The War On Terror: Cause and Effect

Cause And Effect

It’s disconcerting that the British government feels the need to debate the possibility of a connection between the recent attacks in London and the UK’s roll in the invasion and occupation of Iraq. As the Independent’s Patrick Cockburn pointed out in an Op-Ed in yesterday’s edition

”The suicide bombing campaign in Iraq is unique. Never before have so many fanatical young Muslims been willing to kill themselves, trying to destroy those whom they see as their enemies. On a single day in Baghdad this month 12 bombers blew themselves up. There have been more than 500 suicide attacks in Iraq over the last year.

It is this campaign which has now spread to Britain and Egypt. The Iraq war has radicalised a significant part of the Muslim world. Most of the bombers in Iraq are non-Iraqi, but the network of sympathisers and supporters who provide safe houses, money, explosives, detonators, vehicles and intelligence is home-grown.

The shrill denials by Tony Blair and Jack Straw that hostility to the invasion of Iraq motivated the bombers are demonstrably untrue. The findings of an investigation, to be published soon, into 300 young Saudis, caught and interrogated by Saudi intelligence on their way to Iraq to fight or blow themselves up, shows that very few had any previous contact with al-Qa’ida or any other terrorist organisation previous to 2003. It was the invasion of Iraq which prompted their decision to die.

Some 36 Saudis who did blow themselves up in Iraq did so for similar reasons, according to the same study, commissioned by the Saudi government and carried out by a US-trained Saudi researcher, Nawaf Obaid, who was given permission to speak to Saudi intelligence officers. A separate Israeli study of 154 foreign fighters in Iraq, carried out by the Global Research in International Affairs Centre in Israel, also concluded that almost all had been radicalised by Iraq alone.

Before Iraq, those who undertook suicide bombings were a small, hunted group; since the invasion they have become a potent force, their ideology and tactics adopted by militant Islamic groups around the world. Their numbers may still not be very large but they are numerous enough to create mayhem in Iraq and anywhere else they strike, be it in London or Sharm el Sheikh.”

Further to that, in the same edition, Imran Khan very poignantly stated…

“Some history is in order. After the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979, the US used Islam to counter the occupation. It sponsored an international jihad in the Muslim world and encouraged volunteers from Muslim countries to join in it. Thousands, including Osama bin Laden, flocked to Pakistan, where US-funded training camps were set up under CIA supervision. These plucky mujahedin were glorified in the West. But once the Soviets were defeated, both Afghanistan and the mujahedin were abandoned by the US. Afghanistan descended into chaos, from which the Taliban emerged.

Pakistan paid a heavy price, being left with sectarian militant groups trained in terrorism and four million Afghan refugees. We were swamped with drugs and Kalashnikovs. Meanwhile, those Muslims glorified as heroes for dislodging the Soviets now turned their attention to other countries where Muslims were being oppressed. As this brought them up against the US, they went from being heroic jihadis to “Islamic terrorists”. The culmination of this was 9/11.

But rather than trying to understand why 9/11 had happened, Bush and his colleagues took refuge in such inane expressions as “they hate our freedom, our way of life, our democracy” and, even more ridiculously, “they love killing”. The main stakeholders used 9/11 to pursue their own agendas for which it was convenient to conflate Islam and terrorism. Hence wherever Muslims were involved in a freedom struggle, they would become “Islamic terrorists”. This is no mere semantic point. Ariel Sharon used the excuse of terrorism to use his formidable military might against the civilian Palestinian population. Similarly Russia would use the magic word al-Qa’ida to squash all accusations of genocide and human rights abuse in Chechnya. But the chief grievances were political, not religious.

Then India claimed that “Islamic terrorists” were operating in Kashmir when that freedom struggle dated back almost 150 years. George Bush would use the term to attack Afghanistan weeks after 9/11, making war a first option rather than a last resort. And later he would use the same pretext to invade Iraq.


“The war on terror will never be won as long as we do not address the root causes – as long, for example, as the leadership in the US and UK denies that the horrific London bombing had anything at all to do with Iraq. The great danger is that sooner or later some suicide attacker will get hold of chemical or biological weapons and cause far greater damage in the US or UK than we have seen to date. When episodes such as Guantanamo and Abu Ghraib are broadcast widely, the Muslim perception grows that it is not a war against terror but a war against Islam. The risk is then that the terrorists become “defenders of the faith”. For that cause they will have no shortage of recruits.”

The denial of involvement in Iraq as probable cause for the recent attacks in London is very telling with regards to the mentality being employed to fight the ‘war on terror’. It is a mentality that stands to promote the accomplishments of those that seek to terrorize by refusing to examine root causes and by responding in the exact same language – violence. I must admit to being perplexed by those who were shocked by the recent attacks in London. For is the UK not at war? Does it not have combat troops in Iraq? Or does out of sight out of mind apply to more than just famine and genocide?

Since March of 2003, Iraq has spiraled into a state of undeniable chaos, despite attempts to hold quasi-elections and sell the world on positive achievements in the region. President Bush’s public admission in late June that ‘the flypaper theory’ is now being relied upon to solve a problem that is far too complex for such a narrow minded solution has not only compounded problems in Iraq, but has also motivated radical elements to re-examine their tactics. I believe that the recent attacks in London and Egypt were directly influenced by the Anglo-American belief that they can effectively use Iraq to ‘contain’ the war on terror.

[all of the above is from matthew good’s mblog]


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