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Boris Johnson says Britain must return to the Middle East




  • In a speech, Mr Johnson will stress that 'British foreign policy is not the problem'
  • He will warn UK cannot remain paralysed by experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan
  • Foreign secretary will lay out his plan for defeating jihadism at home and abroad
  • He intends to stress that blaming terrorism on UK intervention is not accurate

By Iain Burns For Mailonline and Jason Groves Political Editor For The Daily Mail and Press Association

Published: 21:02 EST, 6 December 2017 | Updated: 21:44 EST, 6 December 2017

Mr Johnson will also lay out his plan for defeating jihadism both at home and abroad
Mr Johnson will also lay out his plan for defeating jihadism both at home and abroad

Mr Johnson will also lay out his plan for defeating jihadism both at home and abroad

The UK must return to the Middle East to prevent decades of terror attacks and instability, Boris Johnson is to say.

In a speech today, the foreign secretary is to stress that 'British foreign policy is not the problem; it is part of the solution'.

He will warn that the country cannot remain paralysed by its experiences in Iraq and Afghanistan and also highlight the danger of Western 'aloofness' in the world.

Mr Johnson is expected to lay out his plan for defeating jihadism both at home and abroad.

'Above all we will win when we understand that "we" means not just us in the West but the hundreds of millions of Muslims around the world who share the same hopes and dreams, who have the same anxieties and goals for their families, who are equally engaged with the world and all its excitements and possibilities, who are equally determined to beat this plague,' he will say.

The foreign secretary will add that blaming Western military intervention for terror only fuels the rise of jihadism, which has the 'addictive power of crack cocaine'.

During the general election campaign this year, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn drew links between Britain's involvement in military interventions overseas and terrorism at home.

But Mr Johnson will point out that nations which have little history of military intervention in the Middle East suffer terrorism inspired by Islamic State, also known as Daesh.

Mr Johnson will point out that nations which have little history of military intervention in the Middle East suffer terrorism inspired by Islamic State, also known as Daesh (pictured in Syria in 2014)
Mr Johnson will point out that nations which have little history of military intervention in the Middle East suffer terrorism inspired by Islamic State, also known as Daesh (pictured in Syria in 2014)

Mr Johnson will point out that nations which have little history of military intervention in the Middle East suffer terrorism inspired by Islamic State, also known as Daesh (pictured in Syria in 2014)

Dozens of people have been murdered or injured in terror attacks in Westminster, Manchester, London Bridge and Finsbury Park this year.

Mr Johnson will say: 'To assert, as people often do, that the terrorism we see on the streets of Britain and America is some kind of punishment for adventurism and folly in the Middle East is to ignore that these so-called punishments are visited on peoples - Swedes, Belgians, Finns or the Japanese hostages murdered by Daesh - with no such history in the region.'

He will praise British efforts around the world to tackle terrorism, saying they are already illustrating the country's commitment to the security of Europe and the world after Brexit.

He will also issue a call for unity with Muslims around the world who are 'equally determined' to fight Islamist terror.

The foreign secretary will add that the West needs to realise that hundreds of millions of Muslims are on its side in the battle against terrorism.

Boris will warn that the country cannot remain paralysed by its experiences in Iraq (pictured) and Afghanistan and warn of the danger Western 'aloofness' in the world
Boris will warn that the country cannot remain paralysed by its experiences in Iraq (pictured) and Afghanistan and warn of the danger Western 'aloofness' in the world

Boris will warn that the country cannot remain paralysed by its experiences in Iraq (pictured) and Afghanistan and warn of the danger Western 'aloofness' in the world

His speech today comes after Prime Minister Theresa May rowed with United States president Donald Trump over his sharing on Twitter of anti-Muslim videos posted by far-right group Britain First.

Strengthening national identities in the Muslim world, empowering women and fostering reform are key to restoring peace and prosperity, Mr Johnson will say.

Mr Johnson will also say British troops and spies are 'putting their lives at risk' to protect Europe from Islamic terrorists as he hits back at Brussels over claims the UK has abandoned the EU.

The foreign secretary will use his speech to take a swipe at the EU's chief Brexit negotiator Michel Barnier over his criticism of Britain last week.

Mr Barnier suggested Britain was selfish in voting Leave at a time when several EU countries had faced major attacks by Islamic State terrorists.

'Rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the union, the British chose to be on their own again,' he said.

But Mr Johnson will stress that UK commitment to European security is 'unconditional' on the outcome of Brexit talks. 

'Every day around the world I can tell you that British serving men and women are putting their lives at risk to roll up terrorist networks … to thwart them and bring them to justice,' he will say.

'They are making good on what the Prime Minister has rightly called the unconditional commitment of the British people to the security of our European friends, not just in this continent but beyond.'     

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