Global Security Newswire
Daily News on Nuclear, Biological & Chemical Weapons, Terrorism and Related Issues
Blair Faces Lashing From Iraq War Inquiry
An expert panel is set within months to publicly lambaste former British Prime Minister Tony Blair for helping to drag the United Kingdom into the Iraq War, in part by issuing erroneous assertions over weapons of mass destruction possessed by the Hussein regime, the London Daily Mail reported on Sunday (see GSN, July 15).
In a now widely discredited 2002 dossier, Blair asserted that Hussein's government had a significant WMD capability. However, no signs of active unconventional weapons programs or operational stockpiles have turned up in Iraq in the years following the U.S.-led 2003 invasion.
The panel's forthcoming assessment would criticize Blair for assuring British lawmakers that the regime's possession of weapons of mass destruction was "beyond doubt," informed insiders told the newspaper. The report would also excoriate the former leader over related matters, including his failure to publicly divulge his promise to then-U.S. President George W. Bush to militarily support the invasion.
Other targets of the analysis -- based on testimony and discussions that have taken place over more than one year -- would include former Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former Communications Director Alastair Campbell. Subjects of the criticism are expected to receive notice within weeks of the Chilcot inquiry's findings, and to be given a last opportunity to provide statements in their defense.
"We will not provide a running commentary on the inquiry," a panel representative said when asked about the report. An insider with ties to the panel referred to descriptions of the document as "speculation."
A Blair representative added: "This is a deliberate attempt to prejudge a report that hasn't even been written yet. We're not going comment until it has been published."
In testimony before the panel, the former prime minister stood by his actions and said he would still have supported Hussein's ouster (see GSN, Jan. 29, 2010; Simon Walters, London Daily Mail, July 31).
This article provides an overview of the United Kingdom’s historical and current policies relating to nuclear, chemical, biological and missile proliferation.