Iraq War

Hans Blix on Blair, the Chilcot report and the state of play before the Iraq war

In the months preceding the invasion, the UN inspection force that I headed had carried out some 700 inspections without finding any WMD, and in the months that followed investigators from the US came to the same conclusion. If the aim was to eradicate WMD the bloodshed, death and destruction has been meaningless. How convinced were the leaders in the US and UK of the existence of the weapons in the days and weeks before the war?

In a telephone conversation with Tony Blair on 20 February 2003, I suggested it would prove absurd if 200,000 troops were to invade Iraq and find very little. I spoke at that time after many hundreds of inspections – including dozens to sites recommended by US and UK intelligence – had yielded no evidence of a WMD programme.

Blair responded that the intelligence was clear: Saddam had revived his WMD programme. However, the French president, Jacques Chirac, had a different view. He told me and the International Atomic Energy Agency chief, Mohamed ElBaradei, that he thought there were no WMD and that the various national intelligence agencies had “intoxicated” each other when sharing information. They had. In addition, the cautionary question marks they sometimes provided had been replaced by exclamation marks at the political level.

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Corbyn shaping up to have Tony Blair investigated for war crimes

Terrorist hugging communist Jeremy Corbyn is shaping up to have Tony Blair investigated for war crimes.

Tony Blair has said it would be a “very dangerous experiment” if Jeremy Corbynor a populist politician like him were to form a government.

In an interview with the BBC, the former Labour prime minister said populist politicians, whether on the left like Corbyn or on the right, were worrying and he spent a lot of time thinking about how people in the centre should respond.

Blair famously said last summer that anyone thinking of voting for Corbyn as Labour leader because it was what their heart told them to do should “get a transplant”, but his latest comment may be his harshest yet.

Speaking to Emily Maitlis for BBC2’s This Week’s World, Blair rejected the suggestion that he was responsible for Corbyn’s emergence as a political force. He said it was “a result of the way the world works these days”.

He said: “It’s a big challenge for the centre and, when I’m not thinking about the Middle East, I’m thinking about this because I do think, by the way, it would be a very dangerous experiment for a major western country to get gripped by this type of populist policymaking left or right, a very dangerous experiment.

“I do think the centre ground needs to work out how it gets its mojo back and gets the initiative back in the political debate because otherwise these guys aren’t providing answers, not on the economy not on foreign policy.”

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As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.

Friday Firepower – Operation Phantom Fury

from The Brigade – Operation Phantom Fury (33 Photos)

This shot is from Operation Phantom Fury.

The Second Battle of Fallujah — code-names Operation Al-Fajr (Arabic, “the dawn”) and Operation Phantom Fury — was a joint U.S.-Iraqi -Britishoffensive in November and December 2004, considered the highest point of conflict in Fallujah during the Iraq War. It was led by the U.S. Marine Corps against the Iraqi insurgency stronghold in the city of Fallujah and was authorized by the U.S.-appointed Iraqi Interim Government. The U.S. military called it “some of the heaviest urban combat U.S. Marines have been involved in since the Battle of Huế City in Vietnam in 1968.”

This operation was the second major operation in Fallujah. Earlier, in April 2004, Coalition Forces fought the First Battle of Fallujah in order to capture or kill insurgent elements considered responsible for the deaths of a Blackwater Security team. When Coalition Forces (majority being U.S. Marines) fought into the center of the city, the Iraqi government requested that the city’s control be transferred to an Iraqi-run local security force, which then began stockpiling weapons and building complex defenses across the city in mid-2004. This was the bloodiest battle of the Iraq War to date, and is notable for being the first major engagement of the Iraq War fought solely against insurgents rather than the forces of the former Baathist Iraqi government.

 

Operation Phantom Fury

As much at home writing editorials as being the subject of them, Cam has won awards, including the Canon Media Award for his work on the Len Brown/Bevan Chuang story. When he’s not creating the news, he tends to be in it, with protagonists using the courts, media and social media to deliver financial as well as death threats.

They say that news is something that someone, somewhere, wants kept quiet. Cam Slater doesn’t do quiet and, as a result, he is a polarising, controversial but highly effective journalist who takes no prisoners.

He is fearless in his pursuit of a story.

Love him or loathe him, you can’t ignore him.