“….In summary, the evidence so far shows that there are six inter-related aspects of blowback:
Salman Abedi and his father were members of a Libyan dissident group – the Libyan Islamic Fighting Group (LIFG) – covertly supported by the UK to assassinate Qadafi in 1996. At this time, the LIFG was an affiliate of Osama Bin Laden’s al-Qaeda and LIFG leaders had various connections to this terror network.
Members of the LIFG were facilitated by the British ‘security services’ to travel to Libya to fight Qadafi in 2011. Both Salman Abedi and his father, Ramadan, were among those who travelled to fight at this time (although there is no evidence that their travel was personally facilitated or encouraged by the security services).
A large number of LIFG fighters in Libya in 2011 had earlier fought alongside the Islamic State of Iraq – the al-Qaeda entity which later established a presence in Syria and became the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). These fighters were among those recruited into the British-backed anti-Qadafi rebellion.
UK covert action in Libya in 2011 included approval of and support to Qatar’s arming and backing of opposition forces, which included support to hardline Islamist groups; this fuelled jihadism in Libya.
One of the groups armed/supported by Qatar in 2011 was the February 17th Martyrs Brigade which, some reports suggest, was the organisation which Ramadan Abedi joined in 2011 to fight Qadafi.
Qatar’s arms supplies to Libya in 2011 also found their way to Islamist fighters in Syria, including groups affiliated with al-Qaeda and ISIS.
The evidence points to the LIFG being seen by the UK as a proxy militia to promote its foreign policy objectives. Whitehall also saw Qatar as a proxy to provide boots on the ground in Libya in 2011, even as it empowered hardline Islamist groups.
Both David Cameron, then Prime Minister, and Theresa May – who was Home Secretary in 2011 when Libyan radicals were encouraged to fight Qadafi – clearly have serious questions to answer. We believe an independent public enquiry is urgently needed.
The evidence suggests that British actions in three different theatres – Libya, Iraq and Syria – cannot be viewed in isolation:
In Libya, US and UK led intervention destroyed the functioning state and created a vacuum allowing hardline Islamist fighters to consolidate their foothold in the country. This paved the way for the empowerment of ISIS. The direct line between Libyan and Syrian Islamist rebels fuelled jihadism in both countries.
In Iraq, US and UK led intervention also destroyed the existing state infrastructure and fuelled an Islamist insurgency which incubated al-Qaeda in Iraq and culminated in the emergence of ISIS.
In Syria, US and UK covert action, again in partnership with Gulf states such as Qatar, and Turkey, has had the effect of augmenting the role of al-Qaeda in the rebel movement………..”