‘Tony Blair has urged Britain not to rule out sending ground troops to combat the Islamic State (Isis), arguing air strikes are not enough to defeat the terrorist group.
In a 6,500 word essay published on his website, the former Prime Minister said that with the consent of Iraq and Syria and a broad international alliance including Arab countries, David Cameron could avoid the “weaknesses” of Western strategy after September 11th.
Mr Blair, whose political career was defined by his decision to follow America into war in Iraq and Afghanistan, said he fully accepted there is “no appetite” for ground engagement in the West but it may be necessary.
“We have to fight groups like Isis,” he wrote. “There can be an abundance of diplomacy, all necessary relief of humanitarian suffering, every conceivable statement of condemnation which we can muster, but unless they’re accompanied by physical combat, we will mitigate the problem but not overcome it…
“You cannot uproot this extremism unless you go to where it originates and fight it.”
His intervention came as David Cameron considers whether to join the US and France launching air strikes on Isis in Iraq and Syria.’