Blair links rise of IS to Iraq war

Daily Trust - - INTERNATIONAL -

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

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