Is the British Government inane, obstinate, empty-headed or just prefers not to listen? If it still fails to understand that its policies on countering so-called Muslim terrorism are misguided and blown out of all proportion, who else is better to take notice of that than the head of the Secret Intelligence Service at the time of the 9/11 attacks, Sir Richard Dearlove. The former MI6 chief also points the finger at Saudi Arabia for its possible role in bankrolling the rise of ISIS in Iraq when Britain does not seem to have any strategy in this area.
“It’s time to move consciously beyond the field of influence that 9/11 understandably created in our national security policy,” Dearlove said in a speech this month at the Royal United Services Institute, London’s foremost defence and security think tank. “What should not have been inevitable was the way in which 9/11 has come to dominate and still influences our thinking about national security.”
He made clear his concern at the extent of press pressure influencing national security policy. “I feel deeply uncomfortable to see our media making national security monsters out of rather misguided young men from our Muslim communities who frankly cut rather pathetic figures. Thanks to the media coverage they achieve celebrity status beyond their wildest dreams and are probably actually encouraged by the attention towards fulfilment of some of their more extreme radical fantasies. Surely, better to ignore.”
Perhaps David Cameron may also remember advice he ignored shortly after becoming Prime Minister from the head of MI5 security services at the time of the 2005 London bombings. Dame Eliza Manningham-Buller told the Iraq war inquiry that Britain’s involvement “radicalised a whole generation of young people, some of them British citizens who saw our involvement in Iraq, on top of our involvement in Afghanistan, as being an attack on Islam.”
In his speech, Dearlove said he was not suggesting the funding of ISIS was directly from the Government in Saudi Arabia but that maybe a “blind-eye being turned” to channel the money. “For ISIS to be able to surge into the Sunni areas of Iraq in the way that it has done recently has to be the consequence of substantial and sustained funding, such things simply do not happen spontaneously.” The Saudi leadership, he said, are “deeply attracted towards any militancy, which can effectively challenge Shiadom.”
The thrust of his argument was that more 50 per cent of MI5, MI6, and GCHQ resources were spent on countering so called threats from the Muslim community in Britain, more than ever was spent on the Soviet Union during the cold war, or to Irish terrorism that had cost many, many more UK lives. It was time to move away from the “distortion” of the post-9/11 mindset, make “realistic risk assessments” and think rationally about the causes of the crisis in the Middle East.