Britain prepares to bomb yet another Muslim country

British planes are already bombing Syria

British warplanes are awaiting orders to launch missile attacks against Islamic State (IS) after Parliament backed military action in Iraq.

Six Tornado G4 fighters have been based in Cyprus since August but so far have been used only for reconnaissance. The bombers are expected to lead any British operations targeting IS.

On Friday, MPs from all three main Westminster parties voted for military action by 524 votes to 43. Britain has stopped short of extending its support to operations in Syria.

As well as the Tornados at the British Akrotiri base in Cyprus, the RAF also has a Rivet Joint spy plane – successor to the Nimrod – in the region. Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said “intensified surveillance” would identify “convoys” of IS fighters. He told BBC’s Newsnight the campaign would be “long and drawn out”.

Home Secretary Theresa May told the Times newspaper that new powers to target Britons who travel abroad to fight with IS, including the seizure of passports, could be introduced before the end of November.

British Muslim leaders have repeatedly warned that the air strikes will fail to destroy ISIS and will make Britain a target for terror attacks.

Meanwhile, Britain’s largest Muslim umbrella group the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB) released a statement yesterday neither condoning nor condemning the air strikes.

The statement read: “While there may be multiple views about the merits of using our military once again in Iraq, Muslims are united in their revulsion of the terrorist acts carried out by ISIS…

“Muslims  abhor the way ISIS has dishonoured Islam’s teachings of peace and tolerance.  Far from fulfilling the aspirations of freedom and justice in Syria, they have only made matters worse.

“There will naturally be reticence about our country’s participation in this action and the inevitable repeated scenarios of Muslim civilian casualties from aerial bombardment.  We must be mindful that such actions will serve to bolster the message of extremists, who are looking to profit from attacks made against them and radicalising more young people.

“That is why it is important that we be conscious of the humanitarian consequences of airstrikes and the need to uphold the rules of war.  The people of Iraq and Syria have suffered enough. Let us not make it worse.

“It is important to engage all the regional powers and actors in the process of finding a political rather than a military solution, across sectarian and ethnic lines. Moves to engage the Iranian leadership as a partner in this process have been long overdue and our Prime Minister’s meeting with the President Hassan Rouhani is to be commended.”

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