October 23, 2016

Syria war not like Iraq

UK action in Syria to target so-called Islamic State (IS) is not like the Iraq invasion, Tony Blair has told the BBC.
The former PM said the current action was different from the 2003 war because the West had allies in Arab countries.

He added that experience from conflicts in Iraq and Libya showed “dealing with the dictator” was not enough in the “wider battle against extremism”.

Extra RAF fighters have been deployed to bomb IS targets in Syria after MPs backed air strikes on Wednesday.

Two Typhoons and a pair of Tornados were seen leaving the RAF base at Akrotiri in Cyprus on Friday, although details of their mission have not been released.

On Thursday, Tornados struck at six targets belonging to IS, which the government refers to as Daesh and has also been referred to as Isis and Isil.

Mr Blair told the BBC’s Katy Kay: “Even if we thought we could stay out of Syria we can’t because our own interests are dramatically involved.”

He said the Paris attacks on 13 November had showed that if IS was given the opportunity to “gain strength”, it would come to Europe and the US and target Westerners.

But he said the Syrian conflict was different to those in Iraq and Afghanistan because the UK and US now had allies in the region.

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