Boris Johnson blames 'crack cocaine of jihadi terrorism' on repressive states

Boris Johnson blames 'crack cocaine of jihadi terrorism' on repressive states


Boris Johnson will pin the responsibility for the “crack cocaine of jihadi terrorism” on repressive states, and not western foreign policy, in a major speech in which he will also say that Britain will be as committed to defeating terrorism in Europe after Brexit as now.

The foreign secretary will argue that blaming western military interventions for the rise of Islamic extremism only plays into the jihadi narrative, adding that Islamist jihadism can have the addictive power of crack cocaine.

He 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.”

Johnson will call for greater engagement with the Muslim world as the solution , arguing that a stronger sense of national identity, women’s empowerment and reform are keys to restoring peace and prosperity.

In a clear rejection of those who claim western foreign policy interventions in Iraq, Syria and Libya have caused terrorism to thrive, Johnson will say: “British foreign policy is not the problem; it is part of the solution.”

He will add: “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.”

In the past, Johnson has never run from controversy in the debate over the sources of Islamic extremism – blaming poor parenting, a perverse form of Islam, or even obsession with pornography.

He has been critical of the invasion of Iraq, and said while the invasion did not “create the problem of murderous Islamic fundamentalists, the war has unquestionably sharpened the resentments felt by such people”.

His defence of the UK’s commitment to fight terrorism comes a week after the EU chief Brexit negotiator, Michael Barnier, caused great offence in Britain by effectively accusing it of deserting the European fight against terrorism by voting for Brexit. His remarks, made at a German security seminar, were regarded by both remain and leave supporters as a rare misjudgment, and may help those trying to claim it is EU negotiators’ attitudes, rather than UK government indecision, that is making a Brexit settlement so elusive.

Barnier complained the UK’s Brexit decision came after “a series of attacks on European soil, committed by young people who grew up in Europe, in our countries”.

He added: “It was a decision that came six months after the French minister of defence issued a call for solidarity to all his European counterparts to join forces to fight the terrorism of Daesh.

“Never had the need to be together, to protect ourselves together, to act together been so strong, so manifest. Yet rather than stay shoulder to shoulder with the Union, the British chose to be on their own again.”

But Johnson will hit back at Barnier in his speech, saying: “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 expose what they are doing, to thwart them and bring them to justice.

“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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