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Blair:Airstrikes Not Enough Against IS 09/22 06:47

   Western powers must be ready to commit ground forces to the fight against 
militants from the Islamic State group because airstrikes alone won't defeat 
these "fanatical" extremists, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said 
Monday.

   LONDON (AP) -- Western powers must be ready to commit ground forces to the 
fight against militants from the Islamic State group because airstrikes alone 
won't defeat these "fanatical" extremists, former British Prime Minister Tony 
Blair said Monday.

   Writing on his Faith Foundation website, Blair said it would be better if 
the troops were to come from those closer to the fighting, such as Iraqi or 
Kurdish forces, but this may not be enough.

   "There is real evidence that now countries in the Middle East are prepared 
to shoulder responsibility and I accept fully there is no appetite for ground 
engagement in the West," Blair said in an essay dated Monday. "But we should 
not rule it out in the future if it is absolutely necessary."

   The U.S. and France have launched airstrikes in hopes of weakening the group.

   Blair, whose final years in office were defined by the unpopular and 
much-criticized British engagement in the Iraq war, said that diplomacy and 
humanitarian work aren't enough to fight groups like Islamic State.

   "Because the enemy we're fighting is fanatical, because they are prepared 
both to kill and to die, there is no solution that doesn't involve force 
applied with a willingness to take casualties in carrying the fight through to 
the end," Blair wrote.


(KA)


 
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