Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Monday that airstrikes are not enough to combat the Islamic State group, or ISIS, and that Western powers should consider “committing ground forces” to fight the radical Islamist group. In a lengthy essay titled “The Way Head” on his Faith Foundation charity website, Blair outlined a strategy for fighting radical Islam.
“Airpower is a major component of this to be sure, especially with the new weapons available to us,” Blair said. "But – and this is the hard truth -- airpower alone will not suffice. They can be hemmed in, harried and to a degree contained by airpower. But they can't be defeated by it.”
He said the West should arm and train locals on the ground, which the U.S. House of Representatives approved a plan for last week. “To those who say that after the campaigns in Afghanistan and Iraq, we have no stomach for such a commitment, I would reply the difficulties we encountered there, are in part intrinsic to the nature of the battle being waged,” Blair said.
Blair served as prime minister from 1997-2007, committing British troops in the invasion of Iraq in 2003. Blair received heat from his constituents for British involvement in Iraq, much like his close ally, former President George W. Bush, did in the U.S.
The Faith Foundation is an interfaith charity through which Blair seeks to combat religious prejudice, conflict and extremism” in all major religious faiths." He describes radical Islam as a “spectrum” and not a “fringe” that should be countered with a range of responses, including dialogue and argument.