December 2015 – LONDON – Britain was poised on Wednesday to join a U.S.-led bombing campaign against Islamic State targets in Syria, with Parliament due to vote following a debate marked by bitter accusations that have revived the ghosts of Britain’s involvement in the Iraq war. The vote will come more than a year after the U.S. military first launched airstrikes against the Islamic State. Although Britain joined the allied campaign in Iraq last September, it has drawn a line at the Syrian border. After the Islamic State claimed responsibility for terrorist attacks last month that killed 130 people in Paris, however, British Prime Minister David Cameron vowed to expand his country’s military contribution to both of the terrorist group’s main sanctuaries.
Cameron’s push is expected to receive a significant — though not overwhelming — majority. Dozens of members of the opposition Labour Party have indicated they will break ranks and join nearly all of Cameron’s ruling Conservatives in favor of a motion that describes Islamic State as “a direct threat to the United Kingdom,” and that cites a U.N. resolution against the group as justification for attacks. Britain’s participation is unlikely to alter the military balance in Syria, though Britain does bring precision-guided Brimstone missiles that are considered an asset for the U.S.-led alliance. The U.K.s contribution is more significant politically. Britain’s absence from the fight in Syria had raised questions about the commitment of a country that has long been considered Washington’s most vital ally.
Britain had declined to join the bombing campaign in Syria last year. The government reasoned that — unlike in Iraq — the Syrian government had not invited Western intervention. But Cameron and his backers now argue they cannot halt their campaign at a border that has become meaningless as the Islamic State has conquered territory stretching across both countries. –Washington Post