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
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
videoJapanese prepare for the afterlife by testing out coffins
Arts and Entertainment
Harrison Ford attends Blade Runner at Target Presents AFI's Night at the Movies at ArcLight Cinemas on 24 April, 2013 in Hollywood, California
film... but Ridley Scott won't direct
Sport
Hughes is hit by a bouncer from Sean Abbott
cricketStephen Brenkley on batsman's tragic flaw that led to critical injury
Sport
Dejected England players applaud the fans following their team's 3-0 defeat
football

Extras
indybest
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

Recruitment Genius: Property Manager

£25000 - £29000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This independent, growing Sales...

Recruitment Genius: Graphic Designer

£16000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Multi-skilled graphic designer ...

Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solicitor

£30000 - £50000 per annum + EXCELLENT: Austen Lloyd: Court of Protection Solic...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Supervisor / Housewares / Furniture

£17000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?
Nightclubbing with Richard Young: The story behind his latest book of celebrity photographs

24-Hour party person

Photographer Richard Young has been snapping celebrities at play for 40 years. As his latest book is released, he reveals that it wasn’t all fun and games
Michelle Obama's school dinners: America’s children have a message for the First Lady

A taste for rebellion

US children have started an online protest against Michelle Obama’s drive for healthy school meals by posting photos of their lunches
Colouring books for adults: How the French are going crazy for Crayolas

Colouring books for adults

How the French are going crazy for Crayolas
Jack Thorne's play 'Hope': What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

What would you do as a local politician faced with an impossible choice of cuts?

Playwright Jack Thorne's latest work 'Hope' poses the question to audiences
Ed Harcourt on Romeo Beckham and life as a court composer at Burberry

Call me Ed Mozart

Paloma Faith, Lana del Ray... Romeo Beckham. Ed Harcourt has proved that he can write for them all. But it took a personal crisis to turn him from indie star to writer-for-hire
10 best stocking fillers for foodies

Festive treats: 10 best stocking fillers for foodies

From boozy milk to wasabi, give the food-lover in your life some extra-special, unusual treats to wake up to on Christmas morning
Phil Hughes head injury: He had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Phil Hughes had one weakness – it has come back to haunt him

Prolific opener had world at his feet until Harmison and Flintoff bounced him
'I have an age of attraction that starts as low as four': How do you deal with a paedophile who has never committed a crime?

'I am a paedophile'

Is our approach to sex offenders helping to create more victims?
How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

How bad do you have to be to lose a Home Office contract?

Serco given Yarl’s Wood immigration contract despite ‘vast failings’
Green Party on the march in Bristol: From a lost deposit to victory

From a lost deposit to victory

Green Party on the march in Bristol
Putting the grot right into Santa's grotto

Winter blunderlands

Putting the grot into grotto
'It just came to us, why not do it naked?' London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital

'It just came to us, why not do it naked?'

London's first nude free runner captured in breathtaking images across capital