​London’s 7/7 terror tragedy, 10 years on: British foreign policy encourages attacks

John Wight
John Wight has written for newspapers and websites across the world, including the Independent, Morning Star, Huffington Post, Counterpunch, London Progressive Journal, and Foreign Policy Journal. He is also a regular commentator on RT and BBC Radio. John is currently working on a book exploring the role of the West in the Arab Spring. You can follow him on Twitter @JohnWight1
ARCHIVE PHOTO: A casualty is taken away on a stretcher at London's King Cross station in London July 7, 2005 (Reuters / David Parry)
As the 10th anniversary of the most deadly terrorist attack ever to be carried out in Britain – the 7/7 attacks on the London underground and transport systems – is recalled, UK policy has since made the prospects of another 7/7 more, not less, likely.

The 30 British victims of the most recent Islamist terrorist attack in Tunisia are a damning indictment of Britain’s efforts to combat terrorism in the ten years since the 7/7 attack took place in London – an tragedy which claimed 52 lives and left 700 people injured. Indeed, the massacre in Tunisia is proof that rather than another major terrorist attack in Britain being less likely today, ten years on from 7/7, it is more likely. The British Government’s ill-planned and ill-conceived interventions in the Middle East over the past decade, combined with the campaign of demonization that has been rolled out against Muslims at home, has fanned the flames of radicalization rather than the opposite.

Ever since embarking on the disastrous and illegal war against Iraq in 2003, members of the British establishment have consistently denied any connection between UK foreign policy and the rising tide of Islamist extremism and terrorism at home and abroad. There can only be two explanations for such a denial – madness or mendacity. Many would suggest that it’s a case of both.

READ MORE: ‘It can and will happen here’: Counter-terror officers draw somber conclusions from 7/7

Whatever the reason, the truth cannot be denied: UK foreign policy and efforts to combat terrorism have not merely failed, they have failed catastrophically, in the process endangering British citizens at home and overseas, large chunks of which are now no-go areas for tourists or people visiting.

Compounding the cognitive dissonance – or to be more frank, ‘insanity’ – that underpins this policy, is the prospect of the Britain now carrying out airstrikes against ISIS in Syria. This, if it goes ahead, will only make the problem worse, precisely as it has in both Iraq and Libya already.

Indeed, only a fool could fail to grasp the connection between the NATO air campaign to topple Gaddafi in Libya in 2011, and the proliferation of terrorism and terrorist groups that now exist in that country. The terrorists responsible for the Tunisian attack we know trained in Libya, and no such terrorist training network existed in Libya until NATO decided to intervene and topple the Libyan leader. The result of that intervention was not the flowering of democracy in a North African country, but its descent into an abyss of lawless violence and extremism. Given that Britain was an eager participant in this NATO air campaign in Libya, the British political establishment is therefore culpable in the murder of those British tourists recently slaughtered in Tunisia.

An important point must be made with regard to potential British airstrikes being carried out in Syria, an inconvenient fact ‘they’ would rather is forgotten. It is that Syria is a sovereign state, recognized as such by the UN, and that consequently airstrikes carried out without the prior consent, cooperation, or permission of the Syrian Government would be a violation of the country’s sovereignty and, with it, a violation of international law.

The British Government’s response to the mass murder of its citizens with airstrikes in Syria would amount to a panicked knee-jerk reaction on the part of a political class that no longer knows its backside from its elbow. What makes these people believe the Royal Air Force can succeed where its US counterpart has failed over the course of many months of airstrikes against ISIS in both Syria and Iraq?

ISIS will and can only be defeated with a combination of airstrikes and land forces taking back the territory it currently occupies. This means a combined military campaign that includes boots on the ground. Those boots are already on the ground. They belong to the Syrian Army and its Hezbollah allies, along with the Iraqi Army and the various Shia and pro-government militias that are fighting alongside it.

Britain, the West, needs as a matter of urgency to reorient its strategy to embrace an alliance with all forces engaged in fighting ISIS and the medieval ideology it represents. The threat it poses to the region, and by extension the wider world, demands nothing less.

The problem is of course that governments in the West have spent the last few years doing all they can to undermine the Assad regime, characterizing it as evil and brutal, even though ‘evil’ and ‘brutal’ are words more suitable to describe ISIS and the various other Islamist organizations that are intent on turning the country into a graveyard for minorities, both Muslim and non-Muslim, rather than a government which believes in modernity, the separation of politics and religion, and upholds the rights of said minorities.

A simpler way of putting this is that whatever anyone thinks of Bashar al-Assad, his government is not in the business of slaughtering tourists on beaches in North Africa.

Syria, along with Russia and the rest of the sane world has been calling for an international coalition to combat terrorism for years now. So far the call has fallen on deaf ears. Instead, the British Government has continued with a strategy that has been responsible for deepening the crisis rather than alleviating it. Regional alliances with the likes of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and other members of the Gulf Cooperation Council make a mockery of its oft-repeated claims to be motivated by human rights and democracy.

As Churchill, a committed opponent of communism his entire life, said when explaining his decision to join forces with the Soviet Union to fight Nazi Germany, he would “make at least a favorable reference to the devil” if Hitler invaded hell.

Even though many would assert that it was the Soviet Union that made a ‘pact with the devil’ in joining forces with Britain and the US against the Nazis, this is the kind of political wisdom that is so desperately needed now in Downing Street if there are to be no more 7/7-type terrorist attacks in London and attacks against British tourists abroad.

Nobody should hold his or her breath waiting for it to occur. As Einstein said: “The difference between stupidity and genius is that genius has its limits.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.