Coffee House The Spectator Podcasts

Video: Does Cameron have an Iraq policy? Or is he just making it up?

18 August 2014

3:43 PM

18 August 2014

3:43 PM

The Prime Minister has returned from his holidays, and yesterday wrote an intriguing piece in the Sunday Telegraph about the ongoing struggles in Iraq and Syria. ‘True security will only be achieved if we use all our resources – aid, diplomacy, our military prowess – to help bring about a more stable world’ he wrote, and this morning Defence Secretary Michael Fallon sounded distinctly hawkish about British involvement in Iraq.

But what does any of this actually mean? Fraser Nelson tries to get to the bottom of things in our look at the week ahead, while Isabel Hardman wonders whether anyone – including Cameron – knows what our policy is anymore. Meanwhile Douglas Murray argues that an increased closeness between Britain and Iran will simply lead to problems in the future.

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Show comments
  • Roger Hudson

    ISIS is not a full-service military force, it is a horde, murderous gangs in humvees rushing to slaughter. They obviously have no engineer troops or the dam would have been prepared for demolition ( i know it’s an earth dam but they could have blown the sluices and turbines). We should use anti-personnel bombs(FAE or bring back Napalm) and not use HE against odd humvees.

  • Augustus

    He hasn’t the faintest idea. Nether has Obama. ‘setting ISIS back a bit’ just about sums it up. What Obama should be doing, of course, is orchestrating a military coalition just as George H.W. Bush did to drive Saddam Hussein out of Kuwait. But the fact is that’s not on today because everyone’s afraid of participating because of all the Muslims in our midst, and what they’ll do to upset the peace all over Europe. Perhaps we should leave it to the Pope to call for a new crusade. Because ultimately this is an Islamic crime against Christians and others (including Muslims) whom they deem either insufficiently devout, or inferior.

  • rolandfleming

    Really enjoy the podcasts and videos but the audio is almost always terrible. Please, please get some lapel mics + get someone to sort out the levels afterwards!

  • Curnonsky

    Please use lapel mics in the future – those table mics don’t work properly unless you’re speaking directly into them.

  • Fergus Pickering

    Well of course he’s making it up. And quite right too. Would it be right to have a policy that didn’t react to events?

  • saffrin

    I should think the first thing to help bring about a more stable world would be to stop selling every little rag-tag outfit around the World all the weapons they can handle.

  • David Booth.

    “Does Cameron have an Iraq policy? Or is he just making it up”

    Jackanory, Jackanory, I’ll tell you all a story.

  • MaxSceptic

    Nobody in government has the foggiest idea what to do.

    I do:

    1. Let them fight out their bloody 17th-Century sectarian/religious wars. (Hopefully, in 200 years hence doe so they enter an Enlightenment.

    2. Support the notion of an independent Kurdistan (a bit of shit-stiring that will not limit itself to the Kurdish areas of Iraq and Syria).

    3. Buy their oil, dates and carpets. Sell them everything else (for cash. no Aid).

    4. Ensure that any blowback in Europe is cauterised at source.

    5. Restrict Third World immigration to non-Islamic peoples with university diplomas.

  • Cooper1992

    Great video guys. This will not be the first time that you will have to report on this issue, so get used to knowing the geography of Iraq.

    The three long terms problems, and you raised two of them:

    1) Kurdistan – There is no way that the Kurds are going to accept anything less than full independence. Similarly there is no way that Iran, Turkey nor Syria will accept a Kurd state. And of course Iraq is unlikely to either. Could we be seeing the start of an Iraq-Kurdistan war?

    2) Iran – The views of Iran are important because (apart from a Turkey that looks westwards) they are the only stable power in the region. Could we see an end to sanctions towards Iran by the United States? Could we see Iran getting involved in clearing out the rebels of Western and Southern Iraq? There is no way that the US will put troops on the ground, but I really don’t think the Iraqi Army are strong enough.

    3) ISIS – You didn’t touch upon ISIS in the long term. Yes they are being pushed back in the North of Iraq, but have you not realised how much money they have taken from this operation? Have you not seen how much publicity they have received? Have you not see the weapons they have captured and the skills and knowledge they have no doubt acquired through this conflict? They are now a battle-hardened fighting force that still has a huge presence on a war-torn Syria with a gateway out of Western Iraq into Jordan, Saudi, or even the unstable Egypt. To think that ISIS will be destroyed in 12 months time is naive.

    • HookesLaw

      When does your application to join the United Services Institute come through? The day after Mr Nelson’s I suppose.

      • Jane456456

        My first post on here, but having read spectator articles online for a few months now, I must say: you really are the most bitter user on here.

        Let me guess, you’re unmarried, childless, jobless, and have nothing else to do with your life? Are you a Labour voter as well by any chance?
        I’ve never seen a single comment by you on here that actually says anything. It’s just more and more bitterness!
        And Fraser you are doing a great job! Very informative video!

        • Paul Hughes

          Defending the coalition is an increasingly thankless and impossible task. He was a good man once. I’m sure he still is. Tribally loyal to the party, he is forced to resort to ever-more unreasonable methods with which to defend the indefensible.

          I was once a solid Cameroon. Hooky and I were of the same mind back then. That was back in those exciting days in 2009/10 when the party seemed to have energy, an appetite for new ideas and a real drive to govern. Now we have drift, indecision and a return to a 1970s age of consensus where Rizlas are too fat to pass between the parties.

          • HookesLaw

            If you think that then you are certainly misguided. The govt have been very radical despite it actually (remember?) being a coalition. Health education welfare pensions public sector jobs. All opposed by Labour. Economically it has sensibly sustained the economy whilst delivering cuts with more to come and also achieving good growth that the Euzone can only dream off. All labours economic attacks have turned to dust.
            Cameron (and indeed most tory leaders) is to the left of me. But I recognise that elections are won from the centre.
            What I also recognise is that Thatchers first cabinet was more left wing than Cameron’s even with its libdem component.

            Even as I type I see on the News the marches and union protests being made at the increased role of the private sector in the NHS. This is not drift. These marches tell me the government are doing the right thing.

            • southerner

              “Cameron (and indeed most tory leaders) is to the left of me..”

              That claim was side splitting the first time you made it some months back. Still hasn’t lost the comedic value.

              Do tell – what issues / policies of Call Me are you to the right of then?

          • itdoesntaddup

            Cameron admitted that in September 2009…”not a cigarette paper of difference” when he called for coalition with Lib Dems that would vanquish Labour. He spent the time up to the election getting the coalition he always wanted.

        • HookesLaw

          Guess wrong. Me a labour voter? Ha… well well well – you just show how crazy your amateur efforts at profiling are. Fraser doing a good job. Don’t make me laugh.

          Bitter? Do you never read all the endlessly bitter and warped comments from the usual gang of nutjobs?
          Spare me the witless lecture from armchair strategist Mr Cooper. But no… what we get from The Spectartor, ever eager to spead its own particular level of ineptitude is the theory that its the governemnt that does not know what its doing.

          In fact the govt are behaving pretty sensibly and (if we are to believe the BBC) has broad all party support.

        • southerner

          “Are you a Labour voter as well by any chance?”

          He may as well be. He and the Camerloons are archetypal socialists.

        • Colonel Mustard

          He’s not a Labour voter but what might be termed a “reconstructed Tory”. Once Tories are “reconstructed” they sign up to Common Purpose and tend to view anyone to the right of their left of centre position as a rabid, racist, homophobic, far-right bigot.

          The idea of this “reconstruction” was to appeal to voters and win votes from the “new” centre-ground, getting rid of the “nasty party” sobriquet usefully invented for the left by a Conservative, Theresa May. The “centre” ground has been shifted leftwards by decades of socialist propaganda and the Long March through the institutions. Unfortunately for Cameron and his clique the real left remain scornful and committed to their campaign of quasi-religious and morally judgemental hatred against ALL Tories, including the reconstructed ones.

          The reconstruction strategy has effectively alienated a significant proportion of conservatives though, leaving Dave and his mates, including Capt Hook, uncomfortably occupying a thin sliver of disputed and ill-defined ground which they think is the moderate centre, which the left think is just “Tory business as usual” (assisted by dumb policies, corporate preferences and the Eton thing) and which a majority of older conservatives, I suspect, think is left of centre and plain barmy.

        • AtMyDeskToday

          “I must say: you really are the most bitter user on here.”
          He is not that, there are others that leave him well behind.

          • Colonel Mustard

            You should name and shame them from your position of judgemental omnipotence and perfection.

            But what you really mean is that people who disagree with your view of the world are bitter. It disenfranchises them for your ego.

            • AtMyDeskToday

              Let me understand this… you apparently did not find Jane456456’s post judgemental and omnipotent, but you did mine. I’m guessing that’s because hers agreed with your view of the world, and your ego, whereas your **assumptions** about mine did not.
              There you go Colonel, being bitter apparently comes naturally to you. Although to be fair I was not thinking of you in my original post as most of the time you are well balanced if a little prone to madness now and then.

    • ButcombeMan

      All absolutely correct.

      I said elsewhere that we are now into a 200 year war.

      A whole new concept of NATO is needed.

      And Yes, HMG is making it up as it goes along, not much wrong with that until the fog clears.

      Labour trying to score points is pathetic, after Blair’s Iraq antics

    • RichardBaranov

      Cooper1192 and others. I think you will find this article instructive with regards to Turkey in relation to the Kurds. It appears that things are quite the opposite of what one would expect.

      “Meet the Kurds, a Historically Oppressed People Who Will Get Their Own State.”

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Yes, the de facto Kurdish state has been a reality for nearly a 1/4 century now. The US provided the no-fly zone, and the Kurds took it from there.

    • Alexsandr

      I dont think siding with Iran is a good idea. their government is quite nasty towards the West, and is quite fanatical over destroying Israel
      we should not side or help any of them. And we should look to ways of cutting off their supply of money. We need an alternative to mid eastern oil.
      lets get frackin’

      • Baron

        Spot on, Alexandr, we have to shake off our dependence on the stuff they sell us. make massive profits on, indulge in World Caliphate fantasies.

        and another thing: what happened on the other PeterfM site, Baron cannot log in. Any idea?

        • Alexsandr

          broken for me too. I am sure he will fix it tomorrow

          • Baron

            Merci, Alexandr, and keep on hitting them hard.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        Nobody’s siding with Iran, trust me. This whole effort is about Iran and their nukes. The mullahs never gave in, and have made it clear that they’ll develop nukes at their whim. Meanwhile, they’ve stayed attached to Assad and have lured the Baghdad government into their sphere.

        It was only a matter of time before the Saudis and the rest of the Arabian Peninsula gangsters began to war on Iran by proxy. ISIS is their handmaiden. They built it up, got it bloodied in Syria, then turned to their real job, to take over the Sunni regions in Iraq, and pressure the mullahs’ Shiite buddies.

        And now, here we are. ISIS is doing the West’s budding, and the Sunni islamofascists’. They’re doing to Iran what diplomacy failed to do… put pressure on the mullahs.

        Next, you’ll see the West posture themselves as the “honest broker” in this conflict. This is all so predictable.

        • Roger Hudson

          Saddam used to be our proxy against Iran throughout the ’80s, look how that blew back.

      • Roger Hudson

        At least Netanyahu has been diverted from Iran to Gaza.
        As for oil we should reduce fossil fuel use and then buy oil from
        Norway, Scotland (ho ho), USA, Nigeria and Venezuela . Live without Arab/Kurd/ Persian oil.

      • Roger Hudson

        At least Netanyahu has been diverted from Iran to Gaza.
        As for oil we should reduce fossil fuel use and then buy oil from
        Norway, Scotland (ho ho), USA, Nigeria and Venezuela . Live without Arab/Kurd/ Persian oil.

  • Blindsideflanker

    Very simple, avoid offending the religion of peace, and avoid the possibility of adding the odd barnacle.

    • Ordinaryman

      But, can I depend on the “religion of peace” not offending me? I seem to remember them (as in Muslim extremists) blowing up one or two things before the Iraq/Afghanistan/Libya debacle.

      • Alexsandr

        they use offensive words like kaffir and infidel too.

        • Fergus Pickering

          I can live with a few offensive words. It’s what they do that bothers me. Otherwise I would treat them like rabid Scotchmen.

          • AtMyDeskToday

            Clearly you can live with them, as you yourself practice them daily here.