11 SEPTEMBER 2001
7. The scale and horror of the attacks on New York
and Washington have set in train repercussions and consequences
whose effects will be felt for years to come. In this report we
can only attempt to reach some initial and, in many cases, provisional
conclusions on the most obvious and immediate of these.
8. On 12 September, the North Atlantic Council met
and agreed that 'if it is determined that this attack was directed
from abroad against the United States, it shall be regarded as
an action covered by Article 5 of the Washington Treaty, which
states that an armed attack against one or more of the Allies
in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against
them all'. This was the first occasion in the more than fifty
years of NATO's history on which this article, which lies right
at the heart of NATO's historic purpose, was invoked.
It was a political act of major significance.
9. On the same day the UN Security Council unanimously
adopted Resolution 1368. That Resolution, as well as expressing
the Security Council's condemnation of the attacks and its sympathy
for the victims, called on 'all states to work together urgently
to bring to justice the perpetrators, organisers and sponsors
of these terrorist attacks and [stressed] that those responsible
for aiding, supporting or harbouring the perpetrators, organisers
and sponsors of these attacks will be held accountable.'
The UN General Assembly agreed a similar resolution at the same
The Foreign Secretary described the Security Council Resolution
as 'in many ways ... more important' even than NATO's invocation
of Article 5.
10. On 28 September the UN Security Council agreed
Resolution 1373, which required all states to prevent and suppress
terrorist financing and to deny safe haven to those who finance,
plan, support or commit terrorist acts. The Resolution also established
a Committee of the Council to monitor its implementation. All
states were called upon to report to the Committee on the actions
which they had taken to implement the Resolution no later than
90 days from the date of its agreement (ie before the end of 2001).
Sir Jeremy Greenstock, UK Permanent Representative to the UN,
was named Chairman of the new Committee on 4 October.
11. The actions of the UN were the central part of
a wider diplomatic effort to develop and maintain a broad international
coalition of support for actions against terrorism generally and
against al Qaeda and the Taliban regime in Afghanistan in particular.
On 4 October, the Foreign Secretary described the extent and breadth
of that coalition as 'extraordinary'.
It has embraced a large number of muslim states, including Pakistan
and Iran. It has seen unprecedented levels of cooperation between
the United States and Russia including the latter's approval of
over-flight by American planes and the stationing of American
troops in Uzbekistan.
12. Some commentators have argued that a significant
development arising from the horrific events of 11 September has
been a shift in United States foreign policy away from a perceived
tendency towards isolationism. Professor Lawrence Freedman, Professor
of War Studies, King's College London told us
We are hoping, most of us, at the moment that how
this has worked out so far will encourage the United States to
be much more multilateral in its foreign policy.
Professor Paul Rogers, Professor of Peace Studies,
University of Bradford, however, did not share that opinion
I am bound to say that I believe that it is reinforcing
the unilateralist perspective [of the United States administration]
He argued that since President Bush was experiencing
very high levels of domestic support, the security advisers in
the administration (whom he characterised as 'hard-core') were
able to exert a great deal of influence. This in turn was likely
to lead the United States to extend its military campaign against
terrorism to other countries.
13. Air Marshal Sir Tim Garden KCB, Visiting Professor,
Centre for Defence Studies, King's College London, believed that
it was too early to draw definitive conclusions, but he did suggest
that one positive effect of 11 September had been on the willingness
of the US to engage with other nations, with which it had not
been willing to engage before, and indeed the UN.
He went on
The relationship that has developed between Russia
and the United States has been entirely benign and will serve
us well into the future. The intelligence sharing that appears
to be taking place between nations, including the United States,
that was inconceivable before 11 September, may build trust.
14. In the longer term these re-orientations in
the terms of the relationships between some of the major countries
and blocs of the world may well have more far-reaching consequences
than any military or other actions taken directly against terrorists
and terrorist organisations. Already the developments in relations
between the United States and Russia appear to have fundamentally
altered the terms of the debates on ballistic missile defence
and on the future of NATO. We expect to return to these matters
in later inquiries. But for the present, our concern is to consider
the nature of the terrorist threat itself. The international community's
resolve to deal with terrorism may have hardened to an extent
unforeseeable before 11 September, but to what extent has that
determination been commensurate with the change in the threat
or even in our appreciation of the threat? Do the events of 11
September alert us to the existence of a new breed of terrorist,
and does the scale and nature of those attacks warn us to expect
attacks using new or unconventional weapons?
8 The decision to invoke Article 5 was taken on 12 September.
For technical reasons, the act of invocation itself took somewhat
longer (Q348) Back
Security Council Press Release SC/7143 Back
General Assembly Resolution A/RES/56/1 Back
Deb, 14 September 2001, c 619 Back
Security Council Press Release SC/7156 Back
Deb, 4 October 2001, c 691 Back
16 ibid Back
18 ibid Back