Tony Blair is to blame for Iraq says Christopher Meyer, Britain's former ambassador to US

Sir Christopher said the situation in the Middle East was made worse by failings on the part of the West

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The Independent Online

Tony Blair may want to reach for the aspirin because the headache following his comments on the legacy of the Iraq war may only intensify as more public figures come out to denounce him.

Sir Christopher Meyer, Britain’s ambassador to the US from 1997 to 2003, has rejected Mr Blair’s claims that the West should absolve itself blame for the current Iraq crisis, asserting that “we are reaping what we sowed.”

Writing in the Mail on Sunday he said: “This is not hindsight. We knew in the run-up to war that the overthrow of Saddam Hussein would seriously destabilise Iraq after 24 years of his iron rule.

“For all his evil, he kept a lid on sectarian violence. Bush and Blair were repeatedly warned by their advisers and diplomats to make dispositions accordingly.

“But, as we now know, very little was done until the last minute; and what was done, as in the case of Bremer’s edicts, simply made things far worse.”

Sir Christopher displays incredulity at the former prime minister’s claims, which were made in the days that Iraq becomes gripped by militant fighting and the capture of large swathes of the country by Jihadist insurgents.

His comments follow those of other politicians including Scotland's first minister Alex Salmond who accused Mr Blair of “breathtaking amnesia on his reasons for invading Iraq.”

Tony Blair meeting troops in the port of Umm Qasr, Iraq in May, 2003 (PA)

Mr Salmond said: “Tony Blair has now claimed that the invasion of Iraq was about whether or not Saddam Hussein remained in power. Eleven years ago he said it was about weapons of mass destruction.

“[He] clearly hopes everybody else will conveniently forget his 2003 decision, the consequences of which have played out over 11 years, with hundreds of thousands dead.”

London mayor Boris Johnson also accused the ex-PM of being “unhinged,” urging Mr Blair to “put a sock on it,” while former Labour foreign office minister, Lord Malloch-Brown, said he should “stay quiet.”

“You know, Tony Blair is half right...Iraq, like Syria, would probably have been a problem even without an intervention,” Mr Malloch-Brown said.

“But one wishes someone would tell him to just stay quiet during moments like this, because it does drive a great surge of people in the other direction.”

Ukip leader Nigel Farage lambasted Mr Blair as an "embarrassment" whose political allies would be "well advised to urge an extended period of silence on his behalf."

Mr Farage, whose party is vehemently against foreign intervention, said that Western involvement has only ever made the situation worse.

"This is true of Libya, Syria and of course Iraq. Tony Blair's state of outright denial of the obvious consequences of his disastrous decision-making on Iraq is making increasingly uncomfortable viewing," he said.

"The lesson is not, as Mr Blair implies, that the West should intervene in Syria, let alone once more in Iraq. The lesson is that the West should declare an end to the era of military intervention abroad."