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Blair says airstrikes not enough to beat militants

 

The Associated Press

 

 

LONDON -- Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair says airstrikes alone will not be enough to defeat Islamic State group militants. 

 

Blair says in an essay on his Faith Foundation website that Western powers should be ready to commit ground forces, warning that "you cannot uproot this extremism unless you go to where it originates from and fight it." The United States and France have launched airstrikes in hopes of weakening the group. 

 

Blair, whose final years in office were defined by the unpopular and much-criticized British engagement in the Iraq war, says that diplomacy and humanitarian work are not enough to fight the group. 

 

"Unless they're accompanied by physical combat, we will mitigate the problem but not overcome it," he says.

 

 

 

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