As expected the British parliament has voted to authorise air strikes on ISIL targets in Iraq.
The vote was conclusive; 524 votes for, and only 43 against.
The debate featured many MPs expressing grave concern that this would be another unwinnable war fought in a part of the world where western solutions appear inapplicable. Labour leader Ed Miliband warned if Iraqis themselves were not prepared to fight for their country, would Britain just get bogged down again?
“Well let me answer that very directly. This is going to be a mission that is going to take not just months but years. But I believe we have to be
prepared for that commitment,” said Prime Minister David Cameron.
British planes are likely to use the air force’s facilities in Cyprus as the bases from which to launch air strikes, which the prime minister assured would take the maximum care to avoid civilian casualties.
And although no-one is talking about ground forces, their possible use remains the elephant in the room.