UK foreign policy would change under a Labour government to one that “reduces rather than increases the threat” to the country, Jeremy Corbyn has said.
Boris was not specific as to the outrages he was referring to in the general rhetorical flourishes of his introductory scene setting. White phosphorous lots of Slaughter, lots of ‘Únger’, had to look that one up for those who didn’t already know UNGA, ah the United Nations General Assembly. This UNGA this, this UNGA that, and there was me thinking the great Bullingdon Club classicist was earnestly entreating with polished Latin or greek for the Present dignitaries, some we were told even with ‘University degrees’, to seize the day, Carpe Diem with UNGA in our souls. But no it’s a bloody acronym. Boris, come on, bloody UNGA.
JIC ASSESSMENT, 12 MARCH 2003
392. The Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC) continued to warn in March that the
threat from Al Qaida would increase at the onset of military action against Iraq.
393. The JIC also warned that:
• Al Qaida activity in northern Iraq continued; and
• Al Qaida might have established sleeper cells in Baghdad, to be activated
during a US occupation.
394. On 12 March, the JIC produced a further update on the implications for
international terrorism of military action in Iraq.121
395. In its Key Judgements, the JIC stated:
“• The threat from Al Qaida will increase at the onset of military action against Iraq.
Attack plans in the time-frame of a potential conflict are probably now going
ahead under the control of lower-level operational leaders, but Khalid Sheikh
Muhammad’s capture may lead to postponement or abandonment of at least
some terrorist plans.
• The greatest threat to Western interests from Islamist terrorists is in the Middle
East. South-East Asia and East Africa are the most likely regions for attack
outside the Middle East, although Al Qaida retains a strong determination to
mount attacks in the US and UK.
• Al Qaida and sympathisers may well attempt chemical or biological terrorist
attacks in the Gulf, including against UK civilian targets there, in the event of
war with Iraq.
121 JIC Assessment, 12 March 2003, ‘International Terrorism: War with Iraq: Update’.
3.8 | Development of UK strategy and options, 8 to 20 March 2003
• Al Qaida terrorists in the Kurdish Autonomous Zone (KAZ) previously noted
testing and producing chemical and biological substances remain active and
are likely to attack Coalition forces.
• Senior Al Qaida associated terrorists may have established sleeper cells in Iraq,
to be activated during a Coalition occupation.
• Iraq continues to prepare for terrorist attacks against Western interests in the
Middle East, Europe, South-East Asia and elsewhere, although the regime’s
capability remains limited, especially beyond the Middle East.”
396. Other key elements from the Assessment are set out in the Box below.
JIC Assessment, 12 March 2003:
‘International Terrorism: War with Iraq: Update’
• There was “a substantial body of reporting of plans by Al Qaida and other Islamist
terrorists for attacks in the Middle East”.
• “Arrests of extremists involved in chemical/biological (CB) attack plans in Bahrain
may have reduced the threat of an attack there linked to conflict with Iraq. But the
full distribution of instructions for making CB devices has yet to be uncovered […]”
• “A substantial body of reporting (much of which is also uncorroborated) suggests
targeting against UK and US interests.”
• Al Qaida retained “a strong determination to mount attacks in both countries”.
Islamist terrorists in Iraq
• Reporting since 10 February had suggested that the senior Al Qaida associate,
Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, had “established sleeper cells in Baghdad, to be activated
during a US occupation of the city”.
• It was “possible” that the sleeper cells had “received CB materials from terrorists
in the KAZ”.
• “Whatever the precise relationship between al-Zarqawi and his DGI [Directorate of
General Intelligence] contacts”, it was “unlikely that he could conduct activities in
Iraq without the knowledge (and probably the support) of the regime”.
• “Despite serious setbacks for Al Qaida, and some disruption of terrorist activity,
especially in the Middle East, the threat from Islamist terrorism in the event of
war with Iraq remains high, with continuing evidence of attack planning. We can
expect Al Qaida to persist with plans for at least one major attack to coincide with
an outbreak of hostilities, as well as widespread attempts at low-level attacks by
extremist groups and individuals worldwide, especially in the Middle East, Africa
and South-East Asia.”
• The JIC judged that the threat from Al Qaida remained “greater than any terrorist
threat from Iraq”.
And Lib Dem Leader Tim Farron accused Mr Corbyn of using the “grotesque” attack in Manchester to “make a political point”
Chalmers Johnson, author of Blowback, Sorrows of Empire and Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic , talks about the U.S. ‘military-petroleum complex,’ the overextension of the American military, nuclear proliferation, and the decline of Washington’s credibility abroad.
Chalmers Johnson is president of the Japan Policy Research Institute, a non-profit research and public affairs organization devoted to public education concerning Japan and international relations in the Pacific.http://www.jpri.org/