10 February 2003
On 10 February 2003, just five weeks prior to the invasion of Iraq, the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) secretly warned the British government that the planned assault would increase the risk of a terrorist threat, the exact opposite to what Prime Minister Tony Blair was promising the public. The JIC later confirmed that at the time it had ‘assessed that Al Qaeda and associated groups… to represent by far the greatest threat to Western interests and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq.’ It had also advised that ‘any collapse of the Iraq regime would increase the risk of chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the hands of terrorists….’1 A Post war study, conducted by the Defence Academy on behalf of the Ministry of Defence, concurred:
‘The war in Iraq… has acted as a recruiting sergeant for extremists across the Muslim world… Iraq has served to radicalise an already disillusioned youth and al-Qaeda has given them the will, intent, purpose and ideology to act.’2
- BBC online report – ‘Blair ‘overrode terror warnings,’ 12 September 2003 at url http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3101364.stm
- Mehdi Hassan, ‘Did the Invasion of Iraq Heighten the Threat from al-Qaeda Inspired Terrorism,’ The New Statesman, 16 September 2011.
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