Associate Professor Jake Lynch and others on the causes of terrorism and possible links to wars of intervention by the west

Paul Mason (G2, 27 May) is wrong to claim that the blowback theory is irrelevant in the case of the Manchester attack. Blowback theory is most definitely relevant. It is not confined to “blam[ing] Islamist terrorism directly on western expeditionary warfare”, as Mason incorrectly states. Islamic State germinated in the scorched earth left behind when we removed the regime of Saddam Hussein. If we had not invaded Iraq, the organisation that is now attacking us would not exist. That is blowback.

The plan proclaimed to stabilise Libya, after the overthrow of Gaddafi, was never going to work. There were realistic alternatives, put forward at the time, to bombing on the side of the rebels – such as setting up UN safe areas – but they were ignored. Nato turned a blind eye to shipments of weapons bound for Misrata, with the result that one big Gaddafi turned into lots of little Gaddafis. That is what has brought about the ungovernable space in Libya which Isis has exploited. That is blowback. 

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