CUTS TO the Army must be reversed if Britain is to play its part in defeating “Islamic State” and other religious extremist threats across the globe, a former head of the Armed Forces has warned.
Lord Richards of Herstmonceux said thousands more regular forces were required to take on jihadists in Syria and elsewhere as he renewed concerns that more Western ground troops were needed to contain and push back IS.
He said it was a “tall order” to expect the SAS and other special forces to track down and bring to justice the killers of UK hostages Alan Henning and David Haines, including the English-accented executioner “Jihadi John”.
However, politicians of all parties and the public have shown little enthusiasm for sending troops back to region with protest marchers taking to the streets in London on Saturday.
Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg questioned the need for more forces and indicated that he was not persuaded of the need for the UK to join air strikes in Syria – but declined to say whether he would vote against it if David Cameron brought the issue to the House of Commons.
The Government’s military restructuring will see the regular Army cut from 102,000 to 82,000 while the reserve is increased from 19,000 to 30,000.