The U.S. Spent 17 Times More Fighting ISIS Than Britain

British troops instruct peshmerga fighters
British troops instruct peshmerga fighters in Iraq Safin Hamed/Getty

While the US announced last week that it has spent $2.7 billion on the campaign against Isis, new figures have revealed that Britain has committed a paltry $124 million to stopping the radical extremists' expansion across the Middle East.

The Ministry of Defence (MoD) confirms to Newsweek that out of the UK's total expenditure for the campaign against the terror group, from the announcement of London's involvement in September 2014 to the end of the financial year in April, $72 million was spent primarily on operations against the group while $54 million has gone on stockpile replenishments.

Despite remaining the second-largest contributor to coalition efforts, Britain's expenditure to the combined operations represents a daily spend of just over $513,000, more than 17 times less than what Washington has pumped into defeating the group in its Operation Inherent Resolve every day.

The total British spend on battling the radical Islamists and preventing the spread of the group's ultra-conservative caliphate represents just 4% of Washington's outlay. This expenditure on military operations in Iraq is used for counter-IED training, refuelling capabilities, intelligence gathering, surveillance and supporting the Iraqi forces on the ground with airstrikes, an MoD spokesperson confirmed.

Britain's operations are limited solely to Iraq after the British parliament passed a motion in September ruling out airstrikes in Syria. US operations are conducted in both countries.

The revelation of these figures has led to senior military figures condemning the British commitment to the campaign.

Colonel Richard Kemp, who commanded forces in Afghanistan and served in 14 operational tours in the British military, says Britain's contribution is a "token effort" to be seen to be acting in the face of the terror group which has taken the world by storm.

"Our fight against Isis is half-hearted. It's proving ineffective," he says. "We don't seem to be willing to allocate enough resources to make any difference."

"Expertise is important and Britain has very highly skilled, highly competent people and equipment but unless you deploy it in sufficient strength it has no significant effect," he warns.

However, some experts believe the lack of contribution from Washington's coalition partners is of less significance in the battle against Isis than persuading local Sunni forces to co-operate with the coalition and the Iraqi military to help defeat the terror group. "If I were to rank all of the different reasons for the growth of Islamic State. Britain's paltry financial contribution might be number 1,000," says Max Abrahms, professor of political science at Boston's Northeastern University and member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

"I'm not overly concerned about Britain's contribution," he adds. "What we really need are ground forces and those ground forces are not going to come from the US and the UK in large numbers, they have to come from the Sunni tribes. We need local co-operation."

In a breakdown of Washington's leading role in the anti-Isis coalition, the Pentagon revealed last Thursday that, of the $2.7 billion spent since last August, $1.8 billion was committed to the Air Force, with $5 million spent on flights and reconnaissance missions every day.

Also $646 million was spent on munitions; $438 million on the Navy; $274 million on the Army; $200 million on special forces operations; $21 million on intelligence and surveillance ops; and $16 million on military pay. Britain's MoD declines to provide such a breakdown of operational costs.