Straw backed memo saying war would anger Muslims

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But he insisted there was "no guarantee" that Britain would have been safer from terrorist attack had the Government not joined the US-led invasion.

Sir Michael, the Permanent Secretary at the Foreign Office, made the warning in a letter dated 18 May 2004 to the Cabinet Secretary, Sir Andrew Turnbull. The letter warned: "British foreign policy and the perception of its negative effect on Muslims globally plays a significant role in creating a feeling of anger and impotence among especially the younger generation of British Muslims. This seems to be a key driver behind recruitment by extremist organisations."

Mr Straw told BBC Radio 4 yesterday: "It was written 15 months ago and what's said in this letter is nothing different to what I said at the time, indeed I agreed the letter."

Mr Straw denied that the war led to Britain becoming a greater terrorist target. He said: "Would we have been safer had we not taken the military action in Iraq?

"Now, no one can say for certain but it is my judgement that, because we were in any event a target, and so was the rest of the world, for this extremist terrorism well before Iraq, that there is no guarantee whatsoever that we would have been safer had we not taken military action in Iraq."

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