The former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, says that the Iraqi government has to be supported in beating back the insugency that has seen the terrorist group ISIS seize control of major cities.
In an essay released by his office, Blair says “it is a bizarre reading of the cauldron that is the Middle East today, to claim that but for the removal of Saddam, we would not have a crisis”.
Blair says: “… if we want the right policy for the future, we have to learn properly the lessons not just of Iraq in 2003 but of the Arab uprisings from 2011 onwards.”
The man who joined with former US President George W. Bush in a “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003 says the Middle East is “going through a huge, agonising and protracted transition”.
He says: “We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this. We haven’t. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not; and whether action or inaction is the best policy and there is a lot to be said on both sides. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it.”
Text of an essay released by the Office of Tony Blair.
Iraq, Syria and the Middle East – An essay by Tony Blair
The civil war in Syria with its attendant disintegration is having its predictable and malign effect. Iraq is now in mortal danger. The whole of the Middle East is under threat.
We will have to re-think our strategy towards Syria; support the Iraqi Government in beating back the insurgency; whilst making it clear that Iraq’s politics will have to change for any resolution of the current crisis to be sustained. Then we need a comprehensive plan for the Middle East that correctly learns the lessons of the past decade. In doing so, we should listen to and work closely with our allies across the region, whose understanding of these issues is crucial and who are prepared to work with us in fighting the root causes of this extremism which goes far beyond the crisis in Iraq or Syria. [Read more...]