionist logic. Indeed, he appears to do so more firmly with every day that he is in office.

The Algerians, though, are clearly difficult allies. All four calls between Cameron and the Algerian Prime Minister have been initiated by Downing Street and the Algerians are still refusing offers of assistance.

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  • michael

    French in Mali, Britain supporting — Islamists have had a terrorist training camp in The Dales–Totally free access to the start of the 2014 Tour De France in Leeds and The Dales …. We have local security issues as well.

  • barbie

    Well in today’s Mail I’ve seen videos of Muslims stopping people in the street who are holding cans of drinks, removing them because they are in a ‘Muslim area’, then talking about women in derogerty terms, and what they are wearing. Telling persons not to walk near the their place of worship again as infidels are forbidden. They call themselves Muslim vigilantes. The police are investigating. It took one woman to stand up to them most of the men walked away and said nothing. She told them it was the UK, his reply was he knew, but here its Muslim area. What is happening here? How long before someone retaliates and we see problems arising from these Muslims. If they don’t like the UK as it is they don’t have to remain here. No one is forced to remain. I’m glad I’m the age I am for I won’t see the results of this immigration problem created by Labour. But as long as I’ve breath in my body they will never be allowed to forget it, for the damage they’ve done to OUR country.

  • aberoth

    Bread and circuses.

  • Tom Tom

    Mali has some vital attributes…….will France get to keep all this itself or do we get a share ?

  • HooksLaw

    ‘Now, to be sure Cameron made clear that he wasn’t thinking about combat troops’ … so your headline is rubbish. The government is quite properly doing what it needs to do in the light of British interests.

    And as for Algeria still refusing help …the BBC says, ‘a plane carrying a UK emergency deployment team has landed in the south of Algeria’. Make of that what you will.

  • BuBBleBus

    From the Halls of Montezuma,To the shores of Tripoli;We fight our country’s battlesIn the air, on land, and sea;First to fight for right and freedomAnd to keep our honor clean:We are proud to claim the title . . .

  • Michael990

    Why us? Why not German or Italian or where-ever forces. We are just the fall guys as usual due to misplaced guilt over the colonies we lost centuries ago. It really has to stop.

    • Tom Tom

      Don’t recall Mali or Algeria being British colonies….but do recall Zimbabwe being one

      • Michael990

        I’m fully aware of that, but my point remains valid.

    • HooksLaw

      So on the one hand we need a massive army but on the other we should not use it.
      Of course we are coming out of Afghanistan and 2 transport planes carrying French troops hardly constitutes an interventionist policy.

      • eeore

        We haven’t got a massive army.

        The Franco-German friendship Corps is as big as the entire British army.

    • eeore

      There’s gold in them their hills.

      Besides why not?

      Would you rather we went back to pre-colonial times in which the British were carried off as slaves to the Arabs?

  • UKIP for change

    Cameron,the ‘heir to Blair’ (his words) is just another warmonger like his hero it seems.

    Quelle Surprise!

    • Fergus Pickering

      Oh really! I take it you want to disband our armed forces.

  • Tom Tom

    Maybe Britain should become “Ein Volk im Waffen” ? Gear up for Perpetual Warfare and wage continual war without any scent of victory. We cannot compete against low-cost labour to manufacture goods but we can send our high-priced soldiers and weapons to wage war on low-cost disposable Thrd World armies of irregulars armed with rocket-launchers and Toyotas. McChrystal was such a spoil-sport to say how badly kitted was the SAS in Iraq and how awfully exposed British squaddies were in Helmand before 17000 USMC came to rescue them. It is all a bit like Russia in 1914 sharing rifles. Having seen the infantry weapons available to family in the Armed Forces I do wonder why they don’t get better or more modern kit, but I suppose since Rules of Engagement say they are supposed to be shot at before responding, dead squaddies don’t make too many complaints. A word to the wise Cameron, have you thought of selling Commissions as in the good old days ? We really could go back to the days when officers bought their Commissions and their horses

    • HooksLaw

      What an idiot you are.

      The point about McChrystal of course is that Labour with their useless management of the defence budget left our troops under equipped with numbers looking nominally healthy. The tories are sizing our forces for what we can equip and deploy.

      Military and political tactical and strategic ineptitude was responsible for the shambles of our initial deployment into Afghanistan. The USA had to pull our irons out of the fire is Basra as well – all due to political and military blundering. On the other hand the SAS performance in Baghdad was outstanding.

      The rules of engagement you talk about are American. Indeed McChrystal instigated them in 2009

      • Tom Tom

        Losing Small Wars: British Military Failure in Iraq and
        Frank Ledwidge
        Yale University Press,
        304pp, £20…………….

        • Fergus Pickering

          We leave it to the Americans to lose the big ones. Have they EVER won a war? War of Independence? Call that a war?

          • Jimmy R

            They were still British when they fought the War of Insurrection.

        • eeore

          Indeed, but it remains to be seen if Britain has lost these wars.

      • Tom Tom…………US general John Allen, head of coalition forces, had instructed the
        International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) not to shoot first unless
        attacked, although the Ministry of Defence has denied this amounted to a
        change in the rules of engagement………………..…………………In the past 11 years, over 2,102 American troops have been
        killed in Afghanistan. During the Bush administration in 7 years (2001 –
        2008), 630 killed. During the Obama administration 3 years and 8 months
        (2009 – 2012) and with insane political correctness Rules of Engagement
        ( ROE ) forced upon our troops by the Obama administration and liberals
        in America, 1,472 American troops killed……………oh at £52 it does seem expensive for soldiers to buy….

      • eeore

        I’m not sure if you are drawing your information from an election leaflet, but there was no shambles in Afghanistan – or Iraq – indeed if you recall Afghanistan was subdued by relatively small forces during the initial phase, and remained so until justification for the continued presence was required.

        Similarly, the ‘uproar’ in Basra, related to special forces activity in a city, that was largely pacified, because it suited a wider political game.

    • eeore

      You do have a point with regard to the 18th century notions surrounding Whitehall, but I seriously doubt the spin behind McChystal’s comments, or the rules of engagement, since the whole point of operations in Afghanistan mirror the protective corridor strategy in Iraq and Panama.


    Yet all the terrorist attacks we have faced in the UK have been from Muslims in Britain not in Mali?

    If we face an existential threat from Muslims in Mali who wish us ill, what is being done about the large numbers of Muslims in Britain who also believe in the use of violence to advance Islam. (A recent survey found that 32% of Muslim university students believed the use of violence to advance Islam was justified).

    • Andy Boyne

      I think the point is that these areas are ripe for training camps. Terrorists go there, learn whatever it is they learn and then come back to UK and assimilate back into society and, THEN, carry out their attacks.

      • HooksLaw

        Far too sensible an analysis to be taken seriously on here.
        The point is that terrorists training camps can be bombed if needs be, and there is no reason why with appropriate support countries like Algeria and Mali can defeat their terrorist threat.

        The usual suspects simply invent the facts to suit their prejudice.

        • Tom Tom

          Algeria has dealt with its terrorist threat far more effectively than Britain ever has

          • HooksLaw

            Thats a moot point.

          • eeore

            That would be Algeria that overturned the election of 1991, the first since 1962, with a coup?

            • Tom Tom

              Your point being ?

              • eeore

                My point remains unchanged.

            • Tom Tom

              but Mali is okay apparently because their coup was “legitimate”. Britain went to war in 1939 having given a guarantee to a military dictatorship in Poland which had persecuted Jews at least since 1935 and then allied itself with a Soviet dictatorship in power for 24 years having overturned the elections of 1918 and perpetuated the regime for a further 50 years.

            • Tom Tom

              Much as Egyptian military tried to stop the Muslim Brotherhood changing the Constitution in Egypt or Kemal Ataturk used the Army to stop the Turkish Constitution being changed by Islamic Fundamentalists…… both countries can show just how lovely and westernised they are with Saudi influence to spread the “True Islam”

        • eeore

          That is not analysis, that is believing the crap the media feeds you, and ignoring the crap the media fed you the day before.

          America/Nato has in a place Africom, it was founded at precisely the same time as the defence review that stated that there was no need for ‘conventional’ forces, and that we needed smaller specialised units with a rapid deployment capability.

          Less than a year ago Mali was reported to be undergoing famine – with Oxfam (the missionaries with bibles and infected blankets) calling for money – cue black kids with flies round their mouths.

          Now suddenly Al Qaeda – who is being armed and funded in Syria and Libya – are a problem.

          It’s like Henry Kissinger never made those comments about using food as a weapon. Or that Africa has a lot of valuable mineral resources that people want in order to stave off the worse impacts of the depression.

          But just ignore all that, keep printing money, watch the Bin Laden film, pay your TV licence for the propaganda, and live in an imaginary world in which the sand people will overwhelm your land speeder and sell you to the Banthers… or whatever the meme set up in Star Wars was.

          • Daniel Maris

            No doubt you feel very smug about your “sophisticated” analysis.

            However, if you are so right about dirt poor thinly populated countries not posing a threat to us, how do you explain Afghanistan during OBL’s residence. That was where the 9-11 operation was planned, that was the conduit for men, training and resources. That was where all the planning could be undertaken in a relaxed and secure environment.

            Or are you saying 9-11 was a Mossad-CIA operation?

            • eeore

              If what you say is true, why did the ‘hijackers’ go to the US for flight training? Afghanistan has airfields, Bin Laden had plenty enough money to buy the planes, instructors are not hard to find,

              And if what you say is true, why did the US offer the Taliban government that they could stay in power, prior to the invasion, (presumably with their training bases, which were little more than warlord strongholds) if they didn’t interfere with the gas pipeline being built from Turkmenistan to Pakistan?

      • Chris lancashire

        I believe that has indeed been the case with several would-be British national terrorists visiting training camps in Afghanistan and Pakistan.


        There are training camps in the UK. Do you think that there are not Muslims preparing for violent jihad against British people here in the UK. We have already seen evidence of these camps.

        • eeore

          No I don’t.

          But I do think it odd that the security services have been recruiting specifically ‘Muslims’ since 9/11, and that 7/7 bombings coincided with a security operation for just such an eventuality.

          • Tom Tom

            Why is the surpsising ? They tried to recruit Russians to work inside the USSR and IRA men to infiltrate IRA cells

            • eeore

              Indeed, so why do people fall for these stories of whirly eyed Muslim terrorists?

          • Daniel Maris

            You’re not one of those “truther” nutters are you?

            • eeore

              I don’t understand the question, perhaps you would care to elaborate.

    • EJ – was Tory now UKIP

      Hear hear. We bury our heads in the sand and kid ourselves that the majority of Muslims in Britain are peacefully slotting in to our way of life, but the reality is that even those whom we call “moderates” hold views which are completely inimical to our way of life. As one Muslim taxi driver told me, it’s just a matter of time before we have the numbers to turn this country to Islam.

      Meanwhile our universities and prisons are hotbed breeding grounds of radical extremism. And still we look the other way, imagining that this will all end in multi-culti bliss.

      • Tom Tom

        You should not have given Imams access to prisons then

      • Austin Barry

        “As one Muslim taxi driver told me, it’s just a matter of time before we have the numbers to turn this country to Islam.”

        Unhappily, when Turkey joins the EU that will probably be the case.

        With luck, Shi’ite and Sunni strains of Islam will attempt to reduce each other’s numbers somewhat in accordance with their respective theocratic memes as we, the beleagured supine natives, watch from our remaining redoubts in the Celtic fringe.

    • Boudicca_Icenii

      I think the global Elite decided some time ago that the only way Islam would have a Reformation and Muslim countries embrace a form of democracy is if enough of them were integrated into western nations and taught through experience how it should work.
      I think it has been a delberate strategy to allow sufficient numbers to settle in the West in order to provide an eventual body of opinion which will challenge the jihadist, sharia-obsessed extremists. But it will take a very long time …. generations … just as the Christian Reformation did.
      At the moment, the Islamists are reacting in the same way the Catholic Church did back in the 15th century.
      They are slowing the whole process up by not forcing those living in the West to integrate – and by pandering to them for fear of ‘home grown’ terrorist atrocities.

      • Daniel Maris

        It would be nice to think there was some rationale behind it! But I fear that’s just wishful thinking.

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