Tony Blair has refused to confirm he will accept the findings of Sir John Chilcot’s long-awaited report into the Iraq War, using a BBC interview to defend the decision to invade in 2003 and remove Saddam Hussein.
Speaking to the BBC’s Andrew Marr, former Prime Minister Tony Blair pledged that when the Iraq Inquiry report is published on 6 July he will defend his record vigorously. He said the publication of the report will not be the end of the matter because it is “important” it should be followed by a “full debate” about what is the right way to deal with problems in the Middle East and elsewhere, adding:
“And I look forward to participating in that. Make no mistake about that. It is really important we do debate these issues because we’ve got huge problems all over the Middle East and all over the world.”
Mr. Blair claimed he is yet to see the 2.6 million word report, and will wait until it comes out to say whether it has been fair on him, but he will likely have seen key passages relating to his own conduct as part of the so-called ‘Maxwellisation process’. As Breitbart London previously reported this is the long-established process requiring draft criticisms be put to the people concerned to allow them to comment before publication.
Mr. Blair rebutted the allegation, thought to be central to the report, that he privately gave his firm commitment to back a U.S. invasion of Iraq while he was publicly saying a final decision was yet to be taken. He said he did not think anyone could “seriously dispute” he had made his position clear ahead of the 2003 invasion of Iraq that led to the removal of President Saddam Hussein.
Mr. Blair also denied that the aftermath of the invasion of Iraq led to the creation of Islamic State, saying: “…this idea that all of this comes from the decision to remove Saddam, no, you’ve got to go back into this and look at the roots of it.”
In reality, claimed Mr. Blair, Iraq is in fact one of the few “critical” countries which can today help tackle terrorism. He explained:
“If you take the countries on the critical list today — which would be Syria, Iraq, Libya and Yemen — in only one of those cases have you got a government that is capable of fighting terrorism and that is recognised as internationally legitimate — including by both Saudi Arabia and Iran — and whose prime minister turns up in the White House, and that’s Iraq.”