UKIP Defence Spokesman Mike Hookem MEP has spoken out against using only airstrikes to defeat Islamic State in Syria, saying the strategy would be “totally ineffective in combating the extremist jihadist group”.
Mr Hookem said the suggestion by the Conservatives of using fighter aircraft to bomb Syria was a “simplistic and predictable response to fix the failures of consecutive governments in tackling Islamic extremism.”
And he said that any approach against the terrorist groups must be as part of a grand coalition including Russia and China.
“We have been involved in airstrikes in Iraq, but the fact is IS have been making rapid progress across North Africa and securing bases in Libya. IS are exploiting the power vacuum created by the West’s 'quick fix' intervention which brought about the death of Colonel Gadaffi."
“Libya is now not only a training ground for terrorists, including the perpetrator of the recent massacre in Tunisia, but the base for people trafficking of both civilians for financial purposes and smuggling IS fighters into Europe."
Mr Hookem also said that the UK should follow the approach of France in bypassing Baghdad and providing assistance directly to the Peshmerga, who are leading the fight against the terrorists.
“We have a group of people who are defending a 600 mile border and have asked for weapons such as man-portable Javelin surface to air missiles to help them."
“Instead of that, we are selling arms to Saudi Arabia and Qatar who we know have financial links to a range of jihadi groups.”
“After nearly arming IS in 2013 - something UKIP led the way in campaigning against - we need to realise too many mistakes have been made in our Middle East and North Africa policies and start correcting them alongside other global players.”
“The sad truth is that Islamic State is even now embedding fighters in Europe due to EU’s open borders and their weak response to the Mediterranean migrant crisis. This threat to our security must be tackled head on rather than with knee jerk reactions.”