London mayor: West fueled Islamic radicalism
LONDON - Western foreign policy has fueled the Islamist radicalism behind the bomb attacks which killed more than 50 people in London, the British capital’s mayor Ken Livingstone said on Wednesday.
Asked on Wednesday what he thought had motivated the four suspected suicide bombers, Livingstone cited Western policy in the Middle East and early American backing for Osama bin Laden.
A lot of young people see the double standards, they see what happens in (U.S. detention camp) Guantanamo Bay, and they just think that there isn’t a just foreign policy,” he said.
Police say they believe there is a clear link between bin Laden’s al-Qaida network and the four British Muslims who blew up three underground trains and a double-decker bus on July 7.
“You’ve just had 80 years of Western intervention into predominantly Arab lands because of a Western need for oil. We’ve propped up unsavory governments, we’ve overthrown ones that we didn’t consider sympathetic,” Livingstone said.
“I think the particular problem we have at the moment is that in the 1980s ... the Americans recruited and trained Osama bin Laden, taught him how to kill, to make bombs, and set him off to kill the Russians to drive them out of Afghanistan.
“They didn’t give any thought to the fact that once he’d done that, he might turn on his creators,” he told BBC radio.
Anger over IraqPrime Minister Tony Blair’s government has insisted the bombings have no link to its foreign policy, particularly its decision to invade Iraq alongside the United States.
But an opinion poll this week showed two-thirds of Britons see a connection between the Iraq war and the bombings. A top think tank and a leaked intelligence memo have also suggested the war has made Britain more of a target for terrorists.
Livingstone has made clear he condemns all killing, including suicide bombing. But is also a long-standing critic of Israeli policies toward the Palestinians.
“If you have been under foreign occupation, and denied the right to vote, denied the right to run your own affairs, often denied the right to work, for three generations, I suspect if it had happened here in England, we would have produced a lot of suicide bombers ourselves,” he said on Wednesday.
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