Archive for July 7th, 2016

Tony Blair unrepentant as Chilcot gives crushing Iraq war verdict

Luke Harding
6 July 2016

Sir John Chilcot delivers highly critical verdict on Iraq war but ex-PM says: ‘I believe we made the right decision’

Chilcot report: ‘A devastating critique of Blair and the British government’

A defiant Tony Blair defended his decision to go to war in Iraq in 2003 following the publication of a devastating report by Sir John Chilcot, which mauled the ex-prime minister’s reputation and said that at the time of the 2003 invasion Saddam Hussein “posed no imminent threat”.

Looking tired, his voice sometimes croaking with emotion, Blair described his decision to join the US attack as “the hardest, most momentous, most agonising decision I took in 10 years as British prime minister”.

He said he felt “deeply and sincerely … the grief and suffering of those who lost ones they loved in Iraq”.

“There will not be a day when I do not relive and rethink what happened,” he added.

But asked whether invading Iraq was a mistake Blair was strikingly unrepentant. “I believe we made the right decision and the world is better and safer,” he declared. He argued that he had acted in good faith, based on intelligence at the time which said that Iraq’s president had weapons of mass destruction. This “turned out to be wrong”.

Blair also said the Iraq inquiry – set up by his successor Gordon Brown back in 2009 – shot down long-standing claims that he had lied about the war to the British public and cynically manipulated intelligence. Where there had been mistakes they were minor ones involving “planning and process”, he said. He said he “couldn’t accept” criticism that British soldiers died in vain.

Blair’s extraordinary two-hour press conference came after Chilcot, a retired civil servant, published his long-awaited report into the Iraq debacle. In the end, and seven years after hearings first began, it was a more far-reaching and damning document than many had expected. It eviscerated Blair’s style of government and decision-making. Read the rest of this entry »


Chilcot report: key points from the Iraq inquiry

Guardian staff
6 July 2016

The main points from Sir John Chilcot’s inquiry regarding Tony Blair’s decision to go to war and how he put his case.

The Chilcot inquiry has delivered a damning verdict on the former prime minister Tony Blair’s decision to commit British troops to the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003. It says:

The UK chose to join the invasion before peaceful options had been exhausted

Chilcot is withering about Blair’s choice to join the US invasion. He says: “We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”

Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein

Chilcot finds that Blair deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by the Iraqi regime as he sought to make the case for military action to MPs and the public in the build-up to the invasion in 2002 and 2003. The then prime minister disregarded warnings about the potential consequences of military action, and relied too heavily on his own beliefs, rather than the more nuanced judgments of the intelligence services. “The judgments about Iraq’s capabilities … were presented with a certainty that was not justified,” the report says. Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis: Month of Terror During Ramadan Shows ISIS’s New Phase

NBC News
JUL 6 2016


ISTANBUL, Turkey — Muslims around the world on Wednesday were celebrating Eid, the holiday that marks the end of Ramadan. But this year, the end of the month of fasting brings special relief because ISIS turned Ramadan — a time of prayer, charity and self-restraint — into a month of terror.

The terror group used Ramadan as a rallying cry for violence.

But was the wave of attacks — from Turkey to Bangladesh, Baghdad to Medina — a sign of ISIS strength or weakness? The answer may be a bit of both. Read the rest of this entry »