Blair links rise of IS to Iraq war
Tony Blair has apologised for mistakes made over the Iraq War - and said there were “elements of truth” in claims that it caused the rise of Islamic State.
The ex-PM said “those of us who removed Saddam” did bear some responsibility for the situation in Iraq today.
But he said it was “hard to apologise” for removing Saddam Hussein and Iraq might have become like Syria otherwise.
BBC correspondent Robin Brant said Mr Blair was apologising “for things he’s already said sorry for”.
Mr Blair’s comments come shortly before Sir John Chilcot announces a timetable for completion of his inquiry into the war.
In an interview - which is yet to be broadcast - with US news channel CNN, Mr Blair said that even if his policy in Iraq did not work, subsequent policies had worked no better.
He suggested that if the Iraq invasion had not taken place the country could have degenerated into civil war, as Syria did.
He also apologised for “some of the mistakes in planning” as well as “our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime”.
But he told CNN that if asked to say “we would be better off as a world” if Saddam were still in power, “I have to part company with people.”
Asked if the war was the “principal cause” of the rise of the so-called Islamic State (IS or ISIS) militant group, he replied: “I think there are elements of truth in that.”
Blair spoke ahead of the publication of the Sir John Chilcot enquiry into the Iraq war, which is expected to criticise the use of intelligence that suggested Hussein had weapons of mass destruction in the run-up to the Iraq war.
Former British prime minister Tony Blair