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
  • 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

Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application Developer

£30000 - £40000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End UI Application ...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Account Executive

£18000 - £26000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They work with major vehicle ma...

Recruitment Genius: Service Engineers - Doncaster / Hull

£27000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Domestic Service Only Engineers are requ...

Recruitment Genius: Employability / Recruitment Adviser

£23600 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The Employability Service withi...

Day In a Page

Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...