Home > Publications > Open Briefing: UK actions against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria | Briefing #1

As MPs prepare to vote on extending UK military action against Islamic State from Iraq to Syria, Open Briefing has launched a new series of monthly intelligence briefings on UK actions in the two countries.

Funded by the Network for Social Change, these briefings will use the latest open source intelligence in order to identify British military actions against Islamic State in Iraq and Syria and analyse the military and political developments behind them. The briefings are published in order to inform debate on the issue and to ensure any military action is accountable. They are prepared each month by an analytical team led by a former British Army intelligence officer with 30 years experience in intelligence.

Summary of main points

  1. During November, the Royal Air Force assisted Kurdish forces fighting Islamic State around Sinjar, Iraq. Four attacks using Paveway IV guided missiles, one with a Brimstone missile and another with a BGU-12 guided bomb were reported.
  2. British intelligence enabled the United States to target and kill IS executioner Mohammed Emwazi (‘Jihadi John’) in Raqqa, Syria, using an armed Reaper drone.
  3. Islamic State coordinated or inspired attacks on a Russian airliner travelling from Egypt to Russia; in Beirut, Lebanon; and in the French capital, Paris.
  4. The UN Security Council unanimously passed a French resolution calling for ‘all necessary measures’ to be taken against Islamic State in the territory it controls
  5. MPs will shortly vote on whether to extend British military action against Islamic State from Iraq to Syria.
  6. After the Labour leader, Jeremy Corbyn, announced he would allow Labour MPs a free vote on military action against Islamic State in Syria, the prime minister, David Cameron, will be confident in winning the vote, and it is likely air strikes will begin soon.
  7. There are serious concerns over the UK military strategy, which appears to be considered simply the ‘least worst’ option.

Read the report