Daily archives: July 3, 2006

UK parliament publishes damning report on Blair’s foreign policy

The Foreign Affairs Select Committee of the UK parliament has published their latest report which confirms, yet again, the tragically obvious. The invasion of Iraq has provided a tremendous boost to Al Qaeda and violent extremism, the west is losing the propaganda war, Guantanamo Bay is a fabulous recruiting symbol (for terrorism), and people in the UK are at a significantly greater threat now due to the policies adopted by Tony Blair.

The report also calls for the UK and US to stop interferring in Iraqi politics, for the UK government to set out the circumstances under which it would withdraw its troops, and for the regulation of mercenaries in Iraq and elsewhere.

“The Committee concludes that al-Qaeda continues to pose an extremely serious and brutal threat to the United Kingdom and its interests, and that it will become more difficult to tackle the threat of international terrorism. The Committee also says that the situation in Iraq has provided both a powerful source of propaganda and a crucial training ground for international terrorists. Progress towards resolving key international conflicts would go some way towards removing the widespread feelings of injustice in the Muslim world that feed into causes of and support for terrorism. (Paragraphs 15, 21, 30)

The continuing deterioration of the security situation in Iraq is extremely worrying, as are the deepening sectarian and ethnic conflicts. Relying on Kurdish and Shia communities to build up the Iraqi Security Forces has contributed to the development of sectarian forces, and the Committee recommends that the Government must continue to work with its international partners to address this problem. Similarly, the Government should do all it can to facilitate the UN’s role in Iraq. The Committee reiterates its predecessor’s conclusion that the international community, particularly the US and UK, must refrain from interfering in Iraqi politics. (Paragraph 232, 238, 261)

The Committee recommends that the Government should set out in its response to the report the circumstances under which it would withdraw British Forces from Iraq, and sets out several other issues it would also like the Government to address in the response, including the level of detentions by coalition forces, where it recommends that wherever and whenever possible detainees should be handed over to the Iraqi government for trial; that the government should set out the number detained and the basis for their detention; and the slow progress towards resolving the issue of how to regulate private military and security companies, which are increasingly being used in Iraq and elsewhere.(Paragraphs 245, 247, 253)”

Riding pillion in the US ‘war on terror’ and the invasion of Iraq was predictable strategic folly. Yet despite overwhelming evidence of the disastrous effects on national security, our parliamentary system continues to show a stunning inability to self-correct its failed trajectory. For example, as of this post, the monitoring of EDM 1088 still shows only 157 signatures. Its just one indicator of the inertia and ostrich-like behaviour that besets the bulk of New Labour, and New Tory.

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Judges cut through the hysteria of rulers made tyrants by fear

By Simon Jenkins in Times Online

Thank God for lawyers. When elected legislators fail in their duty to check executive power, judges must step forward or democrats will rely on soldiers or mobs.

In both Britain and America this past week, judges have begun to curb injustices invoked in the name of counter-terrorism by the Blair and Bush administrations in the years since 9/11. The British High Court’s ruling on ‘control orders’ and the US Supreme Court’s judgment on Guantanamo have demanded human and judicial rights against governments overreacting to Islamic violence. The calls have been modest, but they have begun.

In Britain, ministers had assured critics that orders for house arrest of suspects would be subject to judicial oversight. Now that oversight has occurred they are furious and will appeal (and doubtless change the law if they do not get their way). A heavy duty rests on the law lords.

Five years after 9/11 and one year after 7/7, the so-called ‘war on terror’ is acquiring a narrative. It started with an outrage and moved swiftly to belligerent retaliation, including the killing of thousands of non-participants. This led to a burst of repressive authoritarianism as embarrassed leaders sought to reassure the public while enhancing their power as ‘commanders in chief’. The narrative has now matured into trench warfare between that power and constitutional roadblocks meant to limit it.


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