March 21, 2023

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair rejected the comparison between the 2003 U.S.-sponsored invasion of Iraq with the United Kingdom, which he supported, and Russia’s war in Ukraine. Blair voiced his point of view in an exclusive interview with dpa, AFP, ANSA, EFE on Saturday, March 18.

According to the former head of the British Cabinet, Saddam Hussein, who served as President of Iraq, treated his people cruelly, participated in two wars in violation of international law and ordered the use of chemical weapons, the use of which led to mass casualties.

The actions of the forces of the coalition that entered Iraq and overthrew Hussein cannot be equated with the invasion of Russian President Vladimir Putin into Ukraine – “a country where there is a democratically elected president who, as far as I know, has never started regional conflicts and has not committed acts of aggression against neighbors”, Blair said.

Tony Blair: Putin can find another excuse

former premier acknowledged that Putin could use the 2003 invasion of Iraq, carried out without a UN Security Council mandate, to try to justify his war of aggression.

But if he does not resort to this argument, then “uses another excuse,” says Tony Blair.

The presence of Russia and China in the UN Security Council makes maintaining a world order based on international rules “very difficult,” the former head of the British Cabinet stated.

Invasion of Iraq

Sending 45,000 British soldiers to Iraq is, according to some experts, one of the most controversial decisions made by Blair in 10 years of premiership. To justify this move, Tony Blair cited a dossier that claimed that Saddam Hussein’s regime unquestionably possessed weapons of mass destruction. This weapon, however, was never found.

Many British government legal advisers also expressed doubts about the legitimacy of carrying out an operation in Iraq without UN approval. Thus, one of the then advisers, Michael Wood, said that the head of the Foreign Ministry in the Blair administration, Jack Straw, ignored Wood’s warnings that the use of military force against Iraq without the sanction of the UN Security Council and without any other legal justification would be illegitimate.

The dpa agency recalls that after the overthrow of Saddam Hussein in Iraq a spiral of violence quickly unfolded, resulting in hundreds of thousands of deaths. The terrorist organization “Islamic state” also took advantage of the political chaos and was able to temporarily take control of a large part of the country.

See also:

How Blair dragged the British into the Iraq war

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