British Prime Minister David Cameron has taken a strong stance on the situation with ISIL. He cut his vacation short after news of James Foley's beheading broke last month. Speaking to the press on Friday, he promised that the executioner of American journalists Steven Sotloff and James Foley will "one way or another face justice." The executioner has officially been identified only as "Jihadi John," but it is believed he is a former aspiring hip hop artist from Southeast London. Cameron stresses further that he was "absolutely certain" the executioner will be apprehended.
The third known hostage, David Cawthorne Haines, is also British and a security worker, unlike the two previous known hostages, who were both American reporters. Overall, Britain and the United States have a policy of not paying ransom for hostages, though other European nations regularly do negotiate with terrorists for ransom payments, often in secret. Cameron stressed that once again that the nation would not negotiate with ISIL for a ransom payment, though noted security officials have been in touch with ISIL in regards to Haines's situation. In some cases, hostages are freed without paying a ransom through careful negotiations.
"I know it is difficult to hear and I've thought about this very carefully, but I'm absolutely convinced that the policy of not paying ransoms to terrorists for kidnaps is right," explained Cameron, "And I’m in no doubt that those countries that have allowed ransoms to be paid, that has ended up with terrorist groups, including this terrorist group, having tens of millions of dollars that they can spend on kidnapping other hostages, on preparing terrorist plots, including against us here in the United Kingdom, and in buying arms and weapons to wreak havoc. So I'm absolutely certain it is the right policy."
Cameron also noted that further military action is being deliberated. He told The Telegraph that the UK "should not rule out" aiding the United States with airstrikes against ISIL-controlled regions. Additionally, senior military officer Lt. General Sir Simon Mayall has urged Cameron to speak with Kurdish leaders who are fighting against ISIL.
"We’re prepared to do more and we're considering actively whether to give them arms ourselves and whether we can more directly to train Kurdish militia, we're already playing a role there but we can do more," Cameron told The Independent, "We need to do everything we can to keep our people safe and that means acting here at home and I’ve set out some of the measures we need to take to reinforce the already very strong armoury of measures we have to deal with terrorists. We then need to work in the region to put the squeeze on this appalling organisation, which is effectively a terrorist organisation almost now in control of its own state, and we shouldn’t rule anything out as we do that.”
This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.