Britain Nearing Military Action Against Islamic State

Emergency conference in Paris seen as first step toward formal decision to join effort to eradicate Islamist militants in Iraq.

AFP

Britain is nearing a decision to join military action against the Islamic State as leaders and diplomats from over 30 countries gather in Paris to discuss the burgeoning crisis involving the militant Islamist group, The Guardian reported Monday.

French President Francois Hollande urged Western and Arab countries to engage "clearly, loyally and strongly at the side of the Iraqi authorities," according to the Guardian. "Iraq's combat against terrorism is also ours."

Conservative MPs grew more anxious to take action after the beheading of British aid worker David Haines, 44, who was the third foreigner to suffer the gruesome fate at the hands of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS.

However, Prime Minister David Cameron refused their demands to recall parliament, which has been suspended ahead of the upcoming referendum of Scottish independence, even as he vowed to "hunt down" Haines's killers.

According to The Times of London, the British press is in agreement that British involvement is only a matter of time. The paper laid out three key steps to British involvement, starting with Philip Hammond, the British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, attending Monday's emergency meeting in Paris to discuss supporting Iraq in its fight against the Islamic State.

The next step is expected to be Cameron delivering an address to the UN general assembly this week, which government sources see as an "important moment," The Times reported. Finally, Cameron will likely recall parliament in the next couple of weeks, either after the Labor party conference or the Tory gathering, to approve military action, according to The Times.

Some Conservative MPs, such as Alistair Burt, the former foreign office minister, do not want to wait that long and are calling on Cameron to "act before it is too late," says The Times. Some British ex-commanders also reportedly said over the weekend that "boots on the ground" would be inevitable, though Cameron would not propose such a measure at this point