The U.K. parliament Friday voted to strike the Islamic State group in Iraq after being recalled for a debate on the issue. While the motion to join the U.S.-led air attacks against the terrorist group had its detractors across the floor, Prime Minister David Cameron issued a rousing speech that clearly united an often-divided parliament.
“The fact is this is about psychopathic terrorists that are trying to kill us and we do have to realize that whether we like it or not, they have already declared war on us,” said Cameron. “There isn't a 'walk on by' option. There isn't an option of just hoping this will go away.”
The U.K. will join the U.S.-led strikes in Iraq along with France and the Netherlands, which will start its own strikes early next week. However, should the U.K. want to spread its strikes to Syria, a new debate will be required, said a government spokesperson. The concern, as communicated by many politicians across the floor in Friday’s debate, is that the U.K. does not want to be in a scenario where it is seen helping the Bashar Assad regime by destroying its opponents.
Cameron had taken steps to ensure that the motion would pass before debating the issue, avoiding a repeat of scenes 13 months ago when a government motion to strike the Assad regime after chemical weapon use failed to garner enough support across the floor, failing by just 13 votes.
Cameron didn't "want a repeat of what he did last year, which was to panic, recall parliament and fail,” Patricia Lewis, director of research in international security for the London think tank Chatham House, told the Washington Post.