Iraq crisis: Tony Blair admits 'removal of Saddam Hussein' is partly to blame for uprising

But Blair also argued that Saddam Hussein would have been targeted during the Arab Spring if he was not toppled

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has admitted that toppling ex-Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has contributed to the eruption of the current crisis in Iraq.

But, writing in the Financial Times on Monday, Blair argued that “non-intervention is also a decision with consequences”, citing that the “chaos in Syria” has allowed Isis - the jihadist group sweeping across Iraq – to “re-build itself”.

“Of course the Iraq of 2014 bears, in part, the imprint of the removal of Saddam Hussein 11 years ago. To say otherwise, as a recent editorial in this newspaper implies that I do, would be absurd,” Mr Blair wrote.

Blair continued that if the 2003 invasion of Iraq did not go ahead, it is likely that the Iraqi people would have staged an Arab Spring uprising against Saddam Hussein.

He added that “Saddam Hussein’s response would have been more like that of Bashar al-Assad in Syria than that of Hosni Mubarak,” with the former clinging on to power in a recent election despite widespread civil war in Syria.

“Whatever decision had been taken in 2003, in 2014 we would be facing a major challenge,” Blair claimed.

“That is the point I am making. I am not seeking to persuade people about the decision in 2003. I am trying to convince them that the fundamental challenge is not the product of that decision or indeed the decision in Syria. It is a challenge of immense complexity that has not originated in anything we have done since this challenge burst fully on to our consciousness after the attacks of September 11 2001,” he said.

Blair’s comments come days after he published an essay in which he claimed that the 2003 invasion was not to blame for the current crisis in Iraq.

 

Read more: Iraq crisis: Isis ‘has recruited at least 1,500 Britons’
Cockburn: The US and Iran need to work together fast
Isis extremists plan to attack us in the UK, warns David Cameron
Out of America: Two presidents. Two styles. One Iraq

World powers continue to grapple with how to end the escalating crisis in Iraq, where Sunni Muslim militants have seized towns in the north and west, including the country’s second city Mosul.

On Monday, Secretary of State John Kerry said that US support for Iraqi security forces will be “intense and sustained” to help them combat the insurgency.

Kerry added that during talks with Prime Minister in Baghdad last Wednesday, Nuri al-Maliki reaffirmed his commitment to a July 1 date for forming a new government – days after US senators including Republic John McCain called for the Prime Minister to step down.

In an attempt to prevent further gains by Isis, President Barack Obama last week offered up to 300 American advisers to help coordinate the fight, but did not grant a request for air strikes from Maliki's Shi'ite Muslim-led government and renewed a call for Maliki to do more to overcome sectarian divisions that have alienated the Sunni Muslim minority.

“The key today was to get from each of the government leaders a clarity with respect to the road forward in terms of government formation,” Kerry said. “Indeed, Prime Minister Maliki firmly and on multiple occasions affirmed his commitment to July 1 [to form the new government].”

Iraqi Kurdish forces take position near Taza Khormato as they fight Isis militants (AFP) Iraqi Kurdish forces take position near Taza Khormato as they fight Isis militants (AFP) Kerry said Obama will not wait before he acts to provide advisers and support for Iraq's military. “The support will be intense and sustained and if Iraq's leaders take the necessary steps to bring the country together, it will be effective.

"It will allow Iraqi security forces to confront ISIL more effectively and in a way that respects Iraq's sovereignty while also respecting America's and the region's vital interests," he said, referring to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant insurgents who have spearheaded the Sunni revolt.

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Arts and Entertainment
From Mean Girls to Mamet: Lindsay Lohan
theatre
Sport
Jordan Rossiter celebrates with team mates after scoring the opening goal during the match between Liverpool and Middlesbrough at Anfield
football

Liverpool progress to the last 16 of the Capital One Cup

News
Mike Tyson has led an appalling and sad life, but are we not a country that gives second chances?
peopleFormer boxer 'watched over' crash victim until ambulance arrived
Arts and Entertainment
Geena Davis, founder and chair of the Geena Davis Institute on Gender in Media
tv
News
i100
Travel
travelGallery And yes, it is indoors
Sport
Nathaniel Clyne (No 2) drives home his side's second goal past Arsenal’s David Ospina at the Emirates
footballArsenal 1 Southampton 2: Arsène Wenger pays the price for picking reserve side in Capital One Cup
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
The Tiger Who Came To Tea
books
News
i100
Arts and Entertainment
British actor Idris Elba is also a DJ and rapper who played Ibiza last summer
film
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Account Executive/Sales Consultant – Permanent – Hertfordshire - £16-£20k

£16500 - £20000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: We are currently r...

KS2 PPA Teacher needed (Mat Cover)- Worthing!

£100 - £125 per day: Randstad Education Crawley: KS2 PPA Teacher currently nee...

IT Systems Manager

£40000 - £45000 per annum + pension, healthcare,25 days: Ashdown Group: An est...

IT Application Support Engineer - Immediate Start

£28000 per annum: Ashdown Group: IT Software Application Support Analyst - Imm...

Day In a Page

Syria air strikes: ‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings

Robert Fisk on Syria air strikes

‘Peace President’ Obama had to take stronger action against Isis after beheadings
Will Lindsay Lohan's West End debut be a turnaround moment for her career?

Lindsay Lohan's West End debut

Will this be a turnaround moment for her career?
'The Crocodile Under the Bed': Judith Kerr's follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

The follow-up to 'The Tiger Who Came to Tea'

Judith Kerr on what inspired her latest animal intruder - 'The Crocodile Under the Bed' - which has taken 46 years to get into print
BBC Television Centre: A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past

BBC Television Centre

A nostalgic wander through the sets, studios and ghosts of programmes past
Lonesome George: Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains

My George!

Custody battle in Galapagos over tortoise remains
10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Pack up your troubles: 10 best rucksacks for backpackers

Off on an intrepid trip? Experts from student trip specialists Real Gap and Quest Overseas recommend luggage for travellers on the move
Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world