"We don't have a strategy yet," President Obama said last week at a monumental press conference on the worrying rise of ISIL. At a time when the world appears to be descending into chaos, with terror eclipsing the Middle East, we turn to our leaders for reassurance, competence and direction. Yet the message sent out from Mr Obama and David Cameron of late has been anything but decisive. Currently in Cardiff holding one of the most important NATO summits in a generation, the West and their allies have the opportunity to form a response to the very real threat of the so-called Islamic State, an opportunity they have to take for the sake of their people at home and those suffering under the hands of terror abroad.
Following the summer recess, David Cameron came to the Commons this week with little more reassurance than Mr Obama has offered the US. The official line coming from Downing Street is that on dealing with the rising terror taking over Iraq and Syria by Jihadist fighters, the best way Britain can help is by continuing to support refugees with humanitarian aid, whilst assisting the Kurds in the hope that a stable Government can be formed in Iraq. The international situation we face from ISIL is "not unlike the Cold War," commented the Prime Minister, in the sense that as well as punishing IS militants, the West also needs to deter any subjects who are giving succor to the regime, having been inspired by ISIL's extensive propaganda.
However, speaking yesterday and commenting that Britain can do more to help Iraq, Mr Cameron has given his biggest hint yet that the UK may well follow America in using air strikes to attack IS fighters. The BBC confirmed yesterday that Conservative Whips are currently doing the rounds asking the Party's MPs how they would vote on military action if it came to it. Former Defense Secretary Liam Fox has made it clear to all broadcast news channels that he believes now is the time to go in. Labour have not ruled out their support for such action, providing it is legal and since the devastating beheadings of US journalists James Foley and Steven Sotloff, with Jihadists threatening to take the life of a British citizen next, it seems that we are moving ever closer to intervention.
A decision on military action cannot take place though until Mr Obama decides what his strategy is, and then there would have to be an official request from the Iraqi Government before British jets went in. It appears almost certain that this request will come, but significantly, the West are largely prevented from striking Syria, where many of the IS bases are in operation, without an alliance with President Assad. Such cooperation has been condemned by London and Washington, and so any action may not get the chance to attack the core of IS's operation.
In order to fight ISIL on the scale that is required, a coalition is needed between the West and their allies, a task that one would hope is being drafted behind the scenes at the NATO summit as we speak. As the world witnesses the biggest terror struggle in a generation, a strategy is needed and fast. Mr Cameron and Mr Obama can no longer hide behind the rhetoric of political talk, they need to offer the world words in order to demonstrate the leadership that is so desperately needed.