What consideration was given to the risk that participation in the invasion would increase the terrorist threat to Britain?

The Inquiry will need to consider what advice ministers were given about the risk that participation in the invasion would increase the terrorist threat to Britain and how, if at all, this affected the policy.

It is known that on at least one occasion the JIC warned that that participation in the invasion would increase the terrorist threat to Britain. There is little evidence that ministers who were involved in preparing for military action against Iraq considered the possibility that this might heighten the terrorist risk to the UK. There is however evidence that the question of the impact of the war on the UK’s muslim communities was raised by other ministers.

What advice did the intelligence services give the government about the risk that participation in the invasion would increase the terrorist threat to Britain?

According to the Intelligence and Security Committee’s September 2003 report (pdf file) the Joint Intelligence Committee issued an assessment “International Terrorism:War with Iraq” on10 February 2003. “The JIC assessed that al-Qaida and associated groups continued to represent by far the greatest terrorist threat to Western interests, and that threat would be heightened by military action against Iraq.”

The JIC also warned that assessed that any collapse of the Iraqi regime would increase the risk of chemical and biological warfare technology or agents finding their way into the hands of terrorists, not necessarily al-Qaida.”

In July 2009, Eliza Manningham-Buller, who was head of MI5 just before the invasion, revealed that she warned ministers and officials that an invasion of Iraq would increase the terrorist threat to Britain. She told the Guardian: “I said it as explicitly as I could. I said something like, ‘The threat to us would increase because of Iraq’.”

What assessment did ministers and officials make of the risk that participation in the invasion would increase the terrorist threat to Britain?

There is little evidence that ministers who were involved in preparing for military action against Iraq considered the possibility that this might heighten the terrorist risk to the UK. There is however evidence that the question of the impact of the war on the UK’s muslim communities was raised by other ministers.