I find the term 'Islamic State' inaccurate at best. In fact, I consider it downright offensive. On 10 June, it will have been 12 months since Mosul was taken by a group of criminal thugs and terrorists. The people of Mosul have endured much suffering since, but the UK, the wider Global Coalition and the Government of Iraq are committed to defeating these terrorists.
I, as do most people in this region, use the term 'Daesh' to describe this group. It is a more accurate translation of the group's Arabic name, and sounds similar to an Arabic term which means 'to crush one underfoot'. It is important for us all to avoid conferring on this group any sense of legitimacy by calling it a state, particularly when it does not deserve it.
What kind of state murders hundreds of people, including women and children, just because they express a different opinion, are of a different religion, or even for smoking a cigarette? What kind of state uses children as young as 10 to perform the gruesome slaughter of its enemies? What kind of state throws people off buildings or murders them in public squares because of their sexuality? What kind of state enslaves hundreds of women for the sexual gratification of the common criminals that fight for it? What kind of state commits acts of mass vandalism and destroys historical ruins which represent the beginnings and accomplishments of human civilisation? What kind of state is so incapable of providing even the most basic of services, such as clean water or cooking fuel, that people are becoming ill and are now cooking on open fires? And when people do get ill, what kind of state is it that cannot provide its people with even the most basic of medicines? The answer is a state that has no legitimacy, no functioning justice system, no connection with its people and no future.
I'm particularly close to events in Iraq. I'm not confined to Baghdad: I regularly travel around this country from Basra to Erbil, Najaf to Karbala. I regularly meet Iraqis from across Iraqi society. They're rightly proud of their country and their history. They utterly reject the poisonous ideology of Daesh. They simply want stability, security and a better future for them and their families. Both personally, and professionally, I care deeply about them and about what happens to Iraq. I know that these are sentiments which are shared by people and governments across the globe.
I am proud to represent a country which is part of a Global Coalition of 63 countries committed to defeating Daesh. You can see the breadth of that commitment by looking at the countries within it, from the Arab world, to Europe, the Americas and beyond. A significant number of these countries met in Paris last week in order to review the Global Coalition's progress to date, and how else we might collectively support this ongoing fight and the needs of the Government of Iraq. As a further sign of our commitment, British Prime Minister David Cameron met Prime Minister Abadi at the G7 meeting in Germany in order to discuss how the UK was supporting Iraq.
The UK remains the second biggest contributor to coalition airstrikes against Daesh (after the US). We have flown over 870 missions, and conducted over 265 bombing raids on Daesh targets. As the second largest contributor to the coalition, intelligence and surveillance assets are already watching the skies over Iraq and providing vital information for Iraqi forces on the ground.
Britain has also decided to send an additional 125 soldiers to assist in Counter - IED training for the Iraqi Army. The UK has already trained over 1,400 Iraqi Security Force personnel, including 150 Counter-IED specialists and gifted the Iraqi government 1,000 VALLON C-IED detectors. Training the Iraqi Security Forces in this area will allow them to clear territory safely and return it to local people who have been displaced and unable to return to their homes.
Last week, we announced that we would increase our humanitarian support to Iraq by £20million, bringing our total contribution to £59.5million to support people across Iraq who have been forced to flee from Daesh brutality.
Despite media reporting around Daesh's taking of Ramadi two weeks ago, when you consider Iraq as a whole the direction of travel is clear. Not only is Daesh not a state, it is also losing the military fight. It now claims significantly less territory than it did six months ago. With support from its allies, the Government of Iraq and forces from the Kurdish region have liberated key towns including Rabiyah, Tikrit and Zumar. And with our support the siege of the Yazidis on Mount Sinjar was broken. It is only a matter of time before Daesh is pushed from Ramadi and Mosul too.
This so-called state is failing. This is not the coming of a long-heralded Caliphate. This is very clearly an imposter and a fake. And it will be defeated. The next challenge will be to support the Government of Iraq as it rebuilds trust between Iraq's communities. I am confident that it can be done, but we need to continue to support this process, even once Daesh has been thrown into the dustbin of history.
Frank Baker is Her Majesty's Ambassador to Iraq