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Monday, August 29, 2005 

You mean the government knew the Iraq war was stirring extremism???????

New Labour, as most governing parties are, is often fundamentally dishonest. The cries from Tony Blair and others that the attacks on July the 7th had nothing to do with the war on Iraq, and that there was no reason to think such a thing have been rather undermined by the appearance of a letter leaked to the Observer, available here.

The Foreign Office's top official warned Downing Street that the Iraq war was fuelling Muslim extremism in Britain a year before the 7 July bombings, The Observer can reveal.

Despite repeated denials by Number 10 that the war made Britain a target for terrorists, a letter from Michael Jay, the Foreign Office permanent under-secretary, to the cabinet secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull - obtained by this newspaper - makes the connection clear.

The letter, dated 18 May 2004, says British foreign policy was a 'recurring theme' in the Muslim community, 'especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq'.

'Colleagues have flagged up some of the potential underlying causes of extremism that can affect the Muslim community, such as discrimination, disadvantage and exclusion,' the letter says. 'But another recurring theme is the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq.

'Experience of both ministers and officials ... suggests that ... British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among especially the younger generation of British Muslims.'

The letter continues: 'This seems to be a key driver behind recruitment by extremist organisations (e.g. recruitment drives by groups such as Hizb-ut-Tahrir and al Muhajiroon). The FCO has a relevant and crucial role to play in the wider context of engagement with British Muslims on policy issues, and more broadly, in convincing young Muslims that they have a legitimate and credible voice, including on foreign policy issues, through an active participation in the democratic process.'

The letter or the article doesn't tell us anything we didn't know already. What it does show is that the government knows full well what it is doing and what it is doing wrong. They know they was no reason for Britain to take part in the war on Iraq, apart from Blair's slavish subservience to George Bush. What has he got in return? His majority at the election was slashed, he's widely viewed as a liar and many no longer have any trust in what he says. That it took 8 years as prime minister for this to come about is more surprising than anything else. Perhaps the best thing to come out of this is that Blairism and the sycophants who surround Blair are now seen as spoilt goods. While it's hard to get enthusiastic about a Brown-led Labour party and government, surely anything is better than the deceit and spin that the Blair years will be remembered by.

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