War News for Sunday, July 10, 2005
Bring 'em on: Suicide bomber kills sixteen and wounds forty in attack on recruiting centre in western Baghdad
Bring 'em on: Three Iraqis killed and ten wounded in car bomb attack in Kirkuk
Bring 'em on: Casualties reported in bomb attack on police convoy in Mosul
Bring 'em on: Fierce clashes between US forces and insurgents reported in Tal Afar
Bring 'em on: Iraqi karate official kidnapped in Latifiyah
says that the Iraq war was one of the key causes of young British Muslims turning to terrorism.
Britain's top Muslim scholars are to issue a "fatwa" which will condemn the terrorists behind Thursday's bombings, in an unprecedented move to repudiate the Islamist militants suspected of the atrocities.
It is expected that the religious ruling, which will be drafted this week, will effectively outlaw the bombers among Muslims by stating the attacks were a breach of the most basic tenets of Islam.
Senior community leaders believe they must try to deflect another wave of revenge attacks by undermining the religious basis of the terrorists' alleged Islamist ideology and, significantly, by questioning their right to describe themselves as Muslims.
The move follows a decision taken late on Friday night at an emergency summit attended by about 100 of the country's most prominent Muslim leaders, held in private at East London Mosque.
Options For Future UK Force Posture In Iraq
Mr Reid's memo, prepared for Mr Blair in the past few weeks, shows that in reality, plans to get them out - "military drawdown," as he puts it - are well advanced.
It says: "We have a commitment to hand over to Iraqi control in Al Muthanna and Maysan provinces [two of the four provinces under British control in Southern Iraq] in October 2005 and in the other two, Dhi Qar and Basra, in April 2006.
"This in turn should lead to a reduction in the total level of UK commitment in Iraq to around 3,000 personnel by mid 2006.
"This should lead to an estimated halving in the costs of around £1 billion per annum. Though it is not exactly clear when this reduction might manifest itself, it would not be before around the end of 2006."
Mr Reid states that his proposal is not yet a "ministerially endorsed position" - or Government policy - though he clearly believes it should be.
Significantly, he underlines the serious impact on other Allied troops in the area now under British control, including 550 Japanese engineers rebuilding the infrastructure and 1,400 Australian soldiers: "The Japanese will be reluctant to stay if protection is solely provided by the Iraqis. The Australian position may also be uncertain."
Mr Reid says he will produce "further and more specific proposals" for the Cabinet's Defence and Overseas Policy (Iraq) Committee, which is chaired by Mr Blair.
But some British Army chiefs are opposed to Mr Reid's plans. One senior officer claimed the Minister had no option but to recall 3,000 British troops in October as Britain has already promised to send an extra 3,000 personnel to southern Afghanistan to replace US soldiers.
"The momentum for this is more to do with pressure from America and the woefully overstretched British Army than whether Iraq is ready to look after itself," said the source. "The timing seems very convenient."
The breeding grounds of terrorism are to be found in the poverty of back streets, where fundamentalism offers a false, easy sense of pride and identity to young men who feel denied of any hope or any economic opportunity for themselves. A war on world poverty may well do more for the security of the west than a war on terror.
And in the privacy of their extensive suites, yesterday's atrocities should prompt heart-searching among some of those present. President Bush is given to justifying the invasion of Iraq on the grounds that by fighting terrorism abroad, it protects the west from having to fight terrorists at home. Whatever else can be said in defence of the war in Iraq today, it cannot be claimed that it has protected us from terrorism on our soil.