In an interesting interview to the US TV network CNN, Tony Blair, the former British Prime Minister has apologized for his role in the Iraqi war and has admitted he could be partly to blame for the rise of the Islamic State terror group. “Those of us who removed Saddam do bear some responsibility for the situation in Iraq today,” the ex-premier said.
However, he does not seem to be clear and explicit in the point he was trying make as he had made a contradictory statement in the same interview.
According to various British media he had stated that it was “hard to apologise” for removing Saddam Hussein and Iraq might have become like Syria otherwise. Regretting the present Iraqi situation while claiming that Iraq is not so bad as Syria is incomprehensible. What is the difference between Iraq and Syria now?
The British media said Blair’s comments come as Sir John Chilcot prepares to set out a timeline for the release of his long-awaited report on the Iraq war, which is expected to be critical of the former prime minister.
One British paper, Financial Times said, “Mr Blair has been informed of the criticisms he will face in the final report, so his comments on a US television network could be seen by some as a preemptive intervention. Nicola Sturgeon, Scotland’s first minister, tweeted: “The Blair spin operation begins but the country still awaits the truth. The delay to Chilcot report is a scandal.”
Blair is apologizing for the rise of IS apparently meaning that the removal of relatively moderate Saddam Husain has resulted in the rise of extremist IS. He regrets that he was not in a position to foresee the situation after Saddam Husain. However, in a separate development, former Labour Home Secretary David Blunkett had revealed that he challenged Blair before the war about avoiding chaos after Saddam’s downfall.
Another point is that Blair is apologizing for the aftermath of the Iraqi war, but not for the lies told by the US and British leaders to the world to justify the two Iraqi invasions a decade apart -- in 1993 and 2003. They told the world before the first Iraqi war in 1993 (during the tenure of Senior George Bush in the US) that Husain was making a 152-metre long supergun with a one-metre bore which the Western allied forces never found during or after the war. During the second Iraqi war with Junior Bush being at the helm, it was the Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) they were searching for in Iraq, but never found. One of the brutal outcomes of the two invasion, apart from the present situation Mr. Blair was referring to, was that of more than a half million Iraqis, especially children, perishing of malnutrition as a result of the economic blockade over Iraq by the Western powers. Would Mr. Blair or any other Western leader apologise to the kith and kin of those half a million human beings?
True, Saddam was a brutal dictator who used even chemical weapons against his own people in Halabja in North Eastern Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war, but his atrocities were far below that of the Israeli rulers against the hapless Palestinians, a race that is fast becoming extinct due to slaughters aided and abetted by the same Western leaders including those in the US and Britain during the past seven decades. Hence it was not the democracy that was sought by the Western leaders in Iraq by “removing” Saddam Husain, but the precious oil. That is a point that would never be admitted or apologized to by Blair or any future Western leader.