Press Association – October 8, 2007
The so-called War on Terror has been a "disaster" and British military policy in Iraq and Afghanistan must be fundamentally changed if al Qaida is to be defeated, a new report states.
The report, by the Oxford Research Group think tank, calls for major changes in foreign policy and warns of the dangers of military action against Iran.
Iraq has become a training ground for violent jihadists and British and US forces should withdraw from the country immediately, it adds.
Prime Minister Gordon Brown is due to update MPs in the House of Commons following his visit to Iraq last week when he announced that 1,000 British troops would be back in the UK by Christmas.
The report claims the present fight against international terrorism has failed and has instead played into the hands of al Qaida.
The dismantling of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in 2001-02 was of "direct value" to al Qaida and the extraordinary rendition and detention of terror suspects is a "constant source of propaganda", it adds.
The report, Towards Sustainable Security - Alternatives to the War on Terror, calls for a complete withdrawal from Iraq, a scaling down of military operations in Afghanistan and the ending of extraordinary rendition and detention without trial.
Report author Paul Rogers said: "Every aspect of the War on Terror has been counterproductive in Iraq and Afghanistan, from the loss of civilian life through to mass detentions without trial. In short, it has been a disaster. Western countries simply have to face up to the dangerous mistakes of the past six years and recognise the need for new policies."
And he warned: "Going to war with Iran will make matters far worse, playing directly into the hands of extreme elements and adding greatly to the violence across the region.
"Whatever the problems with Iran, war should be avoided at all costs - the mistakes already made will be completely overshadowed by the consequences of a war with Iran
Last updated 14/10/2007