Counter-Daesh Update - International Terrorism

Mike Wood: Thank you, Madam Deputy Speaker. I quite understand that it must be my svelte figure that hides me from view.

Following large territorial losses in 2017 and 2018, Daesh declared a global battle of attrition in May this year. What steps is the international coalition taking to ensure that foreign terrorist fighters do not simply move their fighting elsewhere, beyond Syria and Iraq?


Rory Stewart The Secretary of State for International Development

My hon. Friend has put his finger on the problem. Isis affiliates are now emerging all the way from northern Nigeria to the Philippines, and they are feeding in every case on very similar problems: the lack of legitimacy of the local government; corruption; poor provision of public services; sectarian and tribal conflicts; economic problems, particularly unemployment among young men; fluid borders; and, in cases such as north-east Chad, even catastrophes of climate and the environment. Addressing the root causes that allow this type of insurgent group to flourish involves an enormous development effort, but we are currently about $2.3 trillion a year short of being able to provide the sort of support that could transform the economies all the way from northern Nigeria to the Philippines. What we can do is try to balance our investment with that of other partners in a modest and targeted way. We are now looking much more closely at the work we can do with the French and the United States on the border between Nigeria, Chad, Mali and Niger, but we may have to accept that we cannot control all of the world all of the time, which is why I believe that nimbleness, deep country knowledge, enormous flexibility and enormous energy are going to be required to deal with this over the next 30 to 40 years.