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UK unveils five-point plan to tackle ISIS

17:51 17 December 2015 Author :   The Staff

Two senior British ministers on Thursday set out a five-point plan to tackle ISIS.

Chancellor George Osborne and Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond laid out the proposals in an article in The Daily Telegraph newspaper ahead of UN meetings in New York on fighting the threat in Iraq, Syria and around the world.

“In recent weeks, we have seen appalling events in France and America,” they wrote. “Acts of terror have killed hundreds of innocent people going about their daily lives. They have been designed to divide the Western world and to spread fear across our great nations.

“Instead, we stand together, strengthened by our united determination to hold firm to our shared values and confront the evil that threatens us.”

Calling for the international community to combat “a new type of threat”, Osborne and Hammond added: “Not only are the leaders of this death cult inflicting a barbaric, brutal terrorism on the people who live in the swathes of territory they control, but they want to extend their brutality around the world.”

The ministers, both members of Prime Minister David Cameron’s Conservative government, said the first element was to counter terrorism domestically with a strategy to prevent attacks that “leaves no hiding place for the extremist ideology that fuels it.”

They also called for diplomatic action to deliver political transition in Syria. This would include discussions between Syrian opposition groups and President Bashar al-Assad’s regime, they said.

A meeting on Friday will see international and regional powers try to end the civil war in Syria through a UN Security Council resolution to put a cease-fire monitoring team in place and support the process that will ultimately result in Assad leaving office.

Thirdly, humanitarian aid would help millions of refugees forced to flee ISIS  and Assad’s “brutality”, they added. The ministers said the U.K. was prepared to contribute another 1 billion pounds ($1.49 billion) for post-conflict reconstruction on top of the 1.1 billion pounds ($1.64 billion) already given for refugees.

The fourth point would be to counter ISIS propaganda, undermine its ideology and stop the flow of recruits.

Cutting off ISIS from the global financial system was the final element and the ministers identified the oil trade as vital to undermining funding for the group.

They said Syrian oilfields were believed to be provided ISIS with around $1.5 million a day. “We know that the military action we are now taking with our allies, targeting oil infrastructure, is starting to limit this resource,” they wrote. “But we can and should do more.”

Finance ministers from Security Council members, including Osborne, are to meet on Thursday to agree measures to “deny ISIS access to the resources they need, finding and exploiting the vulnerabilities in their financial network,” the pair wrote.

They said the UN sanctions regime should target traders and middlemen in the trade in oil and looted antiquities that funds ISIS.

Osborne and Hammond also called for greater cooperation between police and intelligence agencies to identify the middlemen and prosecute those linked to terror funding.

“When nothing less than the values of freedom and democracy are threatened, it is vital that all of us around the world who share them work together to confront the threat,” they said.

As part of the U.S.-led coalition against ISIS, Britain has been carrying out airstrikes in Iraq since September last year and in Syria since earlier this month.

On Wednesday, Hammond told parliament the U.K. had carried out more than 1,600 missions and 400 strikes on ISIS targets.

Anadolu Agency

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