BLAIR: Invasion halts Iraq to become another Syria

Former British prime minister Tony Blair

Former British prime minister told CNN it was “hard to apologise” for removing Saddam Hussein, and Iraq might have become like Syria otherwise….reports Asian Lite News

Former British prime minister Tony Blair
Former British prime minister Tony Blair

His comments came just before Sir John Chilcot announces a timetable for completion of his inquiry into the war, BBC reported.

Mr Blair said even if his policy in Iraq did not work subsequent policies had worked no better.

He believed it was better that Saddam Hussein was no longer in power and suggested that if the Iraq invasion had not taken place there was the danger the country would have degenerated into civil war, as Syria did.

But the former Labour leader apologised for the inaccuracy of intelligence reports in the run-up to war and for poor post-conflict planning. However, he has made both of these points before, to Parliament and to the Iraq Inquiry.

He said: “I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong.

“I also apologise for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime.”

Asked if the war was the “principle cause” of the rise of the Islamic State militant group, he replied: “I think there are elements of truth in that.

“Of course you can’t say those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015.”

Sir John Chilcot’s long-awaited report into the Iraq War is now reaching a conclusion, although no date has yet been given for its release – more than six years after the inquiry was set up by then prime minister Gordon Brown with an assurance it would take a year.