Iraq crisis: Isis extremists plan to attack us in the UK, warns David Cameron

Prime Minister calls for ‘long-term, hard-headed’ approach to deal with situation, as US pulls back from air strikes

The Isis fighters advancing across Iraq are also plotting attacks on Britain, David Cameron has said as he warned it would be a grave mistake to ignore the threat to this country posed by Islamist extremists in the Middle East.

Around 400 Britons are believed to have joined the Isis forces in Syria and ministers believe many will inevitably have crossed the border and be among the militants who have seized wide stretches of northern Iraq.

The Government released figures showing a sharp rise in numbers of “Syria-related arrests” of British nationals and UK residents in recent months. Of the 65 arrests since the beginning of 2013, 40 were made in the first three months of this year.

The security services’ biggest fear is that some extremists could bring back to Britain the deadly techniques they acquired in Syria and Iraq.

Several people have been stopped from travelling to conflict zones and the Government is pledging a “sharp focus” on the danger from jihadists returning from the two countries. It also plans new legislation to prosecute people who plan and train for terrorism abroad.

Mr Cameron told MPs: “I disagree with those people who think this is nothing to do with us and that if they want to have some sort of extreme Islamist regime in the middle of Iraq, it won’t affect us. It will.

“The people in that regime, as well as trying to take territory, are also planning to attack us here at home in the United Kingdom. The estimates are now that this is a greater threat to the UK than the return of jihadists from the Afghanistan or Pakistan region.”

The Prime Minister, who was defeated by MPs last year over his backing for air raids against Syrian government forces, has made clear Britain will not take part in any military action in Iraq.

He repeated it was up to Iraqi troops to repel Isis and urged the Shia-dominated Baghdad government to include more Sunnis and Kurds.

Mr Cameron said the answer to the crisis was “to be long-term, hard-headed, patient and intelligent with interventions we make – because these problems will come back and hit us at home if we don’t.”

He also announced an extra £2m of emergency humanitarian aid is to be sent to displaced Iraqis, bringing to £5m the amount pledged by Britain since the crisis began.

There were fresh indications in Washington meanwhile that President Barack Obama and his national security team are pulling back from ordering aerial strikes in support of the Baghdad government, not least because US intelligence has yet to find certain targets that would warrant such action.

Read more:
Militants bombard Iraq's biggest oil refinery as Baghdad braces
Fears grow that Baghdad could be engulfed in sectarian violence
Old enemies will confront common foe at arm’s length
Isis helping to thaw relations between the West and Iran

As he continued to ponder possible options for bolstering Baghdad in the face of the Isis advance, Mr Obama consulted for the first time directly with congressional leaders at the White House.

He has faced criticism from some Republicans for moving too slowly to react to the crisis while some Democrats have started to speak forcibly against any action that would threaten to embroil the US in Iraq’s civil war.

“It’s time for the Iraqis to resolve it themselves,” Harry Reid, the majority leader in the US Senate, commented in advance of the meeting.

“Those who attack President Obama for bringing our troops home from Iraq are wrong and out of step with the American people. After a decade of war, the American people have had enough. American families have had enough.”

General David Petraeus, who led American troops in Iraq in 2007 and 2008, warned that any American intervention had to have broad local backing to succeed.

“If there is to be support for Iraq it has to be support for a government that is a government of all the people,” he told attendees at an event in London, organised by the Centre for Policy Studies think-tank.

“This cannot be the United States being the air force for Shia militias… it has to be a fight of all of Iraq against extremists who happen to be Sunni Arabs.”

General Petraeus also expressed his regret at governmental failures he said had squandered the chance to move past sectarianism since US forces pulled out. “Sadly, in the past two and a half or three years, some of the deals [struck with rival groups] have not been supported or sustained,” he said. “That architecture, those agreements and initiatives have been undermined by sectarian actions.”

Terror Inc. Isis’s annual report

Over the past two years Isis has developed a disciplined military command which collects statistics and has produced two annual reports.

On 31 March 2014, Isis published al-Naba – “the news” – a detailed mix of narrative, table and graphs. The report show a central command that wants to publicise how it is using its resources such as suicide bombing and where it is achieving its targets: establishment of checkpoints, conversion of apostates and expulsion of Shia.

Isis divides activities into functions including assassinations, numbers of prisoners freed,  suicide-vehicle attacks and the number of repentant apostates. Isis has taken on board modern methods to measure its activities and to suggest areas for improvements. It also uses social media to reach an international audience.

The report only deals with Iraq. It is not clear if Syria – where Isis controls towns and operates administrative services as well as brutal regime of justice featuring amputations – operates a similar system.

It is clear that Isis aims to take control of the Sunni areas of Iraq. According to 2013 reports, Diyala in eastern Iraq was also the target of Isis’s repentance campaigns. “Dozens” are said to have deserted from the regime and joined Isis. Adding to this, Isis states that dozens of Shia were expelled from the province.

Source: Institute for the Study of War

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
Arts and Entertainment
Buttoned up: Ryan Reynolds with Helen Mirren in ‘Woman in Gold’
filmFor every box-office smash in his Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. Now he says it's time for a reboot
News
people
News
Actress Julianne Moore wins the Best Actress in a Leading Role Award for 'Still Alice' during the 87th Annual Academy Awards in Hollywood, California
people
Sport
Ross Barkley
footballPaul Scholes says it's time for the Everton playmaker to step up and seize the England No 10 shirt
News
'We will fix it': mice in the 1970s children’s programme Bagpuss
science
Life and Style
2 Karl Lagerfeld and Choupette
fashion
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Recruitment Genius: Customer Service Executive

£18000 - £22000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Retail Buyer / Ecommerce Buyer

£30000 - £35000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Working closely with the market...

Recruitment Genius: Sales Executive - CAD Software Solutions Sales

£20000 - £50000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A reputable company, famed for ...

Ashdown Group: Client Accountant Team Manager - Reading

Negotiable: Ashdown Group: The Ashdown Group has been engaged by a highly resp...

Day In a Page

War with Isis: Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria's capital

War with Isis

Iraq declares victory in the battle for Tikrit - but militants make make ominous advances in neighbouring Syria
Scientists develop mechanical spring-loaded leg brace to improve walking

A spring in your step?

Scientists develop mechanical leg brace to help take a load off
Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock: How London shaped the director's art and obsessions

Peter Ackroyd on Alfred Hitchcock

Ackroyd has devoted his literary career to chronicling the capital and its characters. He tells John Walsh why he chose the master of suspense as his latest subject
Ryan Reynolds interview: The actor is branching out with Nazi art-theft drama Woman in Gold

Ryan Reynolds branches out in Woman in Gold

For every box-office smash in Ryan Reynolds' Hollywood career, there's always been a misconceived let-down. It's time for a rethink and a reboot, the actor tells James Mottram
Why Robin Williams safeguarded himself against a morbid trend in advertising

Stars safeguard against morbid advertising

As film-makers and advertisers make increasing posthumous use of celebrities' images, some stars are finding new ways of ensuring that they rest in peace
The UK horticulture industry is facing a skills crisis - but Great Dixter aims to change all that

UK horticulture industry facing skills crisis

Great Dixter manor house in East Sussex is encouraging people to work in the industry by offering three scholarships a year to students, as well as generous placements
Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head

Hack Circus: Technology, art and learning

Hack Circus aims to turn the rule-abiding approach of TED talks on its head. Rhodri Marsden meets mistress of ceremonies Leila Johnston
Sevenoaks is split over much-delayed decision on controversial grammar school annexe

Sevenoaks split over grammar school annexe

If Weald of Kent Grammar School is given the go-ahead for an annexe in leafy Sevenoaks, it will be the first selective state school to open in 50 years
10 best compact cameras

A look through the lens: 10 best compact cameras

If your smartphone won’t quite cut it, it’s time to invest in a new portable gadget
Paul Scholes column: Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now

Paul Scholes column

Ross Barkley played well against Italy but he must build on that. His time to step up and seize that England No 10 shirt is now
Why Michael Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Why Carrick is still proving an enigma for England

Manchester United's talented midfielder has played international football for almost 14 years yet, frustratingly, has won only 32 caps, says Sam Wallace
Tracey Neville: The netball coach who is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

Tracey Neville is just as busy as her brothers, Gary and Phil

The former player on how she is finding time to coach both Manchester Thunder in the Superleague and England in this year's World Cup
General Election 2015: The masterminds behind the scenes

The masterminds behind the election

How do you get your party leader to embrace a message and then stick to it? By employing these people
Machine Gun America: The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons

Machine Gun America

The amusement park where teenagers go to shoot a huge range of automatic weapons
The ethics of pet food: Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?

The ethics of pet food

Why are we are so selective in how we show animals our love?