UK Stands Against ISIS: Protection or Jeopardy?

Members of the British Parliament have taken the controversial decision to both support and engage in military action against ISIS militants occupying Iraq. The overwhelming majority of Parliament voted to back the potential air strikes in the country. Thus following in the footsteps of our long-standing allies, the United States of America and possibly jeopardising international relations between the UK and other Muslim states.

In an interview on American news network NBC, Cameron insisted that ISIS’ power came from the way in which it was ‘controlling’ the state, with its irrefutable power coming from both oil and weaponry. It is, of course, undeniable that ISIS, as an organisation that loathes Western culture and lifestyle, poses a threat to the UK and the US. From the protection and precaution sides of the issue, one can understand the reasons behind Cameron’s insistence upon military action: in order to preserve the Western way-of-life in an increasingly globalised and international community.

Not only is Western culture at peril, but it is Western populations themselves that may or may not become the innocent victims of this battle between politics and religion. If we, arguably, have allowed ourselves the liberty to intervene in the Middle Eastern states and effectively ruin innocent lives for our nation’s wellbeing, then what is stopping ISIS from doing the same? It is this looming threat of hate-crime towards Western states that has compelled Cameron to take such drastic action.

However, the very idea of Britain granting itself access to Middle Eastern and Muslim states with its own national interests at heart displays just how radicalism is born. Anger and hatred is justified when foreigners disrupt one’s way of life, and from that frustration, radical thoughts are formed and spread like wildfire throughout communities. Radicalism and organisations such as ISIS are the result of years of negligence on the part of Western countries towards developing states; we have a tendency to disregard their cultures, their political statements and their way of life as being secondary to our own democratic system. Is this perhaps where our fault lies? Do we, as a Westernised society, perpetuate a vicious circle of religious violence by denying people the very right to express their religion?

Britain’s involvement in Iraq and the debate over whether air strikes are ethical are, of course, multi-faceted discussions with neither a correct nor a wrong answer. At the end of the day, each party is merely trying to preserve what is in their own best interests. However, the ritualised killing of British aid worker David Haines and a potential threat to a second British citizen must not be ignored. These could be the stepping stones towards a larger, much more complex and even more dangerous threat to the United Kingdom. The question at hand is whether or not we can afford to take a risk.

By Sharlene Gandhi


[Image Credit: Señor Codo]


2 thoughts on “UK Stands Against ISIS: Protection or Jeopardy?

  1. Really well thought out article, highlights the political conundrum of Western states and whether they should become involved with affairs in the Middle East. If, as you have asked in the article, organisations such as IS have spawned from our disregard for developing states and then pose a direct threat to not only our national security but perhaps even more so to innocents in their country of origin, do we have an internatonal responsibility to try and resolve the problem we have supposedly caused? A difficult question with no clear answer, although I’m of the belief that involvement to protect or preserve minorities as well as our own nationals here in the UK is wholly justifiable especially with the recent death of Alan Henning.

    • Hi Jed! Thank you so much for your lovely comment.
      ‘Conundrum’ is the right word – the situation is really messy and in my opinion anyway, further Western involvement in the Middle East gives way to even more room for resentment and resulting radicalism.
      I also agree that there is no right or wrong answer to the question of involvement, and at the end of the day, it really is not something that is black or white – there are so many external, political and social factors to consider. But it will never be a win-win situation; one side or the other will always face the consequences, and unfortunately, it will be innocent civilians who pay the price in the end.

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