Professor Pape said this view was not popular with western leaders, but was compellingly supported by his reseach (he has a book - link here).
On another recent Newsnight programme, a speaker from the radical muslim group Hizb ut Tahrir unreservedly condemned alleged british suicide bombers, but agreed that his organisation stood for the restoral of the caliphate across the middle-eastern Sunni community.
Recall that Osama bin Laden's original justification of al Qaeda attacks was the American military presence in Saudi Arabia, home of two of the sacred sites of Islam.
Thought experiment. The west gets its tanks off the lawns of the Sunni umma in Iraq, Afghanistan and ceases support for regimes in Jordan, Egypt, Saudi etc. What is the likely outcome as desired by radical Islam?
- An (oil-fuelled and very rich) caliphate built along Taliban lines adhering to Wahhabi doctrines across the middle-east.
- An exterminatory war against Israel, which could go nuclear.
- A powerful force polarising muslim communities in every European country with sizeable muslim populations (at least England, France, Spain, Italy) and bent on imposing sharia law locally.
- Secularised Turkey is in real trouble.
- Spiralling Sunni-Shia antagonism leading to wars of religion.
I think I'm saying that the easy option to let these guys have what they want is worse than the current policy (flawed as it is due to over-reliance on hard power; incompetent execution; and the wilful disregard of the need of Palestinians for a viable state, regardless of the concerns as to who would end up running it).