Terrorism, Manchester and the west’s foreign policy | Letters

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David Lowry and John Cummings question the UK’s sales of arm to Saudi Arabia, Randhir Singh Bains claims radical Islamism predates the ‘west’s war on terror’ and Peter McKenna examines the implications of the west’s role in the overthrow of Colonel Gaddafi

On 19 May 2015, as home secretary, Theresa May, was openly criticised at the Police Federation conference by a former Manchester police officer, Inspector Damian O’Reilly, who had been named community officer of the year in 2010, but had subsequently resigned in frustration over policing cuts. He told May bluntly: “We run the risk here of letting communities down, putting officers at risk and ultimately risking national security.” May accused the police of “scaremongering”.

May wants to be elected on a strong and stable platform. But her actions belie her words. Jeremy Corbyn is absolutely right to identify British foreign policy as a proximate cause of – not a justification for – terrorist threats (Report, 26 May). Six weeks ago, the PM led a trade mission to Saudi Arabia. Under fire from Labour, she denied the UK had been selling its principles for the sake of trade deals for the post-Brexit era. Saudi Arabia is primarily important for selling us oil, and spending billions on buying arms. But what is the record of the Saudis in combating extremism? On 5 October 2014, retired General Jonathan Shaw told the Daily Telegraph that Qatar and Saudi Arabia were “primarily responsible for the rise of the extremist Islam that inspires Isil terrorists,” emphasising “This is a timebomb funded by Saudi and Qatari money and that must stop.”

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