There is a huge wellspring of sympathy and solidarity – shared by the socialist – for the victims of the London tube and bus bombings. The unspeakable horrors that have been visited on the innocent have produced a deep sense of outrage in London, throughout the country, and even internationally.
The photographs of the victims, the details of where they live, their cultural, ethnic and religious background – including Muslims – demonstrates that it was not the ‘rulers’ but the ‘ruled’, ordinary working-class people, who were blown to smithereens, or who had their lives blighted by terrible injuries, by as yet unknown perpetrators of this obscene terrorist act.
Those who carried this out deserve unequivocal and unqualified condemnation. But so do those who have created the conditions for the growth of terrorism.
Cynically using the sense of grief and determination to face down the bombers, Blair has rushed in to argue that the ‘Iraq war had nothing to do with the events of 7/7’. Ken Livingstone and eminent ‘Islamic scholars’ in The Independent all agree with Blair’s arguments.
However, this was not the view of the government’s own Joint Intelligence Committee, which stated before the Iraq war that the terrorist threat "to western interests… would be heightened by military action against Iraq".
A year ago, a former Australian foreign minister also said: "The net result of the war on terror is more war and more terror. Look at Iraq; the least plausible reason for going to war – terrorism – has been its most harrowing consequence." (the Guardian, 12 July)
It is pure coincidence, of course, that the Italian right-wing prime minister, Berlusconi, one day after the London bombings, declared that Italian troops will be withdrawn from Iraq within two months. The same thing happened in Spain following the terrible massacre in Madrid last year. Why? The obvious conclusion is to prevent a re-occurrence of attacks.
Incredibly, Jack Straw is quoted in the Guardian as saying that the London bombings have "come out of the blue". He must be the only person in Britain who holds that view, as police and intelligence chiefs have been warning relentlessly that it was not a question of ‘if’ but ‘when’ such an attack would be made. And this directly arises from the Iraq war and occupation.
At least 100,000 innocent civilians have been killed. In Falluja alone, "a ruined city", the carnage resulted in the death of thousands of innocent Iraqis.
Since the beginning of May, 120 suicide bombs have taken place, with one bomber killing 25 people and wounding 47 in Baghdad over the weekend. But September 11, as well as the attack on the World Trade Center in 1993 by al-Qa’ida, predates 9/11; how then can the Iraq war be connected to the attacks in London?
Even before 11 September, the neo-con right-wing which backed Bush’s ascendancy to the presidency were looking for a pretext – as documents have revealed since – to launch an attack on Iraq, which was given to them by the 11 September attacks.
As the socialist pointed out then, even al-Qa’ida itself – although coming from the Saudi elite – is a product of the humiliation of the Arab peoples and ruthless occupation by imperialism in the past of the lands of the Muslim people.
That occupation was continued by the Israeli ruling class, in collusion with US imperialism, in the territory of the Palestinian people. How could the treatment of the Palestinians not affect, indeed deepen the anger of the Arab people in particular, the majority of whom are Muslims, as well as the 1.3 billion Muslims throughout the world?
Muslims in Britain have also been affected. As we go to press it has been announced that four London bombers were "probably British" and were "suicide bombers".
Moreover, al-Qa’ida itself is a creature of the intervention of US imperialism in Afghanistan, which now recoils on its masters. Bin Laden was armed and trained by the CIA in order to drive Russia out of Afghanistan.
As Robin Cook has commented: "It never appears to have occurred to Washington that once Russia was out of the way, bin Laden’s organisation would turn its attention to the west."
The thousands of mujaheddin, who were trained and recruited by the CIA, became the basis of al-Qa’ida in its war against the ‘west’.
This is not, however, a genuine movement of national liberation of the Arab peoples. They have been allowed to step into the vacuum created by the disappointment felt by the Arab peoples at the failure of Arab nationalism, and then of ‘socialism’ in the form of the mass communist parties of the Middle East who collaborated with Arab nationalist capitalist regimes.
Al-Qa’ida is not ‘progressive’, but reflects a reactionary attempt to return to the Caliphate of the past, with reinforced discrimination against women, and war on all those who are not the ‘true believers’.
The only way to undermine its influence is not by a ‘war on terror’, which is an excuse by US imperialism – with the support of Blair – to subjugate the Middle East and other regions it considers crucial for its own ends.
Only by eradicating the conditions in which it thrives: poverty, national and ethnic oppression and, particularly, the occupation of Iraq, will terrorism be ended. The British people must, therefore, demand the immediate withdrawal of British troops.
A sectarian nightmare in Iraq can only be avoided by the working people themselves – from all ethnic and religious backgrounds and none – coming together in a struggle against capitalism and imperialism, and forming common organisations with which they can defend themselves.
The attempt of Blair and his supporters in the media to shout down those demanding an end to the war and the British occupation will fail. The voice of the anti-war movement will grow as the British people express their horrors at the London bombings and their perpetrators, as well as the continuation of the war.
This is the editorial from the latest issue of the Socialist, newspaper of the Socialist Party in England and Wales