Kurds should be backed to hilt

The scenes of thousands of Yezedis on Mount Sinjar besieged by extremists from the so-called Islamic State and the terrible beheading of James Foley have horrified the British people.

Yet many are also very worried about British troops intervening again in Iraq. But there is no need for us to send ground troops to Iraq.

The soldiers who can overcome the jihadists are already there and deeply motivated in wanting to defend democracy and pluralism. They are the Peshmerga, those who face death in Kurdish.

The Kurds, who suffered a genocide under Saddam Hussein, are a standing affront to the Islamic State. Their part of Iraq has much better women’s rights, civil society, economic and political dynamism than many parts of the Middle East.

Yet they faced an enemy which had captured billions of dollars worth of the most sophisticated American weapons such as heavy artillery and armoured Humvees.

This gave them a big advantage over the Peshmerga with their ancient weapons and for which the ammo ran out.

The British government, and many others, have recognised the best thing to do is to arm the Kurds so that they can defend Kurdistan and then reverse the gains of the jihadists.

This is the right thing to do and helps us directly in reducing the number of British extremists who have become battle hardened and willing to use those skills back here. The Kurds should be backed to the hilt.