Blair was bound to Iraq war ‘a year before invasion’
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was committed to joining the United States in the Iraq war a year before the 2003 invasion
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair was committed to joining the United States in the Iraq war a year before the 2003 invasion, documents obtained by a Sunday newspaper suggested.
The revelations focus on a memo allegedly written by former U.S. secretary of state Colin Powell on March 28, 2002 to then president George Bush a week before the U.S. leader’s meeting with Blair at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.
“On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary,” wrote Powell, in a document the Mail on Sunday published on its website.
“He is convinced on two points: the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success,” Powell said, referring to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was eventually ousted in the 2003 US-led invasion.
The Mail on Sunday said the memo and other sensitive documents were part of a batch of secret emails held on the private server of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton which U.S. courts have forced her to reveal.
A separate quote from Powell assured Bush “the UK will follow our lead in the Middle East”, while other statements suggest Blair’s willingness to present “strategic, tactical and public affairs lines” to strengthen public support for the Iraq war.
Blair, who served as prime minister between 1997 and 2007, has repeatedly denied rushing to war. Under his leadership, Britain made the second biggest troop contribution to the Iraq invasion, and British forces were stationed in the country until 2011.
The decision to back the invasion is now deeply unpopular in Britain and has haunted Blair’s Labour Party ever since.
His office was not immediately available for comment.
- 25 years on, Iraq’s Kuwait invasion remains a source of bitterness
- Jeb Bush: I would have authorized the Iraq invasion
- Blair ‘poised to step back’ from Mideast role
- Head of UK’s Iraq war inquiry defends report delay
- Bush says rise of ISIS the only ‘regret’ for 2003 Iraq invasion
- ‘Sack Blair’ as Mideast envoy, urges campaign