On Thursday (September 4), as NATO members arrived for a two-day summit in Wales, British Prime Minister David Cameron announced he would not rule out any type of military action against Islamic State (formerly known as Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL).
In a joint statement with US President Barack Obama, the PM said the two nations would “confront” the extremist group.
This followed the murders of two US journalists by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s IS faction, and a threat to kill a British hostage.
Cameron and Obama added that neither country would be “cowed by barbaric killers”.
Developments in Iraq and Syria will be high on the agenda at the summit. So, will NATO intervene?
Jan Techau, Director of Carnegie Europe think tank, gave his opinion.
“If a military intervention (from a Western perspective) becomes necessary, the big question is ‘will NATO play a big role in it or not?’. My guess would be rather not,” he said, adding “I think indeed perhaps a coalition of the willing is the model that they will follow; a kind of putting together a formation of member states who is willing to do this, but not using NATO assets for this.”
At the summit, the alliance is likely to approve plans to create a rapid response force, prepared to deploy to assist member states within 48 hours.
But this may not be enough, as James Franey, our correspondent in Wales, explains.
“There is a broad consensus her that military strikes alone won’t be enough to tackle the Islamic State. Obama and Cameron will need to seek support from those in the region. But, some say they won’t solve the problem without the backing of Iran, and seeking support from Syria’s President Assad.”