Britain was warned that the Iraqi people had a huge "capacity for violence" before the 2003 invasion, the inquiry into the war heard today.
The UK's former ambassador to the United Nations said his Egyptian counterpart cautioned him about the dangers of launching military action against Iraq.
Sir Jeremy Greenstock said there was anger and resentment among UN officials that Britain and the United States had decided to go to war despite widespread international opposition.
He recalled that Ahmed Aboul Gheit, then Egypt's ambassador to the UN, told him: "You will not believe the degree of violence of which these people are capable when you come to it. So be careful what you take on."
Sir Jeremy told the inquiry that diplomats from other countries expressed a wide variety of views on the impending invasion, ranging from support to condemnation.
He said: "There were people who felt that we had far exceeded any possible legal or legitimate authority that we had and we were going to cause problems in the country whose history was violent and whose people would show us that they had a capacity for violence which would shake us to the core when we actually had to deal with them."
He added: "I would have reported the range of comments, and I remember reporting in some form or other my Egyptian colleague's comments."Reuse content