Friday, August 05, 2005
"UK Blasts: The Iraq Factor," by Richard M. Bennett, Rediff.com (India):
Tony Blair was forced on to the defensive over the London bomb attacks for the first time on July 19, when a leaked threat assessment from the Joint Terrorist Analysis Centre (JTAC) --an integral part of the British Security Service, MI5 --specifically warned less than a month before the July 7 attacks that 'events in Iraq are continuing to act as motivation and a focus of a range of terrorist-related activity in the UK.'"Was Pakistan Visit for Terror Training?" from the Herald:
The report, leaked to The New York Times, also said 'at present there is not a group with both the current intent and the capability to attack the UK,' a flawed conclusion that only increased the pressure on the intelligence community to explain its failure to anticipate the possibility that the capital would be a prime terrorist target on the opening day of the G8 summit in Gleneagles.
Nor is the JTAC assessment alone in establishing a link between the bombing of London and the Britain's involvement in Iraq.
Chatham House, previously known as The Royal Institute of International Affairs (RIIA) and an internationally respected foreign affairs think-tank, stated in a new report that the war in Iraq had boosted Al Qaeda.
The Chatham House report also highlights the growing problems the Security Services have when it rather bluntly says that Britain's ability to carry out counter-terrorism measures has been hampered because the US is always in the driving seat in deciding policy . . . .
The most politically sensitive finding however concludes there is 'no doubt' the invasion of Iraq has 'given a boost to the Al Qaeda network' in 'propaganda, recruitment and fundraising,' while providing an ideal targeting and training area for terrorists.
At Westminster, the government forcefully rubbished an academic study which claimed Britain's role in the Iraq war had left it more vulnerable to terror attacks like the London bombings."Al-Qa'ida Deputy Warns of More Bombings and Blames Blair," from the Independent:
The report from Chatham House, formerly the Royal Institute of International Affairs, said there was "no doubt" the invasion had caused particular difficulties for the UK and the wider coalition against terror, boosting al Qaeda recruitment.
It further claimed Britain had suffered as a result of Tony Blair acting as a "pillion passenger" of the United States in the war on terror.
Jack Straw, the foreign secretary, said: "The time for excuses for terrorism is over. The terrorists have struck across the world, in countries allied with the US, backing the war in Iraq, and in countries which had nothing whatever to do with the war in Iraq."
However, a Guardian/ICM poll published today said two-thirds of Britons believed that there was a link between the prime minister's decision to invade Iraq and the London bombings.
Zawahiri's linking of Mr Blair's foreign policy to the London bombings follows claims by Hussain Osman, the suspect in the 21 July attempted bombings under arrest in Rome, that he and his accomplices were motivated by the suffering of Muslims in Iraq. Mr Osman, who is being held in Italy on a European arrest warrant, will face a hearing there on 17 August to decide if he can be extradited to the UK."He Has Made Us the Problem," from the Guardian:
Muslim organisations across the political and theological spectrum were almost united yesterday in condemning the prime minister's proposed measures, calling them "draconian" and warning that they would further radicalise and alienate the community . . . ."Rumsfeld: London Attacks Not Retaliation," from the AP wire:
[Said Inayat Bunglawala, a spokesman for the the Muslim Council of Britain,] "There has been no recognition that his own policies have contributed to a radicalisation of the Muslim community; the Iraq war has caused immense damage. And we would reject any measures towards prohibition of movements that support oppressed people elsewhere".
"Some people seem confused about the motivations and intentions of terrorists and about our coalition's defense of the still young democracies in Afghanistan and Iraq,'' Rumsfeld said in a speech to the Los Angeles World Affairs Council.
"They seem to cling to the discredited theory that the recent attacks in London and elsewhere, for example, are really in retaliation for the war in Iraq or for the so-called occupation of Afghanistan,'' he added. "That is nonsense.''