Islamist terrorism boosted by Iraq war: Blair clings on to ridiculous denial

16 US security agencies agree with the obvious…

As, of course, does the UK Joint Intelligence Committee, MI5, Chatham House, and well, lets be honest, everyone. The remaining question is why the Labour Party tolerates its leader smearing it with the mud of increasingly incredible denial.

From The Telegraph

The war in Iraq has boosted Islamist terrorism and the threat to the West has increased since the September 11 attacks, according to leaks from a report by America’s intelligence agencies.

In the latest blow to President George W Bush’s and Tony Blair’s justification for the war, the National Intelligence Estimate has concluded that it has fuelled radicalism and spawned a new generation of terrorists.

The report, a collation of work from America’s 16 spy agencies, is the first official survey of US intelligence on global terrorism since the invasion of Iraq in March 2003.

Summaries of the study, leaked to the New York Times yesterday, were seized on by critics of the war who have long argued that it is an effective recruiting sergeant for Islamist terrorists.

A spokesman for the White House, which has persistently argued that the world is a safer place because of the war, would only say that the leaks did not give a balanced account of the report.

Called Trends in Global Terrorism: Implications for the United States, the estimate argues that Islamic radicalism has spread across the world and diversified, according to the leak.

An early chapter ‘ Indicators of the Spread of the Global Jihadist Movement ‘ highlights the Iraq war as a prime cause for the spread of the ideology of jihad.

The 30-page estimate cites the “centrality” of the US-led invasion and the ensuing insurgency as the inspiration for Islamist terror networks across the world.

“It’s a very candid assessment,” one intelligence official told the Washington Post. “It’s stating the obvious.”

It concedes that al-Qa’eda has been disrupted since the September 11 attacks, with its leadership scattered and on the run since the overthrow of the Taliban in November 2001.

But it concludes that the worldwide Islamist movement has expanded from a core of al-Qa’eda operatives to include a new class of “self-generating” cells motivated by Osama bin Laden but without any direct connection to him.

Senator Ted Kennedy, the veteran liberal Democrat, said the report should “put the final nail in the coffin for President Bush’s phony argument about the Iraq war”.

This is not the first time that a National Intelligence Estimate has sparked controversy. The Bush administration drew on one drafted in autumn 2002 to make its case for war. That report concluded that Iraq “probably will have a nuclear weapon during this decade”.

The leaks emerged as Bill Clinton was embroiled in a row over his record against al-Qa’eda, which threatens to affect Democrat chances in mid-term elections.

In an interview with Fox News, Mr Clinton said he had authorised the CIA to kill bin Laden whereas the Bush administration’s key officials had had “no meetings on bin Laden” before September 11.

Senator Bill Frist, the Republicans’ Senate leader, defended the White House yesterday. Americans knew they had to continue fighting terrorists in Iraq, he said.

“Either we are going to be fighting this battle, this war, overseas or it’s going to be right here in this country,” he told ABC News.