Blair facing two-front attack on Iraq, Afghanistan policies
BRITAIN: British Prime Minister Tony Blair's military policies were
attacked on two fronts Sunday as a leaked memo linked them with
terrorism at home and his favourite general called the Afghanistan war
Leaked cabinet documents published in The Sunday Telegraph apparently
acknowledge that Britain's troop deployments in both Iraq and
Afghanistan have fueled terrorism in Britain.
Presented to a cabinet committee on security earlier this month and
circulated among ministers and security chiefs, the papers say that
actions overseas must in future be designed to reduce the threat of
Their contents undermine Blair's denials that Britain's actions in
Iraq and Afghanistan trigger terrorist attacks against Britain. Four
British Muslim suicide bombers killed themselves and 52 London commuters
in July last year.
The documents say demand a "significant reduction in the number and
intensity of the regional conflicts that fuel terror activity" and set
out a list of perfect scenarios in a series of trouble spots 10 years
They call for stability for Iraq and Afghanistan, Israel to live in
"peaceful coexistence" with its Arab neighbors and Iran to be devoid of
nuclear weapons. They also say that there should be "no new failed
states, dictatorships or wars" in the Middle East and South Asia.
"If all or most of the above were in place, threats from other
sources of Islamic terrorism (eg Indonesia, Philippines, Nigeria) would
be manageable or on the way to resolution," they conclude.
"Any remaining deployments of the British armed forces should be seen
as contributing to international stability and security."
Blair's office declined to comment on the leaked documents, but said:
"We recognise that people have used Iraq as an excuse for terrorist
activity but clearly plenty of terrorist activity against the UK and its
citizens has pre-dated that.
In an interview in The Observer weekly, meanwhile, General Charles
Guthrie, a former chief of the defense staff, described the deployment
of soldiers in Afghanistan as "cuckoo."
"Anyone who thought this was going to be a picnic in Afghanistan
....to launch the British army in with the numbers there are, while
we're still going in Iraq, is cuckoo," he told The Observer.
Lord Guthrie, who was one of Blair's most trusted commanders before
he quit in 2001, also cast doubt on Blair's claim that he would produce
all the extra helicopters and other resources the army needed.
LONDON, Sunday, AFP