Corbyn is right: of course Manchester was linked to British foreign policy

Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right), with the mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham
Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn (right), with the mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham, at a vigil in Albert Square in the city. Photograph: Martin Rickett/PA

Jeremy Corbyn is perfectly right to relate this week’s Manchester terrorist atrocity to British foreign policy in the Middle East. Whenever Tony Blair, Gordon Brown and David Cameron struggled to explain why British blood and finance had to go on toppling regimes in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, they were explicit: it was “to prevent terrorism in the streets of Britain”. The reason was given over and over again: to suppress militant Islam.

When that policy clearly leads to an increase in Islamist terrorism, we are entitled to agree with Corbyn that it has “simply failed”. Regimes were indeed toppled. Tens of thousands died, many of them civilians every bit as innocent as Manchester’s victims. Terrorism has not stopped.

Whenever al-Qaida or Isis seek to explain their atrocities, reference is usually made to British intervention and the military killing of innocent Muslims. It is mendacious to try to sanitise our overheated and jingoistic response to domestic terrorism by pretending that it is unrelated to British foreign policy. It was we who made the link, and before the terrorists did.

Of course this does not exonerate anyone. Yes, militant Islamists are seeking to subvert the west’s sense of security and its liberal values. Yes, the west’s continued bombing of markets, hospitals, weddings and villages is “accidental” – albeit inevitable, given the nature of modern air war.

But we used the language of “shock and awe” in bombing Baghdad in 2003. We gave the current era of Islamist terrorism a cause, a reason, an excuse, however perverted. We committed armed aggression against sovereign peoples who had not attacked us.

Where Corbyn spoils his pitch is in relating terrorism not just to foreign policy but to domestic austerity. He stoops to Theresa May’s level in seeking to make electoral capital from a tragedy. Were he not grandstanding himself, he could accuse her of peddling the politics of fear by flooding the streets of the capital with soldiers. He could plead with the Muslim community to do more to combat and expose terrorist “grooming”. But there is no evidence that the security services are impeded in their work by staff shortages. It is the one aspect of policing that has been showered with money.

Politicians who exploit moments of public tragedy play a risky game. Whether Corbyn was tactful to return to the election campaign by citing Manchester is moot: he would have been wise to wait a few days. But Islamist terrorism is related to foreign policy. However hateful it may seem to us, it is a means to a political end. Sometimes it is as well to call a spade a spade.

by Simon Jenkins



This book is dedicated as a mark of respect to the memory of over one million innocent Iraqi people, the vast majority women and children who have been killed, with hundreds of thousands more left with life changing injuries sustained during the 2003 invasion and the continued ongoing war in Iraq, Syria, and other Middle-East regions.

To the reported 3.5 million Iraqi orphan children and all the innocent civilians of the region and other nations worldwide who will be killed or horrendously maimed in the future being caught up in something which was not of their making, and as a consequence of the actions of certain egotistical and greedy individuals.



Author Terry Gardiner is available for public speaking events and book signings, to talk about his 30 years experience living in Iraq.

For bookings, please email

Tony Blair's Iraq selfie


Terry Gardiner ran a business in the Middle East for 35 years, 7 of which were in Iraq, and was living and working in Baghdad when America and its allies invaded Iraq in 2003.

During the months that followed he experienced the full horror of war, and witnessed appalling abuse by certain sections of the coalition forces. One of his staff was abducted and decapitated by the insurgents, while another died under torture at the hands of the British. Gardiner was even kidnapped himself at one point, escaping with his life only because he was able to convince his captors that he was pro-Iraqi. And he knows the truth about how, where and when Saddam Hussein was really captured.

Iraq, the rape of a Country reveals – with documentary evidence – how the aggression and brutality of some US forces, aided by the British, has devastated Iraq and its people, and how greedy Western interests have led to the rape and near-destruction of a country and helped to provoke a terrorist backlash.

Book is now released

This book is available in the UK at £12.99 plus £2 P&P, reserve your copy today. 

The book will be available to purchase outside of the UK soon, and an announcement will be made via this website and social media channels in due course.

Parts of the proceeds will go to the Iraqi Orphan Fund as there are over 3 million Iraqi orphans many living on the streets.

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