ISIL: why Cameron needs a quick kill

christopher_lee180-11

1 December 2015

Westminster

Prime Minister Cameron needs a quick missile kill in Syria – an ISIL leader rather than a playgroup. But in warfare, there are few guarantees.

The Royal Air Force is on standby to go with a reinforcement of two Tornado bombers – making ten in the Akrotiri squadron and six multirole FGR4 Typhoon jets.

The RAF Reaper drone crews in Kuwait have been tracking targets for weeks. The dry runs have been done. The Brimstone laser tracking missiles have already been used from the Tornado and the Americans in particular cannot wait for them to go-strike in Syria. The special forces to laser spot targets deep inside alien territory know the job.

The operational brief is signed off.

All that remains is for the Speaker of the House of Commons to call The Ayes Have It! The Ayes Have It! The green benched chamber will erupt with a roar to rival a Typhoon afterburn and 3,589 kilometres away the Akrotiri base will be on go.

Prime Minister Cameron will then wait.

In a meeting at Westminster after the Friday 13 November murders in Paris Cameron was overhead fuming that he intended to ‘kill the bastards”. Not the tone of the cool calm and collected but that soon returned. He, his whips and a leaderless Labour Party have, barring Parliamentary coup de theatre given Cameron his prize.

Cameron needs a Thatcher moment that will restore him to the sanctum sanctorum of the American and French leadership. President Obama, with finer sense of history than the British regards France and not Britain as America’s oldest ally. That hurts in Downing Street.

And so Cameron needs a Tornado’s Brimstone or a Reaper’s Hellfire to bring him the news he longs for: Al-Baghdadi down. That in Number Ten would be perfect although it is hardly clear that the RAF knows the exact location of Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.

Cameron wants it this week. His bendy people (aka spin-doctors) want the political victory roll any time very soon after the Commons vote. Cameron wants to hit the networks with a good kill.

He wants the video play of a scurrying ISIL team disappearing in a silent puff as their Toyota – surely the most photographed rebel/terrorist truck of the decade – is no more and they even less so.

The Prime Minister has taken the UK into another stage of war that has like all warfare, few promises of success. No military commander nor tactician believes bombing does it for them. A mythical follow on ground force is just that – wishful.

So Cameron needs a fireball. Truck. Oil tanker. Command centre. Dodging 4-wheel caught in the laser track. Strike one makes him right. Forget what happens next. Strike one is everything. He got it wrong over Libya. He needs another chance at the toughest of all shots a Prime Minister gets to call. It makes him a political hero – a euphemism for I told you so.

What he does not need is a mistake. He does not need a school bus. He does not need the world broadcast of a solemn spokesperson of Medecins Sans Frontiers.

War produces no guarantees.

 

 

 

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