26/09/2014 World News Today


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This is BBC World News Today. I'm Tim Willcox.


Tonight - the British parliament overwhelmingly approves air strikes


524 four yes, the noses, 43. The eyes have it. Faced unchecked, we


will have a caliphate on the shores of the Mediterranean, with a proven


determination to attack our country and our people.


Meanwhile the US-led coalition continues to


He was last seen in public three weeks ago - now North Korea has


Former British Prime Minister, Middle East envoy and now -


The emergency debate in the Commons was passionate and lasted six


But this evening, after a huge majority of MPs voted in favour,


RAF fighter jets are poised to join the US-led coalition in striking


They could attack as early as tonight.


It will be the first time British bombs have been dropped in Iraq


Britain will become the latest to join the US lead


coalition against Islamic State militants - but only in Iraq.


Parliament will require another vote if they decide to strike in Syria.


The Danish government announced it was sending seven F-16 fighter


But, like Britain, they have also only committed to


France carried out its first attack on Iraq a week ago,


targeting IS positions near Mosul, while several other countries,


like Australia, the Netherlands and Belgium, are also giving


Meanwhile in Syria, the US-led coalition, supported


by Arab states, continues to bombard IS targets, with Saudi Arabia


and the Emirates each sending four F-16s into Syria earlier this week.


The latest US air strike in eastern Syria.


The target - a series of small oil refineries.


The goal - to choke off a vital source of funding for Islamic State.


Denmark announced its offer to give seven jets to join


Last evening, we received a formal request from


the United States for Danish fighter jets to take part in the fight


The government is of the view that it should meet that demand.


The government is therefore prepared to quickly send seven jets to


The Danish fighter jets will be active in the airspace over Iraq,


This shows the steady increase in countries lining up


In recent days, Belgium and the Netherlands have


A vote in the British Parliament has now given the green light for six


This is not a threat on the far side of the world.


Left unchecked, we will face a terrorist caliphate


on the shores of the Mediterranean and bordering a NATO member, with a


declared and proven determination to attack our country and our people.


This is not the stuff of fantasy, it is happening in front of us


These national contributions are small, but nonetheless significant,


The key success of the US-led coalition is to have many Arab


states as active participants, but Western military contributions


are also vital, with France and Australia already on board.


So far, despite much misleading commentary in the press, this is a


The numbers of aircraft involved is not huge.


But the problem for the coalition is to sustain this activity over time.


This campaign against Islamic State could potentially go on for years.


Each country's contribution, leaving aside the Americans,


may be small, but together, they make up a force that could continue


Our political correspondent Rob Watson is live outside Westminster.


A huge majority in favour of the strikes in Iraq, but a different


matter if the matter was put forward about Syria. Absolutely, and the


Prime Minister went out of his way to be quite starkly open to say, if


it was up to me, I wouldn't rule out using UK aeroplanes over Syria, but


he said what was important now was a political consensus. A year ago he,


he suffered a defeat over UK action in Syria, and he won't let that


happen again, so he has gone for safety first. Passionate voices from


some about why America, France and Britain shouldn't get involved in a


rocket again. How much discussion was there about the exit strategy


here and mission creep? There was discussion about all of these


things. If you take this spectrum about this, on one hand, there were


plenty of MPs saying, oh my goodness, here we go again. On the


other end of the spectrum, people who support the use of air strikes


in Iraq, but still say, look, we need something more comprehensive,


something better thought out, there will have to be political


improvement in both Iraq and Syria, otherwise air strikes on their own


simply won't work. On that point, boots on the ground, everyone talked


about that. They want to local forces to take on IS, but that will


take months if not years to get them equipped with the right military


hardware to take them on, wanted? Yes, two points there. The


reluctance of Britain to put boots on the ground is not just because of


political difficulties, they just generally think it would not be a


good idea, one of the lessons from 2003. That we do want to the problem


of, you will fill any vacuum left in a rack and in Syria if it Islamic


State are dislodged? Even in a rack, that looks like a hard sell. It has


been difficult to get the Iraqi forces to stand up, but in Syria, it


looks like an even harder sell with no prospect insight of some kind of


logical settlement there. Thank you. Well,


on the ground in Iraq and in Syria, thousands of refugees continue to


flee Islamic State forces. Many have described the beheading


of captives, the torching of homes and the widespread use


of rape by IS fighters. In the Iraqi capital,


Shia leaders are recruiting local people to fight back, and say they


don't need help from the West. The Iraqi government, though,


insists that outside Our chief international


correspondent Lyse Doucet sent this Britain is joining


an air campaign that has already gone on for six weeks.


It hasn't gone on for six weeks.


on the streets of Baghdad. It hasn't stopped the funerals.


This family mourns for a family member.


He died in a battle against Islamic State fighters just south


of the capital. Every death breeds defiance.


Now all these women tell me they are ready to fight.


So are these men. We get rare access to it


powerful militia brigade. It fight in Iraq and Syria.


This is how their leader has to travel.


He is now recruiting more fighters, Shi'ite and Sunni, to take


on this new threat and says Iraq doesn't need help from the West.


America has proven it always comes to us with the face of the saviour.


It hides in front of the people the ugly face of an invader.


And what about Britain? We see that the British are


the obedient slaves for America. In Iraq, the militias operated


separately from the national army and police. That means a lot of


checkpoints across Baghdad, but is still not stopping the violence.


These Iraqis know that between 15 or 20 mortars landed in this area in


the last week, a massive car bomb exploded at a checkpoint just behind


us. They have lived with danger for many years, and now this threat


posed by anti-Shiite group calling itself Islamic State makes their


faith even stronger. But in their fervor is no match


militarily for this new enemy. That is why the Government has asked the


world to help, including Britain. We do need the United Kingdom here


because the United Kingdom has a long history and a rack, they


understand a very well, and they understand the region very well.


They have the expertise. -- Iraq. This war will be won or lost, not in


the air, but on the ground. Let's go to Irbil in Northern Iraq


and speak to Clive Myrie. How has the British vote there been


greeted today, and is there an understanding that air power alone


won't be enough? Yes, to the first point of your


question, it was greeted with relief, it has to be said, and the


delight. There is no doubt that certainly as far as the Kurdish


person murder forces are concerned, who have been fighting and taking on


the forces of the Islamic State for the last few weeks and months, air


power has helped them overrun the Kurdish area here in northern Iraq


and take the capital of the independent region here in the


country. They are very grateful, frankly, the regional Government


here that there is another important Western power that will be taking


parts in targeting Islamic State positions in Iraq. At the same time,


the Peshmerga, the military here, and know that it is a battle that


will only really be won on the ground militarily, it is not just


going to be the result of air power alone, and as a result, they


continue to make that call to Western nations to arm them with


more sophisticated heavy weaponry so they can have an equal fight on the


ground with the force of some 20,000, 30,000 fighters who were


funded to the tune of millions of dollars a day to criminal


activities, that gives them access to heavy weaponry and machinery that


could make this a more equal fight. Presumably, there is no purely


military solution here, there needs to be a political solution, bearing


in mind what happened before in 2008, 2009 when America convinced


the local people to rise up against Al-Qaeda. Is there any indication


that those overtures are being met with any success? It is early days.


It is very early days. What you have to be able to provide for those of


Sunni tribes in the different provinces, the central belt of Iraq,


which is predominantly Sunni and has been taken over by Islamic State,


where they found a for title audience for their creed, because


those Sunnis felt disenfranchised in this country after the invasion in


2003, they have to be given an alternative to turn their backs on


Islamic State in the same way they turned their backs on Al-Qaeda in


2007 and 2008. That will stem from a much more inclusive Government in


Iraq. The Prime Minister Alla body -- the Prime Minister here says he


will give greater representation for the Government, and they could be


part of the future for the country. Once that is established, the list


can be pushed out to the Sunni community, after saying they have a


future in the country and therefore should turn their backs on the


extremist that came through Syria from the North.


Jonathan Russell, of the Quilliam Foundation, is with me now. Thank


you for joining us. Just looking at the vote in the Commons today, is it


pretty clear that this is the first of several stages, and that mission


creep really is inevitable average well, mission creep seems to be


designed into the Government's strategy. It is pretty obvious that


from the statements both made by the Prime Minister and by the many MPs


who were supporting him that the question about the border between


Iraq and Syria, which is virtually nonexistent, controlled by ISIS, is


an artificial border. And so, I think that also we have heard from


various MPs that the legal impediments are there, there are


sufficient legal covers which would allow us. So I think the Prime


Minister almost revealed the fact that he has only come to the House


because all he felt confident of getting was support for Iraq at this


stage, but that in due course, the possibility of strikes over Syrian


territory would be considered. And again, this debate about boots on


the ground will probably start raging now. It may result in a


request for some limited ground Force assistance as well. Presumably


there are special forces already on the ground anyway? Well, yes. Of


course, the British devilment, as a matter of policy, does not comment


on special operations, so we could assume that that may well have


happened, and certainly could happen in the future. In terms of the force


and potency of Islamic State, which is not a regular army, what are the


dangers of radicalising them yet further? I think we have got to be


aware of that danger, when we do engage in military. There are


various things that can prevent that. Having Arab states in this


international military coalition is one important way of doing that.


Should there be boots on the ground, it is important that they are Sunni


Muslim troops initially as well. But also, we should remember that the UN


has a role. Very underreported was a resolution from the Security Council


yesterday in flooring all of its member states, and passed


unanimously, I might add, to redouble their efforts to prevent


foreign fighters joining Islamic State. But individual countries have


done that, haven't they? I think we have got a grass now showing the


countries who have been providing fighters for Islamic State. Dr


Ashraf, first of all, the largest contributor is Tunisia. Now, is that


a surprise? Yes, this is something which the King's College centre has


done, and it has been out on the streets, this information, for a few


days. It is believed to be because of a combination of factors,


political unrest, also economic depression. There is not a great


deal but a lot of these young people can do, apart from join


organisations such as this. The rest of the other countries seem to map


areas where there is a combination of economic downturn as well as


political instability. What binds fighters from all of these 70


countries is the adherence to an ideology, and a belief in the


narrative of Islamic State, and other similar organisations. So it


is surely only by tackling this ideology at its root that we can


have any effect of stemming the flow of fighters to the Islamic State.


Just tell us a bit more about the philosophy of Islamic State, we are


all aware of the brutality, but this idea of trying to create a society,


people like plumbers and teachers and suchlike? The idea comes from


the idea of political Islam, which started about 100 years ago. This


particular branch is a subset, a violent Islamist strand, which was


personified through Al-Qaeda's ideology. Ultimately, there is no


ideological or theological difference between Al-Qaeda and ISIS


it is a political and strategic difference, humming down to the fact


that these people are primarily political. The religious overtones


are just there for identity purposes, but the reason they kill


each other, Al-Qaeda and ISIS have been killing each other, and the


reason is purely political, because they have not a single difference


theological or ideological. These are political movements, they have a


lot more in common with the fascist and communist movements of the


beginning of the last century than they do with old religious


movements. Finally, are we looking at Gulf War three? It certainly


looks like it, but we can learn the lessons of the first and second Gulf


War. Can we? Yes, I think we can. I think the key difference is having


Sunni Muslim countries in this coalition, and by thinking about the


long-term problems of Islamic State as an idea, rather than as an


organisation. So, more needs to be done to persuade Qatar and Saudi


Arabia to stop the funding as well? That is one point which came out of


the debate. Whether it is true that those countries are funding is


irrelevant. What is true is that people believe that they have been


supporting extremists. That point was made very powerfully today in


the Commons, and they will have to respond to it.


Now, where is the supremely dumb? That is the question on the Korean


peninsula, after the disappearance of North Korea's leader, Kim


Jong-un. He has been missing for a few weeks. It has prompted a flurry


of speculation in South Korea about his health. Now, the north has


admitted he is suffering from an uncomfortable physical condition.


This report from Sol town. It is the empty chair which is significant.


This is the supreme meeting of the rulers of North Korea minus the


supreme ruler of them all. It is the first time since Kim Jong-un


inherited power from his father three years ago that he has not been


present. The North Korean authorities said he was feeling


discomfort. How serious an admission of ill-health that is remains


unclear. It is more than three weeks since he last appeared in public,


with a limp. Kim Jong-un has been a thorn in the side of the West, as


North Korea develops nuclear weapons, and the missiles to deliver


them. He rules an isolated country squeezed by sanctions. In a way, he


dominates the life of the people here in South Korea, issuing


bloodcurdling threats. He is developing nuclear weapons, aimed at


this country and that the United States, so this place buzzes with


speculation. Having said all that, not too much should be made of that


speculation. After all, he vanished from public view for two weeks last


year. Kim Jong-un is not a man who shuns publicity. He usually travels


the land he rules with cameras nearby. Here's a to be feared. Last


year, his uncle and political mentor was executed. The official statement


from North Korea about his illness says he continues as leader. But it


must raise questions about the seriousness of the illness and his


ability to continue. One of Britain's leading


publications for the gay community is publishing a list of the top gay


icons over the past three decades. Some probably do not surprise you,


the likes of Boy George and Barbra Streisand. But one man on the list


might - Tony Blair, the former Prime Minister. The obvious question is


why? Let's have a look at Tony Blair's reaction to the accolade. It


is something I am very proud of, he said. I consider it a significant


part of my legacy. I disliked the hypocrisy where people had to


conceal their own identity. We can discuss this now with somebody from


the Daytimes. I think you said today that you do not need to be gay to be


a gay icon. What has he done for the gay community? When you look back,


you have got things like the equal age of consent, the repeal of


section 28, being able to be openly gay in the Army, protection in the


workplace, and his biggest introduction, civil partnerships, it


was introduced ten years ago in October. That is what his interview


was really to mark. Is this the choice of the publication, or


according to a poll? We sat down and we looked at the past 30 years of


issues we had done, and we had Tony Blair on the cover in 1997, and


there were lots of questions about whether he would do what he had


promised in that manifesto, and he did. We thought, he gets such flak


for all sorts of things, but on this issue, I think we should recognise


how much was done. Did he change the political weather, as far as the


British establishment is concerned? Absolutely. When I interviewed Tony


Blair a week last Monday about this, he said that he thought the most


important thing about his political legacy in this respect was the


Conservative Party, and how they have now come on board. He remembers


in the latter half of his premiership, they were voting for


gay equality, whereas previously that had been unimaginable. I think


he is link. I spoke to David Cameron a few months ago, when same-sex


marriage came in, and he said Tony Blair should take a lot of credit


for changing public opinion. It seems strange to think back 20, 30


is, where it was a story if a politician was discovered to be gay.


It was. We used to do this thing called media watch, in the first 20


years of Daytimes, and we would look at things which publications had


printed, which you would not possibly see these days. In terms of


his political legacy on other fronts, was that difficult,


perhaps? He is controversial, but anybody who tough decisions ends up


being a reversal. For Gay Times, and for me personally, you can have


different opinions on different subjects, but on gay rights, he


stood up for it, and he stood up for gay equality. Previous prime


ministers had not done that. Thank you very much for joining us. That


is all from the programme. Next, the weather.


We are likely to see some patches of mist and fork forming overnight,


particularly across some areas of southern England.


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