Former Chief of the Defence Staff Lord Stirrup said Britain needed to be “very careful how we tread in this particular area”.
He said: “There is a tendency to characterise this as some sort of global jihadist campaign when, in fact, in many circumstances in many of these areas they are regional disputes that have been going on for years.”
Meanwhile, former defence secretary Dr Liam Fox said Britain had to find new ways of co-operating with its allies.
“That the era when governments could choose to stand back and say, ‘that is not a part of the world that we collectively are going to be involved in’ is over,” he said.
“We live now in a very interconnected global economy. We’re going to have to find new ways of co-operating in terms of our military hardware.”