The much talked about ‘Chilcot Report’ published by Sir John Chilcot on 6th July 2016 found that invading Iraq was ‘unnecessary’ and was based on ‘flawed intelligence’ decided hastily before all the peaceful options were exhausted. Chilcot report is essentially a report of British public enquiry into their nation’s role in the invasion of Iraq. The enquiry was ordered in 2009 by the then British Prime Minister Gordon Brown.
The report comprehensively covers invasion of Iraq from 2001 to 2009 and other topics such as circumstances leading to the conflict, strategy and planning, UK’s decision to support the US in its military endeavours, ‘Weapons of Mass Destruction’ and planning post-Saddam Hussein era. The report was due to be released in 2014, however was delayed in negotiations with the US on keeping the contents of the report classified. The Foreign Office through judicial process blocked the extracts of conversations of the then President of the United States, George W. Bush and then British Prime Minister, Tony Blair that happened a few days before the Iraq invasion. The report is seen as posing a ‘significant danger’ to the bilateral relations between the UK and the US.
Some of the key shocking points revealed in the report confirm that Saddam Hussain did not pose immediate threat to the UK. The intelligence of Saddam regime possessing Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) was not with certainty. Also the peaceful alternatives were not exhausted and the principles laid down by the United Nations Security Council was also undermined. The most important revelation in the report states that the war in 2003 was ‘unnecessary and avoidable’.
The Chilcot report holds Tony Blair and his decision responsible to take UK to war against Iraq. The report also mentions of a ‘special relation’ between George W. Bush and Tony Blair, where Blair in the late 2002 had assured Bush in a note, “I will be with you, whatever”. This particular note from Blair to Bush has been in focus as to why the then Prime Minister Blair had to give such a blank cheque to President Bush assuring his support in “whatever” decision.
In a recent news conference, Tony Blair has repeatedly expressed regret about the loss of lives of both British service personnel and Iraqi civilians. After the report the former prime minister sounded throaty, looked crushed and acknowledged some errors. He conceded that he should have been much more vigilant about the so-called ‘intelligence’ which was used to justify the invasion. What he indirectly meant was that if he knew then what he knew now, he would not have taken UK to war in Iraq.”
to be continued…