Tony Blair warns of threat of ‘bioterrorist’ attack by Islamist extremists after Covid
Former Labor PM said the idea was no longer “in the realm of science fiction”
Tony Blair has warned that the UK should prepare for deadly biological weapon attacks by Islamic terrorists in the wake of the Covid pandemic.
In a speech on the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, the former Labor prime minister said the idea was no longer “science fiction“.
“Covid 19 has taught us about deadly pathogens. The possibilities of bioterrorism may seem like the realm of science fiction; but we would be wise now to prepare for their potential use by non-state actors,” he said. he told the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) think tank.
Mr Blair, who was Prime Minister at the time of the deadly World Trade Center attacks in 2001, argued that terrorism remains a significant threat.
“Islamism, both ideology and violence, is a major security threat; and, without control, it will come to us, even if it is centered away from us, as demonstrated on September 11, “he said.
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“This ideology – whether Shiite, promulgated by the Islamic Republic of Iran or Sunni promoted by groups ranging from the Muslim Brotherhood to AQ, ISIS Boko Haram and many others – has been the main cause of destabilization across the Middle -East, and beyond and today in Africa. “
Mr Blair admitted that “almost everything about 9/11 and its aftermath, especially now, is mired in controversy,” but he said it was indisputable that radical Islam had not waned in force.
He said it was vital for countries to find ways to counter extremism, especially in the wake of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan.
Mr Blair said “boots on the ground” would be needed to continue fighting terrorism, but admitted that there were serious political constraints on engaging troops in foreign conflicts.
His remarks come after the chaotic evacuation of Western forces from Afghanistan last month, which saw the Taliban take power.
Mr Blair, who took the UK to war in Iraq and Afghanistan, said his generation of leaders was perhaps “naive in thinking countries could be” made over “.
But he added: “But we must never forget, as we see Afghan women in the media, culture and civil society now fleeing out of fear for their lives, that our values are still those that free people choose.
“Regaining confidence in our values and their universal application is a necessary condition to ensure that we defend them and that we are ready to defend them. “