Open Letter to MI5 Director General Jonathan Evans

Ending the double-standards of American-led Western foreign policy is the key to stopping the countdown to catastrophe for all. How so? If an American President used the leverage he has to require Israel, in accordance with UN Security Council Resolution 242, to end its occupation of Arab land grabbed in the 1967 war (which was actually a war of Israeli aggression not self-defence), he would havethe thanks, respect, friendship and support of not less than 95%, and probably 99%, of all Arabs and Muslims everywhere. The cancer at the heart of international affairs would be cured, and that would make winning “the war against global terrorism” by political means a mission possible.

There really is no mystery about how terrorism canbe defeated. In Volume Two of my book, page 384, I offer an explanation in 147 words as follows:

Terrorists cannot operate, not for long, without the cover and the practical, emotional and moral support of the community of which they are a part. When that community perceives itself to be the victim of a massive injustice, and if that injustice is not addressed by political means, the community will cover, condone and even applaud the activities of those of its own who resort to terror as the only means of drawing attention to the injustice, to cause it to be addressed. It follows that the way to defeat terrorism ? the only successful and actually proven way ? is by addressing the genuine and legitimate grievances of the host community. The community will then withdraw its cover and support for its terrorists; and if they continue to try to operate, the community will oppose them by exposing them ? reporting them to the authorities if reasoning fails.

As I go on to say in my book, there are many case studies to support that analysis. In Northern Ireland, for example, the British Army did not defeat IRA terrorism. The terrorists called off their campaign when they had no choice ? because the Catholic host community would not cover and support them any longer.And that happened only because the British government summoned up the will,about half a century later than it should have done, to risk the wrath of militant Protestantismby insisting that the legitimate grievances of the Catholics of Northern Ireland be addressed.

It follows, surely, that the best and actually the only way to defeat “Islamic terrorism” is by addressing the legitimate grievances of its host communities. And that brings me, Director General Evans, to my concern about the damage your address to the Society of Editors might do, I think will do, because you didn’t make any reference to Muslim hurt and anger and the reasons for it.

I have to say that I was somewhat surprised by this omission because eminent others in our foreign policy and security establishments have not been so self-censoring in the past.

In May 2004, for example, the most senior official at the Foreign Office, Permanent Secretary Sir Michael Jay, wrote a letter to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull. It was a warning to Prime Minister Blair and his ministersthat Britain’s foreign policy was fuelling Muslim extremism.This letter said:

  • that British foreign policy was a “key driver” behind recruitment by Muslim extremist groups.
  • that a “recurring theme” among the underlying causes of extremism in the Muslim community was “the issue of British foreign policy, especially in the context of the Middle East peace process and Iraq.”
  • 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.”

For a whole it seemed that Prime Minister Blair was taking the Foreign Office’s advice. He went through the motions of being seen to engage with leaders of the Muslim community here in the UK. (In my view far too many of them were anxious not to offend the Prime Minister, and most of them were completely out of touch with angry Muslim youth. But let’s put that to one side).

Then, on 4 July 2006, Prime Minister Blair demonstrated his total contempt for the Foreign Office’s advice and his absolute rejection of it. He did it with his statement that “Muslims have a completely false sense of grievance against the West.

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