By Patrick Falk,
International News Writer
On Sunday, Oct. 25, former British Prime Minister Tony Blaire publically admitted that his backing of the United States’ decision to send troops into Iraq and the coordination of military operations between the two may have given rise to the current backlash in the region caused by ISIL (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant).
Blair’s decision to engage in military action in 2003 remains a controversial decision in Britain due to suspicions that increased military involvement contributed to the region’s unrest.
Blair acknowledged that there may be some truth behind these suspicions in the course of his statement.
“Of course, you can’t say that those of us who removed [former Iraqi dictator] Saddam [Hussein] in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015,” he said in a statement to CNN.
Although Blair apologized for the mistakes that had occurred in the course of military action due to poor planning and inaccurate intelligence, he refused to apologize for the war as a whole.
“I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam. I think, even from today in 2015, it is better that he’s not there than that he is there,” he said.
Blair went on to defend the consequences of his actions by pointing out that, while the effects of the war may have led to ISIL’s rise to power in the region, ISIL originated in Syria, not Iraq.
“We have tried intervention and putting down troops in Iraq. We’ve tried intervention without putting in troops in Libya. And we’ve tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in Syria. It’s not clear to me that, even if our policy did not work, subsequent policies have worked better,” Blair said at the conclusion of his interview, as quoted by Al Jazeera.
Blair also added that better military and strategic planning may have helped the transition of power from after Saddam’s regime to now the ISIL predicament.
Estimates indicate that close to 500,000 Iraqis have been killed as a result of the war since 2003.
A version of this article appeared in the Tuesday, November 3rd print edition.
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