British Prime Minister Theresa May has claimed credit for the defeat of the Daesh (ISIL) terrorists in Iraq and Syria during a Christmas address to UK troops at Royal Air Force Akrotiri military base in Cyprus, saying British forces played a major role in crushing the militants.
She spoke to British troops on Friday while standing in front of a Typhoon war plane and boasting about her country’s military success in Operation Shader as part of the so-called US-led coalition, supposedly formed to fight the foreign-backed terror group, which were originally trained by the US as well as its Western and regional allies in their bloody campaign to topple the Syrian government of President Bashar al-Assad.
“Let’s be clear just what a difference that has made,” she said. “Just three years ago, Daesh declared a caliphate in Iraq and Syria, a safe haven in which to carry out the most barbaric acts and in which to plot murder on our streets at home.”
“But today, thanks in very large part to your efforts, the so-called caliphate has been crushed and no longer holds significant territory in Iraq and Syria. You should be incredibly proud of that achievement,” the British premier further claimed despite repeated rejection of such claims by Iraqi officials and lawmakers, who have described the air campaign of the coalition forces largely ineffective and at times working against Iraq’s military push against Daesh terrorists.
May went on to insist that British military intervention was still needed in the region to ensure that ISIL does not regroup or a new similar terror group emerge, pointing to her recent visit to Iraq to inspect the training of the nation’s security forces by British advisers.
“While we need to deal directly with the threat they still pose in the region, we also need to focus on training the Iraqi security forces to keep Daesh out,” she emphasized. “As conflicts and tensions fuel instability across the Middle East, it is not just the security of that region which is threatened, it is the whole international order on what global security and prosperity depends."
She further proclaimed that Daesh terrorists would still seek “new ungoverned spaces from which to plot and carry out attack."
This is while Britain remains one of the leading suppliers of lethal weapons to Saudi Arabia and most other despotic Arab kingdoms in the Persian Gulf in their brutal military aggression against the impoverished country of Yemen, where civilian areas have been the leading targets.
“It is you, your professionalism, your courage and your sacrifices that give meaning to the pledges we make as a nation,” May asserted. “It is you who take down our enemies and stand by our allies when the going gets tough… As prime minister I will do everything I can to lead the nation in this endeavour.”
The British military base in Cyprus is at the heart of the UK’s operations in Iraq and Syria and home to 2,000 military service members. It has been the launch point for more than 1,300 sorties to Iraq and more than 250 to Syria since the supposed coalition operation against ISIL began.
Last month May paid a visit to Iraq and held talks with her Iraqi counterpart Haider al-Abadi to discuss British investments in the Arab nation among other issues. She pledged to provide 20 million pounds ($26.8 million) in support of “human rights” and another 30 million pounds ($40.32 million) for stabilization efforts and reforms.
“We will continue to support Iraq as a partner in order to enforce security, building, and stability, as well as in training Iraqi forces and efforts to return the displaced,” May pointed out.