Tony Blair: Putin can't use Iraq to justify Ukraine invasion

tony blair: putin can't use iraq to justify ukraine invasion

Tony Blair was the UK’s prime minister from 1997 to 2007

Russia’s invasion of Ukraine cannot be equated with the US-led invasion of Iraq, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair said Saturday, ahead of the 20th anniversary of the conflict that toppled Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Blair said Moscow’s forces had invaded “a country that has a democratically elected president who, to my knowledge, has never started a regional conflict or committed any aggression against its neighbours.”

The former British leader said Saddam Hussein, on the other hand, had brutalized his own people, engaged in two wars in violation of international law and used chemical weapons to kill 12,000 people in a single day.

“At least you could say we were removing a despot and trying to introduce democracy,” Blair told European news agencies AFP, dpa, ANSA and EFE.

The 69-year-old British politician conceded that Russian leader Vladimir Putin could try to use the Iraq invasion, which took place without a UN Security Council mandate, to justify his war of aggression.

“But, you know, if he didn’t use that excuse, he’d use another excuse,” Blair said.

West lost moral high ground by invading Iraq

Under Blair, Britain joined a coalition of countries — led by then-US President George W, Bush — in attacking Iraq on March 20, 2003. They did so without a formal declaration of war or a UN mandate.

The invasion took place in the wake of the September 11, 2001 attacks on New York and the US.

The goal of removing Saddam Hussein was soon achieved but Iraq quickly sank into a spiral of violence that lasted years and left hundreds of thousands of people dead.

The invasion also spurred some of the largest anti-war demonstrations in Britain.

Critics say the war was exposed as a reckless misadventure as no weapons of mass destruction, one of the British government’s main justifications for the operation, were found in Iraq.

The power vacuum ultimately allowed the self-proclaimed “Islamic State” to take control of large parts of the country for a few years.

Critics also argue that the Iraq war also hampered the West’s ability to stand up to Russian and Chinese autocracy credibly.

Blair’s greatest achievement made closer to home

If Iraq marked the low point of his 10-year administration, Blair said he thinks his role in mediating a peace agreement in Northern Ireland was his greatest legacy.

The signing of the Good Friday Peace Agreement on April 10, 1998, brought an end to the violence between Catholic nationalists seeking a united Ireland and Protestants loyal to Britain.

The preceding three decades of sectarian strife known as The Troubles had left some 3,500 people dead.

Blair was able to complete a process started by his Conservative predecessor, John Major, both of whom have been vocal about the risks of Brexit for peace in Northern Ireland.

He spent three days and nights negotiating the final stretch, alongside then-Irish premier Bertie Ahern and an envoy of US president Bill Clinton, finalizing a power-sharing arrangement among the communities.

Northern Ireland’s position as the only part of the UK with a shared border with European Union member, the Republic of Ireland, has at times reignited tensions between the communities following Britain’s departure from the EU.

But there are hopes a deal sealed last month between London and Brussels to regulate post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland could help sooth tensions.

Blair comments on Brexit, Sunak

Turning to the wider issue of Brexit, Blair said he was certain that Britain would not rejoin the EU in the coming years.

“Whether and how the UK rejoins the EU will be for a future generation. I think that’s the reality,” he told the news agencies.

Blair also said he believed a shock win could not be ruled out for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservatives, despite the party trailing the opposition Labour Party badly in the polls at present.

“In politics, you should never talk of certainties, because there aren’t any,” he said.

Labour, under leader Sir Keir Starmer, has an average 20-point lead on the center-left government after a series of scandals forced the resignation of Boris Johnson last summer while his successor Liz Truss lasted just 49 days in office.

Sunak, whose polished presentational style has been compared to Blair’s, was “repairing the damage that has been done” to the Conservative brand by his predecessors, Blair said.

mm/msh (AFP, dpa)

News Related


Monica Seles sees herself in Naomi Osaka

Naomi Osaka in action Former world No 1 Monica Seles believes that Japanese star Naomi Osaka is the player whose game resembles her own the most closely. Speaking to Chris ... Read more »

Mauricio Pochettino: Tottenham return comes with big warning as pros and cons of replacing Conte are debated

Mauricio Pochettino, press conference Tottenham have been told that re-appointing Mauricio Pochettino as their manager could be the wrong move for the good of the club, as they ponder a ... Read more »

7 ways we can help slow climate change

7 ways we can help slow climate change With the UN’s top panel of scientists warning that humanity is running out of time to prevent the worst effects of climate ... Read more »

Norway has delivered eight Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine

Norway delivers eight tanks to Ukraine – FUERZAS ARMADAS DE NORUEGA Norway has delivered eight Leopard 2 tanks to Ukraine as part of its commitment to fight the Russian invasion, ... Read more »

The world's first AI art gallery opens in Amsterdam

An AI picture created by a fictional artist. Amsterdam has opened the very first Artificial Intelligence gallery in the world, with works created by algorithms. Its owner says it’s unique ... Read more »

WATCH | Eastern Cape community tired of empty promises

WATCH | Eastern Cape community tired of empty promises JOHANNESBURG – Residents from a village in Centane, in the Eastern Cape, say the deaths of two pupils have reopened old wounds. ... Read more »

Scarred by war, young Iraqis describe the twenty years after "shock and awe"

Twenty years after the US-led invasion of Iraq, the country remains mired in corruption, political instability and violence. According to OPEC, the Organisation of Oil Exporting Countries, Iraq has the ... Read more »

WATCH: Demonstrators gather in Paris as pension reform definitively adopted

A cyclist rides past an uncollected garbage pile next to the cafe “The President” in Paris, Tuesday, March 21, 2023. Demonstrators took to the streets of the French capital on ... Read more »

Ayrton Senna: Ten iconic quotes from an all-time Formula 1 great

Ayrton Senna wins the Brazilian Grand Prix. Interlagos 1991. Ayrton Senna was not just one of Formula 1’s greatest ever drivers, he was also one of its most complex characters ... Read more »

Dreams denied. Dreams affirmed. Dreams realised/threatened

Dreams denied. Dreams affirmed. Dreams realised/threatened Nearly 60 years ago, Dr Martin Luther King, Jr delivered a speech titled I have a Dream during the march on Washington which was ... Read more »

100-year-old wins two cars in NSRI competition

Cape Town – Centenarian Lilian Mallet won big in the National Sea Rescue Institutes’ (NSRI) 2022 Four Car Competition, when she walked away with two Mitsubishi cars – the first ... Read more »

Hell Affairs – a South African was stuck in limbo for four years trying to prove her identity and citizenship

A mother of three had her ID blocked by Home Affairs – leaving her in anguish, and unable to live a normal life. Expensively obtained affidavits, letters and a DNA ... Read more »

LOOK: Three found guilty of murdering US rapper XXXTentacion

Miami, United States – A Florida jury on Monday found three young men guilty in the shooting death of the rising rap star known as XXXTentacion in 2018. The artist, ... Read more »

Natjoints says 550 protesters were arrested on Monday – 149 in Gauteng

Natjoints says 550 protesters were arrested on Monday – 149 in Gauteng More than 550 protesters were arrested and 24,300 tyres were confiscated during the EFF’s national action on Monday. ... Read more »

Russia to return Ukrainian children 'when safe', claims envoy

Children look out the window of an unheated Lviv-bound train, in Kyiv, Ukraine, Thursday, March 3, 2022. Moscow intends to return all Ukrainian children transferred to Russia when the conditions ... Read more »

The go-away stay-away, boring banks (not), buying your degree and the future of marriage.

2023_02_14_STAND_UP [email protected] Stand Up! Business 2022_07_20_PLATFORM_BADGES Apple Podcasts 2022_07_20_PLATFORM_BADGES Apple Podcasts 2022_07_20_PLATFORM_BADGES Spotify Podcasts 2022_07_20_PLATFORM_BADGES Spotify Podcasts 2022_07_20_PLATFORM_BADGES Google Podcasts 2022_07_20_PLATFORM_BADGES Google Podcasts NewsletterFooter NEWSLETTER-FOOTER Read more »

What a hoot! Proceedings halted after barn owl flies through Brakpan court roof

Court proceedings at a Gauteng court were halted after a barn owl flew into the court, sending the magistrate, court staff and members of the public into a panic. In ... Read more »

Gauteng Community Safety cautions prospective applicants against false internship programme

Johannesburg – The Gauteng Department of Community Safety has cautioned the public, particularly potential intern applicants, about a false advertisement for an internship programme misrepresented as being offered by the ... Read more »

Investigation opened after IFP councillor promises woman a job in exchange for sex

Ladysmith – The IFP-run Alfred Duma local municipality (Ladysmith) in northern KwaZulu-Natal says it has started probing one of its councillors for alleged sexual misconduct. The probe comes days after ... Read more »

Stormers announce four more coaching staff contract extensions

Cape Town – The Stormers will announce four more contract extensions among their coaches in the coming week even after attempts from outside to lure some of them away from Cape ... Read more »

Tottenham preparing shock Chelsea raid for revenge-seeking superstar if Man Utd complete £100m-plus transfer

Chelsea stars Kai Havertz Thiago Silva and Romelu Lukaku Tottenham are mulling a blockbuster Chelsea raid for a frontman who could do as good of a job as any at ... Read more »

WATCH: Kelvin van der Linde ‘devastated’ to be out of Cape Town ePrix

Cape Town – Kelvin van der Linde has had a less than ideal ePri,x as he will miss the race all together. He and his ABT Cupra team are out ... Read more »

Hawks swoop on trio 'operating illegal gold refinery' in Mpumalanga

Hawks swoop on trio ‘operating illegal gold refinery’ in Mpumalanga Acting on a tip-off a joint operation between the specialised unit, Middelburg tactical response team, Middelburg K9, the local criminal ... Read more »

A CAF Champions League berth at stake in today's Soweto Derby

Cape Town – With Mamelodi Sundowns set to make a clean sweep of all the trophies still on offer this season, a CAF Champions League berth is all that is ... Read more »

Nicola Bulley – latest: Diver who searched for missing mother ‘removed from crime expert list’

LIVE – Updated at 11:49 The private specialist who aided in the search for Nicola Bulley has been removed from the National Crime Agency’s list of experts. Peter Faulding led ... Read more »

Body believed to be that of missing fisherman found off Simon's Town Harbour

Body believed to be that of missing fisherman found off Simon’s Town Harbour A body believed to be that of a fisherman who went missing earlier in the week has ... Read more »

Shareholder bust for ‘defrauding’ company of R250m

Shareholder bust for ‘defrauding’ company of R250m Edmund Pitso Madibo, 48, appeared in the Palm Ridge specialised commercial crime court in Johannesburg on Tuesday, charged with multimillion-rand fraud. Hawks spokesperson ... Read more »

4 thirst-quenching cocktails you need to make this weekend

With all the backyard cookouts and weekend getaways, it’s prime season for cool cocktails. The four recipes below are outstanding originals that are sure to keep you happily hydrated, but ... Read more »

Bahrain test Day Three lunch report: P1 for Charles Leclerc, suspected engine problems for Alfa

Charles Leclerc leads Sergio Perez in testing. Bahrain February 2023 Charles Leclerc wrapped up his final pre-season run in the SF-23 with a P1 time while the curious case that ... Read more »

Jurgen Klopp signed new contract to oversee 'tricky' Liverpool rebuild

Liverpool — Jurgen Klopp admitted on Friday his struggling Liverpool squad need a rebuild, saying he signed a new contract last season to oversee the repair job at Anfield. Liverpool’s ... Read more »
Kênh kiến thức kỹ năng, phát triển bản thân, hướng nghiệp, blog nhân sự