RAF warplanes have carried out their second raid on a Daesh/IS target in Syria – the same oilfield that was said to have been destroyed on October 23, using Paveway bombs rather than the Brimstone missiles David Cameron said would be employed.
These are important distinctions. Firstly, if the RAF is hitting a target that was already destroyed just over a month ago, then the best that can be said about it is it is likely to be under reconstruction, involving civilian workers. David Cameron promised us blind that the UK would not attack civilians.
Claims that the attack was successful are less impressive when you know where and what the target was.
Secondly, the Paveway bombs are not as precise as Brimstone guided missiles. They come with selective fuse options to adjust blast radius and shrapnel, in order to cause minimal collateral damage, but we have no evidence that any such adjustments have been made in the two operations carried out so far.
The fact that the RAF has attacked a civilian target, rather than any terrorist military base, is also significant. David Cameron has, so far, avoided engagement with the people who are actually causing harm. He wants his war to last a long time.
And Defence Secretary Michael Fallon visited military personnel at RAF Akrotiri to feed them a lot of nonsense about support for their operations among the UK public. Considering the huge amount of protest against air strikes, he was wrong to say that they had the backing of “the people of Britain”. They don’t.
All in all, David Cameron’s war is turning into a dud.
RAF jets have carried out their second set of air strikes in Syria since MPs backed military action against so-called Islamic State in the country.
The Omar oil fields were targeted for the second time, using two Tornados and, for the first time, two Typhoons.
Defence Secretary Michael Fallon, who is visiting the British base for the Syria mission in Cyprus, said: “Last night saw the full force of the RAF.”
During his visit to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus, Mr Fallon thanked military personnel.
He made no assurances about the length of the campaign, telling them only it was “not going to be short or simple”.
“You go now into this full-bodied mission with your orders and with your training. But I want you to know also you go with the backing of the government and the people of Britain.”
The Ministry of Defence said the Tornados and Typhoons used Paveway IV guided bombs to hit wellheads in the oil field on Friday night, “thus cutting off the terrorists’ oil revenue at the very source”.
Eight attacks were carried out, and early reports suggest that they were successful, an MoD statement added.
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