‘War on Terror’ Backfires on US, UK: Think Tank

LONDON ~ The United States-led and British-backed war on terror is only fuelling more violence by focusing on military solutions rather than on root causes, a think tank warned this week.

“The ‘war on terror’ is failing and actually increasing the likelihood of more terrorist attacks,” the Oxford Research Group said in a study, titled Beyond Terror: The Truth About the Real Threats to Our World.

It said Britain and the United States have used military might to try to “keep the lid on” problems rather than trying to uproot the causes of terrorism.

It said such an approach, particularly the 2003 invasion of Iraq, had actually heightened the risk of further terrorist atrocities on the scale of September 11, 2001.

“Treating Iraq as part of the war on terror only spawned new terror in the region and created a combat training zone for jihadists,” the report’s authors argued.

It pointed out that the Islamist Taliban movement is now resurgent, six years after it was overthrown in 2001 by the US-led invasion in the wake of the September 11 attacks.

“Sustainable approaches” to fighting terrorism would involve the withdrawal of US-led forces from Iraq and their replacement with a United Nations stabilization force, it said.

It also recommended the provision of sustained aid for rebuilding and developing Iraq and Afghanistan as well as closing the US prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, where most suspects are held without charge or trial.

And it called for a “genuine commitment to a viable two-state solution to the Palestinian-Israeli conflict.”

The study warned that military intervention in Iran over its nuclear ambitions would be “disastrous,” calling instead for a firm and public commitment to a diplomatic solution.

Iran insists the program is peaceful, despite claims from Washington that it masks a drive for nuclear weapons.

The study also said the British government’s plans to upgrade the submarine-based Trident nuclear deterrent could produce international instability.

“Nuclear-weapon modernization is likely to serve as a substantial encouragement to nuclear proliferation as countries with perceptions of vulnerability deem it necessary to develop their own deterrent capabilities,” it said.

Meanwhile, The State Department renewed its “Worldwide Caution” this week, alerting US citizens to the continuing threat of “terrorist actions and violence” against Americans and US interests overseas.

The global alert, which has been renewed regularly since first being issued in December 1999, said the State Department “remains concerned about the continued threat of terrorist attacks, demonstrations and other violent actions against US citizens and interests overseas.”

Current information “suggests that Al Qaeda and affiliated organizations continue to plan terrorist attacks against US interests in multiple regions, including Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East,” it said.

“These attacks may employ a wide variety of tactics to include assassinations, kidnappings, hijackings and bombings.”

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