Five years after the 7/7 bombings in London

UK’s collusion with radical Islam: Bin Laden, the Taliban, Zawahiri: Britain’s Done Business With Them All

Published on Global, by Mark Curtis, July 7, 2010.

… Declassified files reveal that planners recognised their Islamist collaborators as anti-western, but entered into marriages of convenience to achieve short-term objectives. As British power waned in the Middle East, Whitehall sought out all the allies it could find, with little regard for the long-term consequences. Britain’s role in the emergence of global terrorism should not be exaggerated, but there are many contributions: opposition to Arab nationalism, which paved the way for the rise of radical Islam in the 1970s; support for the Afghan holy warriors in the 1980s, from which emerged Osama bin Laden’s al-Qaida; and the phenomenon of “Londonistan” in the 1990s, when the capital became an organising centre for global jihad, tolerated by the authorities. 

But Whitehall’s view of Islamist militants as handy weapons or shock troops is far from historical. In 1999, during Nato’s bombing campaign against Yugoslavia, the Blair government secretly trained fighters in the Kosovo Liberation Army to act as Nato’s soldiers on the ground. The KLA was openly described by ministers as a terrorist organisation, and worked closely with al-Qaida fighters who joined the Muslim cause; their military centre was in the same camp network in Kosovo and Albania where the SAS were providing training. One KLA unit was led by the brother of Ayman al-Zawahiri, Bin Laden’s right-hand man. This murky feature of Blair’s “humanitarian intervention” remains conveniently overlooked in most accounts of the war.

The attacks of 9/11 and 7/7 have made Britain revise but not end its secret affair with radical Islam. In the occupation of southern Iraq, Britain’s weak position led to conniving with Shia militias. Liberal, secular forces were bypassed after the invasion, and when Britain withdrew its combat forces it in effect handed responsibility for “security” to these militias. The irony is that Britain’s favoured collaborator, the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, has long been Iran’s favoured vehicle for its policy in Iraq. Britain also continues its deep alliance with a Pakistan that is the main protector of the Taliban, and does little to press Islamabad to end its support for the jihad in Kashmir. Thus, in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, Whitehall has been in the bizarre situation of being allied to its enemy.

Militants may be serving other useful functions. The then Foreign Office minister Kim Howells told a parliamentary inquiry in March 2007: “At dinners at embassies around the world I have suddenly discovered that somebody happens to be sitting next to me who is from the respectable end of a death squad from somewhere. The ambassador has, with the best will in the world, invited that person along because he thinks that, under the new democracy, they will become the new government.”

The government says it has prevented 12 bomb plots in the last decade and that we face a threat from 200 networks. My concern is that the wards of state pledging to protect us have neither accounted for “blowback” nor stopped contributing to it. Governments guided by morals would have different priorities and would discontinue policies based on interests that endanger us and much of the world. (full text).

(Mark Curtis is a frequent contributor to Global Research. Global Research Articles by Mark Curtis).

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