Cameron wants UK to join in airstrikes in Iraq

David Cameron (UPDATED 5/8)
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Cameron wants UK to join in airstrikes in Iraq
LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM - MAY 08: (L-R) Labour leader Ed Miliband, Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg and Prime Minister David Cameron attend a tribute at the Cenotaph to begin three days of national commemorations to mark the 70th anniversary of VE Day May 8, 2015 in London, United Kingdom. Both Miliband and Clegg said they will resign their posts as party leaders after they were soundly beaten by Cameron and his Conservative Party in yesterday's general election. (Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images)
Britain's Prime Minister and Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron and his wife Samantha are applauded by staff upon entering 10 Downing Street in London on May 8, 2015, after visiting Queen Elizabeth II, a day after the British general election. British Prime Minister David Cameron's Conservative party on Friday won a majority in the House of Commons in the general election, results showed. AFP PHOTO / POOL / STEFAN ROUSSEAU (Photo credit should read STEFAN ROUSSEAU/AFP/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 24: British Prime Minister David Cameron (L) meets with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the Unityed Nations during the 69th Session of the UN General Assembly September 24, 2014 in New York City. World leaders, activists and protesters have converged on New York City for the annual UN event that brings together the nations for a week of meetings and conferences. This year's General Assembly has highlighted the problem of global warming and how countries need to strive to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. (Photo by Timothy A. Clary-Pool/Getty Images)

UNITED NATIONS (AP) - The British prime minister said late Wednesday he will ask Parliament to approve joining international airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Iraq.

David Cameron announced the move in his address to the U.N. General Assembly.

Cameron did not mention the prospect of also joining the U.S.-led international airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria that began this week.

The threat of the terror group's grip on large parts of both Iraq and Syria has dominated this week's annual gathering of world leaders.

Cameron also warned against believing that it's necessary to "do a deal" with Syrian President Bashar Assad to defeat the Islamic State group, calling that thinking "dangerously misguided." He said the brutality of Assad's government has been a powerful recruiting tool for extremists during the conflict there, which is now in its fourth year.

Assad's government has not asked for international intervention in fighting the Islamic State group, but Iraq has.

The prime minister defended his decision to pursue the UK's involvement in airstrikes in Iraq, saying that the Islamic State group's threat is global and that "when the safety and security of our people is at stake, we must be uncompromising in our response."

There are lessons to be learned from the past, including the invasion of Iraq a decade ago, he acknowledged, but "isolation and withdrawing from a problem like ISIL will only make things worse," he said, using one of a number of acronyms for the Islamic State group.

Cameron also said Iran could help in defeating the terror group's threat. He met with Iran's president Wednesday, the first such meeting since the Iranian revolution in 1979.

"They could help secure a more stable, inclusive Iraq; and a more stable, inclusive Syria," Cameron said of Iran, though he acknowledged that disagreements remain on other issues. "And if they are prepared to do this, then we should welcome their engagement."

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