Following reports that the Bush administration is in the process of changing its narrative line from Global War On Terror (GWOT) to Struggle (or Strategy) Against Violent Extremism (SAVE), one of Britain's political parties called for the release of 'enemy combatants' as a consequence in Guantanamo and elsewhere.  --  Menzies Campbell, the Liberal Democrat deputy leader and foreign affairs spokesman, said:  "It very substantially undercuts the purported legal basis for detention in Guantanamo Bay, which is based on the notion of illegal combatants.  If there is no war, the question inevitably arises how can there be illegal combatants?" ...

In depth

Terror

LIB DEMS CALL ON U.S. TO RELEASE TERROR SUSPECTS
By Jean Eaglsham (London) and Martin Arnold (Paris)

Financial Times (UK)
August 1, 2005

http://news.ft.com/cms/s/7bb6ee9e-02cb-11da-84e5-00000e2511c8.html

The U.S. administration's self-proclaimed legal justification for holding terror suspects without trial in Guantanamo Bay has been removed by Washington's shift in policy from a "war on terror" to a "struggle against violent extremism", the Liberal Democrats said on Monday.

Menzies Campbell, the Lib Dem deputy leader and foreign affairs spokesman, told the Financial Times on Monday that the White House's decision to drop the war on terror terminology directly affected the contentious Cuban detention center.

"It very substantially undercuts the purported legal basis for detention in Guantanamo Bay, which is based on the notion of illegal combatants," Mr. Campbell said. "If there is no war, the question inevitably arises how can there be illegal combatants?"

The Foreign Office refused to be drawn on this question on Monday.

Despite the U.S. moves to change its strategy for dealing with extremists from a military-dominated approach to one of reaching out to moderate Muslims, Donald Rumsfeld, the defense secretary, has quashed suggestions that Guantanamo Bay should be closed.

Tony Blair is unlikely to want to reignite the tensions over the detention center if the broader U.S. strategy appears to be moving in the direction Britain wants.

A strategic shift by the U.S. to reach out to moderate Muslim groups would be a significant boost for Mr. Blair's efforts to galvanize international support to tackle extremism.

The prime minister last month floated the idea of an international conference in the autumn centered on the broad theme of "reclaiming Islam" from extremists and terrorists.

British and French officials on Monday insisted that France had been fully co-operating with the U.S. and U.K. on counter-terrorism strategy since well before the London bombings last month. Yet they said a shift in U.S. policy to a more multilateral approach in the last year had given more impetus to the joint work, with French officials saying they were "very appreciative" of Washington's new approach.

A French foreign ministry official said there had been a noticeable shift in the U.S. approach to foreign policy since last autumn, citing as an example the close Franco-U.S. co-operation on Lebanon that resulted in last year's U.N. Security Council resolution and the withdrawal of Syrian forces. "We are not throwing each other flowers, but there has been a slight lightening of U.S. policy on Lebanon," the official said. "Our dialogue with the U.S. on Lebanon helped to persuade them that it was not advisable to isolate Hizbollah. Maybe we can try to pursue this in other cases."