​Tony Blair: Iraq war didn’t cause 7/7, Islamic terrorism must be fought militarily

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (Reuters/Amr Abdallah Dalsh)
Self-belief undiminished a decade on from the 7/7 London bombings, the former prime minister who led Britain to war in Iraq and Afghanistan says the UK must fight extremism militarily.

As the UK remembers the 52 dead and more than 700 wounded in the terror attacks a decade ago, Tony Blair aired his vision of how terrorism must be confronted, telling the BBC on Tuesday, “It’s a global threat, it is, I’m afraid. A growing threat.

But we have got ourselves to a position where it’s very clear that unless we take the right policies and strategy to deal with it, we won’t be able to succeed.

Those require a battle of ideas and a fight against the ideology. Not just the violence, but the ideology and the extremism. But also you have got to have the means of combating these people and combating them on the ground.

READ MORE: 7/7 anniversary: Islamophobia and the London bombings, one decade on

Blair remained adamant that foreign policy was not to blame for the attacks.

This is a global problem ... we're not going to allow anyone to excuse themselves by saying that the slaughter of totally innocent people is somehow a response to any decision by any government.

He also said the issue is likely to get worse in the future, warning that the terror threat “is not going away.

It will intensify in time to come ... it is not something we have caused but something that we are caught up in.

In the immediate aftermath of the 7/7 attacks, the then-PM spoke at length, and with a similar tone to his latest comments, on the threat of extremism.

Its roots are not superficial, but deep, in the madrassas of Pakistan, in the extreme forms of Wahabi doctrine in Saudi Arabia, in the former training camps of Al-Qaeda in Afghanistan; in the cauldron of Chechnya; in parts of the politics of most countries of the Middle East and many in Asia; in the extremist minority that now in every European city preach hatred of the West and our way of life.

It is founded on a belief, one whose fanaticism is such it can’t be moderated. It can’t be remedied. It has to be stood up to,” he added.

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