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Philip Hammond: No plans to engage in airstrikes

18 August 2014

So Britain’s long-term fight against Isis isn’t, at the moment, going to involve this country doing any fighting. The Prime Minister this morning insisted that there would be no ‘boots on the ground’ and Philip Hammond has just told journalists that there are ‘no plans at the moment to engage in air strikes’. That latter assertion does of course mean that air strikes aren’t being ruled out, while boots on the ground are ruled out daily. Hammond said:

‘The priority is the humanitarian situation, there are huge numbers of displaced persons, there are persistent stories of atrocities being committed against people who are fleeing from the violence going on, so that has to be our number 1 priority. But we’re also clear that we face a shared threat with the Iraqi people from Isil and its particularly despicable brand of hate preaching. We have to rise to that challenge, we have to deal with it, and we will if requested provide support to the Iraqi government, but the Prime Minister has been very clear that this is not about getting dragged into a war in iraq, we will not be putting combat boots on the ground.

‘Well, there’s no call for us to deliver air strikes at the moment. The US is delivering targeted air strikes, and they’re perfectly able to do what needs to be done, so we have no plans at the moment to engage in air strikes, but we will look if we are requested to do so at providing weapons and other technical support to the Kurdish forces. I should emphasise there has been no request from the Kurds for any boots on the ground of any description, they are quite capable of doing the ground fighting by themselves, what they are looking for is material and technical support.’

While David Cameron sounded more hawkish than usual in his Sunday Telegraph article, it seems that the Prime Minister’s commitment to a fight against Isis is focused far more on intelligence, advice and aid. That shouldn’t come as a surprise given ‘military prowess’ came at the end of his list of things to deploy against Islamic extremists. But the ‘broader response’ that he called for yesterday is being narrowed down today.

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Show comments
  • El_Sid

    I’m guessing they would prefer materiel to material, unless they have a particular use for Paisley-pattern cotton/viscose blend?

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    May I make a plea to get rid of the stupid cliche ‘boots on the ground’? It gives a stupid phrase to thoughtless politicians and journalists, as well as a hostage to fortune for policy makers.

    Let me also say that the media coverage of the situation leaves much to be desired, and there is no need for the Spect to join in unless you can find someone with any degree of informed insight on military matters. The idea that ISIS is HOLDING ground of that sort of area with 10,000 troops is ridiculous. If anybody tells you they are, and have time left over for massacres, you can be sure they are not worth listening to.

  • Smithersjones2013

    Philip Hammond: No plans to engage in airstrikes

    ROFLMAO That old gambit. And George Osborne had no plans to raise VAT either!

    So we can take then that we will be bombing ISIS before the month is out?

    • the viceroy’s gin

      No, the ISIS dolts are no more doltish than Sadaam, who responded to US air power and let the Kurds be, for many years. The US won’t mind if ISIS attacks the Shiites, Iran’s allies, but they won’t want the Kurds bothered.

  • John Gerard

    Don’t worry, We’ll be at war in Iraq again. So will everyone else. Nailed on.

  • swatnan

    Hammond gives the impreesion thatb he doesn’t want to be Foreign Secretary and Fallon gives the impression that Defence Secretary is too much for him. The worst appointments ever.

    • HookesLaw

      You give the impression that you are an idiot.

  • will91

    Well we can always start a hash tag campaign…

    Maybe if we exhaust our full range of options we can deliver a strongly worded letter to IS.

  • Archibald Heatherington

    I’m not sure what’s wrong with bombing the lungs out of ISIS from the air. Could it be the 5% of this country who might not be sure where their loyalties lie?

    • HookesLaw

      ”The US is delivering targeted air strikes, and they’re perfectly able to do what needs to be done,”

  • Augustus

    “but we will look if we are requested to do so at providing weapons and other technical support to the Kurdish forces”

    Isn’t it a bit mean and cowardly to give the Kurds all the responsibility for defeating IS.? Haven’t they lived under enough oppression and misery already? Go on, be adventurous, do a bit more!

    • HookesLaw

      Like what? All of a sudden the mealy mouthed who decried air strikes on Syria now want not only bombs but troops. Just how are these troops to be supplied and supported? This would be a major long term operation – another one. and as soon as the first soldier died or was captured the same loud mouths wanting our troops in would be blaming the govt for their deaths. After years of howling blue murder at Blair and Bush these loud mouths want another British incursion – presumably ignoring what America does.

      • Michael Mckeown

        Its stomach churning.

      • Augustus

        Whatever else he may have been, Bush was interested in winning a war. Can’t say the same for leaders today.

      • Smithersjones2013

        Have ISIS got Russia, China and Iran backing them? Because those were three big reasons why bombing Syria (on the same side as ISIS) was a bad idea.

  • Frank

    Pity we cannot have some political prowess in Britain!

  • Peter Stroud

    What a confounded mess. ISIS seems to have taken over 30% of Syria, and is now making significant inroads into Iraq. These evil, bearded murderers are massacring innocent Iraqis and Kurds as they advance. Among them are hundreds of so called British Moslems: every one a potential terrorist on home soil. Just how can we, and the basically Christian Western states stand by and watch? Last year Cameron and Hague wanted to assist the ‘good rebels’ in Syria. Now we know there were probably very few good rebels left. Is the West content to leave ISIS occupying Syria and Iraq? When from this so called Islamic State murderous jihadists will be sent to every secular, or Christian country to terrorise the people. How can we stand by and do nothing?

    • Michael Mckeown

      We stand by and watch because of all the idiots in the UK that opposed intervention in Syria, had we intervened in Syria the issue in Iraq would not have arisen.

      All those that opposed the Syrian intervention now have blood on their hands.

      • John Gerard

        No, the intervention in Syria was to be on behalf of ISIS, not against them. They would have had the whole of Syria, now, and butchered even more people.

        You’re a bit mixed up, I’m afraid.

      • littlegreyrabbit

        If you had asked Turkey to seal the borders to fighters and guns and not had the CIA supervising the funneling of weapons from Libya and Qatar through airports in Turkey then ISIS wouldn’t have happened.

        Unfortunately Neocons never own their howlers. Iraq was a raging success – just that Obama withdrew the troops too soon. Libya was a triumph – just the Libyans are too horrible to appreciate it. If only we had destroyed Syria even more than we already did….

        • the viceroy’s gin


  • goatmince

    So all the huffing and puffing of the Angelina Jolie types turns out to be to little avail.
    Now that the huffing and puffling is stopped at the outset we discover, without too much difficulty, that common sense-ism has delivered yet another policy u-turn.

    • HookesLaw

      What a load of mixed up cobblers. What your obsession with Angelina Jolie?

      • goatmince

        Apologies for the ‘mixedupedness’.
        A year ago, air strikes were voted out by Parliament. Instead we sold big bazookas to extremists. One year on Parliament need not be recalled to determine government policy. We will not engage in air strikes, yet sell big bazookas instead. How do you like me now?

        • Stu

          Still doesn’t make any sense but there you go.

          • goatmince

            … you lean out of the window of a fast moving train without consulting your first Kurdish Conservative MP. Ouch!

            • the viceroy’s gin

              …so do you and your socialist nutter army of sockpuppets still support the bombs-away approach in Syria, laddie, and siding with islamofascist murderers?

              • goatmince

                I am beginning to believe you no longer have the ability to either grasp or define in your own little planet viceroy world who ‘you’ and ‘we’ actually is.

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  …I’m beginning to believe that you and your army of socialist nutter sockpuppets will soon need your own little planet, lad, as you’re overcrowding this one.

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