Monday, July 11, 2005

Marking the End of the 'Covenant of Security'

LondonistanThe British authorities continue to track the perpetrators of last week's atrocities. A leaked report from Number 10 Downing Street points to some of the possible motivations behind the bombings. And, oddly enough, Iraq wasn't the original impetus in recruiting disaffected British extremists:

The perception is that passive ‘oppression’, as demonstrated in British foreign policy, e.g., non-action on Kashmir and Chechnya, has given way to ‘active oppression’. The war on terror, and in Iraq and Afghanistan, are all seen by a section of British Muslims as having been acts against Islam.”

In an interview yesterday, Blair denied that the London terrorist attacks were a direct result of British involvement in the Iraq war. He said Russia had suffered terrorism with the Beslan school massacre despite its opposition to the war, and terrorists were planning further attacks on Spain even after the pro-war government was voted out.

“September 11 happened before Iraq, before Afghanistan, before any of these issues and that was the worst terrorist atrocity of all,” he said.

The fact is, using the traditional (but often misguided) equation that tolerance will always yield understanding, the British have ignored a high degree of outrageous, anti-Western speech, as exemplied by this 2004 press release from the organization running the "Londonistan under Islam Rally": is a fundamental belief of every Muslim that Islam will one day dominate the world, including Britain, it is just a matter of time. Today we call for the people to embrace Islam and change the law and order themselves – tomorrow an Islamic State may forcefully remove all obstacles in the way of the implementation of Islamic law, as part of its foreign policy...

That doesn't sound much like peaceful coexistence to me.

In fact, this July 2004 report from the San Francisco Chronicle described last year's state-of-affairs:

The presence of militants... has earned the British capital the sobriquet "Londonistan" among diplomats and terrorism experts, who see London as a worldwide center of Islamic terrorism.

"The Islamists use Britain as a propaganda base but wouldn't do anything to a country that harbors them and gives them freedom of speech," Camille Tawil, a terrorism expert at the Arabic daily Al Hayat, told the New Statesman magazine.

Whoops! I guess someone forgot to tell the extremists. In fact, commentators like Daniel Pipes have long warned of the folly represented by tolerating hate speech. Such tolerance was, at best, a Faustian bargain, which some termed a "covenant of security":

...To the extent the allowing of Islamists and terrorists safe haven on British soil is a conscious decision to keep the UK safe at the expense of others, this is an immoral and despicable policy that must be changed immediately...

Jamie Campbell, writing in August of 2004 in the New Statesman, offered a more direct warning:

...[Hassan] claims [there are] a further thousand Brits who, like him, would subscribe to a martyrdom operation within Britain if given the chance. He knows of five Brits and one American, all university educated, who have left the UK in the past two months heading for a desolate jihadi training camp in Pakistan. Two weeks ago, he met with an autonomous Islamist cell in the UK which possessed large quantities of Semtex, and which was capable of launching an immediate and major attack...

There is little question that the "Londonistan strategy" of tolerating extremist hate speech was a dangerous game. And, in fact, if such tolerance was an official policy of sorts, it probably violated UN resolution 1373 (9/28/2001 - ironically drafted by the British). 1373 called on states to, "...Deny safe haven to those who finance, plan, support, or commit terrorist acts... and to... [p]revent those who finance, plan, facilitate or commit terrorist acts from using their respective territories for those purposes against other states or their citizens..."

Just days ago, Pipes wrote:

Four major explosions in London this morning mark the end of the "covenant of security."

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