The UK Moslem Public Affairs Committee has forwarded this item to us. It is a Guardian comment on a leaked Joint Intelligence Committee report - William comments that the original report reflects badly on the competence of the JIC given its inacurrate reference to the Zarqawi "persona". The original article is by Richard Norton Taylor and is dated 3rd April.
The war in Iraq contributed to the radicalisation of the July 7 London bombers and is likely to continue to provoke extremism among British Muslims, according to reports based on secret assessments by security and intelligence chiefs.
A draft of a "narrative" about events leading up to the bombings drawn up by a senior civil servant says Iraq was a "contributory factor", the Observer newspaper reported.
References to Britain's role in the invasion of Iraq and continuing military presence there are made in a section of the report dealing with the radicalisation of the four British suicide bombers.
The draft narrative, ordered by Charles Clarke, the home secretary, after calls for a public inquiry into the bombings, is said to refer to economic deprivation, social exclusion, and disaffection with community leaders as other "motivating factors".
The document echoes views in a top secret report by the Joint Intelligence Committee, leaked yesterday. It states: "Iraq is likely to be an important motivating factor for some time to come in the radicalisation of British Muslims and for those extremists who view attacks against the UK as legitimate."
The report, International Terrorism: Impact of Iraq, was drawn up in April last year - before the London bombings - and sent to senior ministers, including Tony Blair. It warns that Iraq had "reinforced the determination of terrorists who were already committed to attacking the west and motivated others who were not".
It adds: "We judge that the conflict in Iraq has exacerbated the threat from international terrorism and will continue to have an impact in the long term."
The JIC report, leaked to the Sunday Times, says: "There is a clear consensus within the UK extremist community that Iraq is a legitimate jihad and should be supported. Iraq has re-energised and refocused a wide range of networks in the UK." The JIC describes Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, head of al-Qaida in Iraq, as an "increasingly iconic figure" who is becoming the new "bin Laden", according to the newspaper's account of the report.
The report is also said to express concern - echoed by MI5 - that Iraq could provide a training ground for potential terrorists returning to Britain and other countries.
Last year MI5 said on its website that while extremist groups and individuals in Europe shared a a range of aspirations and causes, Iraq was "a dominant issue".