New ISIS Beheading Could Spur UK Support For US Airstrikes

While the latest beheading video released by ISIS may have been meant as a warning, it may end up rallying the British in support of air strikes.

New ISIS Beheading Could Spur UK Support For US Airstrikes
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ISIS has beheaded its third Western victim — British aid worker David Haines. But while the gruesome act was meant as a message of a fear, it might instead serve as a rallying call for the United Kingdom.

When U.S. President Obama made the call for a broad coalition against ISIS this month, some saw it as a shaky concept at best, with many of the U.S’s European partners reluctant to join another military campaign in the Middle East.

But now ISIS has directly involved the U.K. by murdering one of its citizens, something one CNN military analyst says was a miscalculation.

LT. COL. RICK FRANCONA: "I think this will galvanize the British population. This is pushing the British over the fence, and I cannot believe ISIS didn't factor that in."

YouGov polls for The London Times show support for strikes was growing well before Haines' execution, jumping from 37 percent to 47 percent in favor between August 11 and September 3.

A writer for New Statesman, a British political magazine, compared the execution of Haines to the downing of flight MH17 in Ukraine. After the plane was shot down, British opinion suddenly saw the Ukraine conflict as a concern for Western nations.

Though Foreign Policy says the beheading could have the opposite effect, writing “it may also strengthen those arguing that Britain risks paying a high price for its new alliance with the U.S. in the anti-ISIS fight.”

Either way, the Haines beheading drew some especially harsh words from U.K. Prime Minister David Cameron: 

DAVID CAMERON VIA THE TELEGRAPH: “There is no option of keeping our heads down and keeping us safe. ... We cannot just walk on by if we are to keep this country safe, we have to confront this menace.”

And as a military analyst told Al Jazeera, should the U.K. join the U.S. airstrikes against ISIS, it could be a good sign for Obama’s coalition:

COL. CEDRIC LEIGHTON: “I think that it has the chance of influencing them. ... They’ll probably have a stronger influence on a country like France for example then they will on Germany but I do believe that will help increase the size of the coalition.”

Cameron called for a special emergency meeting Sunday to decide what steps his country will take in response to Haines’ murder.

This video contains images from Getty Images.