Wednesday, April 11, 2007

Blair accused of fuelling terrorism and undermining war on poverty

By Ben Russell and Nigel Morris

Published: 11 April 2007

Tony Blair is accused today of fuelling terrorism and undermining the campaign against world poverty with a series of foreign policy errors.

A report by the Oxford Research Group (ORG), a think-tank, warned that the "war on terror" had made the world more dangerous.

A separate study by Oxfam warned that Britain's ability to prevent human rights abuses had been undermined by the invasion of Iraq and a series of other foreign policy mistakes.

The charity said its workers worldwide had recorded a "disturbing trend towards anti-Britishism" fuelled by perceived double standards in UK foreign policy.

The ORG said levels of terrorism were rising, as was support for hardline Islamist ideology. It warned the chance of future outrages on the scale of 9/11 had increased in recent years.

Chris Abbott, the study's lead author, said: "There is a clear and present danger in an increasingly marginalised majority living in an environmentally constrained world, where military force is more likely to be used to control the consequences of these divisions."

"Add to this the disastrous effects of climate change, and we are looking at a highly unstable global system by the middle years of the century unless urgent action is taken now."

Endorsing its conclusion, Archbishop Desmond Tutu said: "The real threat to global peace and stability lies in our failure to recognise our interdependence - that the well-being of the privileged depends on the well-being of the marginalised."

Oxfam said it had to turn down British cash for its operations in Iraq and Lebanon in case it was seen as too closely aligned with government policy, and criticised the failure of ministers to call for a ceasefire in last year's conflict in Lebanon. The report urged Britain to "rebalance" its relationship with Washington and help repair the damage that the Iraq invasion had inflicted on international relations.

Barbara Stocking, director of Oxfam, said: "Labour's foreign policy has been at its best when it has been in tune with public opinion and international law.

"However, it is now clear that the invasion of Iraq, and the Government's failure to stand up to all governments when they break international law and harm innocent people, have seriously damaged Britain's capacity to be a force for good on the world stage."

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