In his Aug. 4 video-communique, al-Qaeda bigshot Ayman al-Zawahiri claimed that the 7-7 bombings were payback for British participation in the United States’ “policy of aggression against Muslims.” While not directly taking credit for the London bombings, he promised more attacks on Britain, the US and other allies, saying “tens of thousands” more American troops will be killed in Iraq if there isn’t an immediate withdrawal. Bob Ayers, a counterterrorism expert at Chatham House, Britain’s most prestigious think-tank, says: “By linking the bombings to Iraq, he basically sent the message that no matter what Blair says, Iraq is the reason. He’s calling Blair a liar.” (CSM, Aug. 5, via TruthOut)
Speaking to BBC after the al-Zawahiri statement was aired, left-wing MP George Galloway said Tony Blair and George Bush have “far more blood on their hands” than the men who carried out the London bombings, and that the “al-Qaeda phenomenon” had arisen directly as a result of western policies in the Middle East.
“The people who brought destruction to London were primarily the people who committed the acts of mass murder,” he said. “What we say is we refuse to be part of a conspiracy to deny that it has anything to do with the fact that our country is going round the world setting fire to other people’s countries and killing them. I think there is hardly a sentient being in the land left who doesn’t believe these things are connected. I am utterly against the punishing of innocent people for the crimes of the guilty, whether it is done on the underground in London or the streets of Fallujah by George Bush’s air force.” (UK Guardian, Aug. 5, via TruthOut)
Meanwhile, Bush, reacting to the al-Zawahiri statement in Crawford, TX, ironically exploited the very reality of Iraq-7-7 linkage that Blair has been denying: “The comments of the No. 2 man of al-Qaeda make it clear that Iraq is part of this war on terror, and we’re at war.” He pledged: “We will stay on the offense against these people. They’re terrorists and they’re killers and they will kill innocent people…so they can impose their dark vision on the world.” (AP, Aug. 4, via TruthOut)
See our last post on the London bombings, their aftermath and al-Zawahiri’s statement.