Author Topic: Tony Blair: 'We didn't cause Iraq crisis'  (Read 907 times)

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Offline thaiga

Tony Blair: 'We didn't cause Iraq crisis'
« on: June 15, 2014, 03:29:43 PM »
The 2003 invasion of Iraq is not to blame for the violent insurgency now gripping the country, former UK prime minister Tony Blair has said.

Speaking to the BBC's Andrew Marr, he said there would still be a "major problem" in the country even without the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Tony Blair: 'Don't believe washing our hands of it and walking away will solve the problem'

He insisted the current crisis was a "regional" issue that "affects us all".

Critics have rejected the comments as "bizarre" with one accusing Mr Blair of "washing his hands of responsibility".

"Even if you'd left Saddam in place in 2003, then when 2011 happened - and you had the Arab revolutions going through Tunisia and Libya and Yemen and Bahrain and Egypt and Syria - you would have still had a major problem in Iraq," Mr Blair said.

"Indeed, you can see what happens when you leave the dictator in place, as has happened with Assad now. The problems don't go away.

"So, one of the things I'm trying to say is - you know, we can rerun the debates about 2003 - and there are perfectly legitimate points on either side - but where we are now in 2014, we have to understand this is a regional problem, but it's a problem that will affect us."

Michael Stephens, an expert on Iraq and Syria for the Royal United Services Institute, said the Iraq War had "a lot to play - a part in this sort of fragmentation of Iraq".
'Unending violence'

"I think Mr Blair is washing his hands of responsibility," he said. "But at the same time, I do agree with him that we can't just ignore this.

"We do have some kind of role to play in terms of trying to make sure that both Iraq and Syria do not fragment and just move on into sort of unending violence."

Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain's ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2003, said the handling of the campaign against Saddam Hussein was "perhaps the most significant reason" for the sectarian violence now gripping Iraq.

"We are reaping what we sowed in 2003. This is not hindsight. We knew in the run-up to war that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would seriously destabilise Iraq after 24 years of his iron rule," he said in the Mail on Sunday.

Syria is three years into a civil war in which tens of thousands of people have died and millions more have been displaced.

In August last year, a chemical attack near the capital Damascus killed hundreds of people.

In the same month, UK MPs rejected the idea of air strikes against Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's government to deter the use of chemical weapons.

Writing on his website, the former prime minister warned that every time the UK puts off action, "the action we will be forced to take will be ultimately greater".

He said the current violence in Iraq was the "predictable and malign effect" of inaction in Syria.

"We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that 'we' have caused this," he wrote. "We haven't."

He said the takeover of Mosul by Sunni insurgents was planned across the Syrian border.

"Where the extremists are fighting, they have to be countered hard, with force," Mr Blair said.
'Bizarre views'

The Sunni insurgents, from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS), regard Iraq's Shia majority as "infidels".

After taking Mosul late on Monday, and then Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, ISIS militants pressed south into the ethnically divided Diyala province.

On Friday, they battled against Shia fighters near Muqdadiya - just 50 miles (80km) from Baghdad's city limits.

Reinforcements from both the Iraqi army and Shia militias have arrived in the city of Samarra, where fighters loyal to ISIS are trying to enter from the north.

Security analyst Professor Eric Groves said he found Mr Blair's position to be "bizarre".

He told the BBC that had the UK intervened in Syria, it would have been against the Assad regime, which ISIS is fighting.

"So therefore, intervening in Syria might well have actually been in the interests of the ISIS people," he said.
Anyone who goes to a psychiatrist should have his head examined.

Online Taman Tun

Re: Tony Blair: 'We didn't cause Iraq crisis'
« Reply #1 on: June 16, 2014, 03:39:58 PM »
This is from Paul Goodman:- Tony Blair, the Rector of Stiffkey

The Church of England has a distinguished history of producing eccentric clergymen, but few tales in its long annals can match that of Harold Davidson.  The sum of his story is as follows: a former showman, the Rector of Stiffkey in Norfolk declared himself to have a mission to rescue young girls in danger of falling into vice – and approached and befriended hundreds of them.  The Bishop of Norwich eventually instituted disciplinary proceedings.  Davidson was convicted and defrocked after the prosecution produced a photograph of him with a near-naked teenage girl.  He returned to his former career as a showman, exhibiting himself in a barrel – and variously freezing in a refrigerated chamber; being roasted in a glass-fronted oven while a mechanised devil prodded him with a pitchfork, and confining himself in a cage with lions.

In two respects at least, Tony Blair’s tale is unlike Davidson’s: he has not been put in trial and, unlike the former clergyman, has never run short of money.  But the parallels in other respects, though fanciful, are beginning to look uncanny.  Like Davidson, Blair had an earlier spell as an entertainer (starring as Mark Antony in a production of Julius Caesar at Fettes, and as a singer at Oxford in a band called Ugly Rumours).  Davidson insisted there was nothing improper about his relationship with those girls; Blair insists there was nothing improper about his role in the invasion of Iraq.  Davidson was turned out of his living by the church; Blair was turned out of Downing Street by his party.  Davidson freezed and roasted himself; Blair is the Special Envoy of the Quartet on the Middle East and has set up the Tony Blair Faith Foundation.  Both men have in common the protestation of their innocence – which, in both cases, is virulently contested.

As I argued yesterday, Iraq would have been torn apart by the civil war within Islam regardless of the 2003 invasion, such is the primal ferocity of the strife between Sunni and Shi’ite – a struggle on a scale so huge and a canvas so vast as almost to be beyond the grasp of the western liberal imagination.  Historians in some future age may thus be kinder to Blair than people in this present one, especially those who are members of his own Party.  Just as some now say that Davidson was ill-treated, others may claim that Blair didn’t wage an illegal war (because no court has ever pronounced), didn’t take Britain to war (since Parliament voted for the invasion) and was always open about his desire for regime change.  The problem for him is the modern equivalent of Davidson’s compromising photograph.  The charge that he bent the evidence; that corners were cut, and that Whitehall was too servile – Blair then being at the height of his power – is simply too strong to dismiss.  We do not need to wait for Chilcott to confirm this; Butler has already done so.

In the meanwhile, Blair continues to assert that he was right about Iraq, for all the world like Davidson making speeches to the crowd outside that lion’s cage.  And just as Davidson’s accusations against the church, after his defrocking, grew more and more vociferous, so Blair’s proposals for action in the Middle East, now that he has left office, grow more and more extensive: drones, bombs, air strikes, military intervention in Syria: he supports the lot.  Devils – or rather former Cabinet colleagues, such as John Prescott and Clare Short – prod at him with pitchforks.  Guardian and Daily Mail readers join to plunge him into the ice-chamber of their disapproval.  The crowd outside the cage is baffled, murmuring, hostile: he is finished in Britain. Blair, the former actor in Elizabethan drama, might echo the words of Marlowe’s fallen angel: “Why, this is hell, nor am I out of it.”

Davidson was eventually mauled to death by a lion in Skegness.  Blair’s parallel life with the former Rector has distance yet to run.
We are masters of the unsaid words, but slaves of those we let slip out. Churchill

Offline Roger

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Re: Tony Blair: 'We didn't cause Iraq crisis'
« Reply #2 on: June 20, 2014, 05:17:06 AM »
Thaiga and TT - thanks for that. These events in Iraq are just terrible and one wonders where it will all end, with Syria falling apart too.
Paul Goodman's piece was wonderful writing. Blair is a clever Guy who claims religious leanings - whatever he says, I think he knows at heart the damage he has done. In some shots he looks totally haunted. A spell in Jail would help him to absolve his sins then.
Dear old Boris had a startling go at him in the DT the other day - from memory, implying Blair was bonkers or similar - but BJ then backed off in interviews. Anyway, thanks again.