Friday, January 29, 2010

From BBC News

Tony Blair is making his long-awaited appearance before the UK's inquiry into the Iraq war. Here are some of the key questions he is facing. His answers will be added during the course of the evidence session.

"If the people inspired by this religious fanaticism could have killed 30,000 they would have"
Tony Blair told the Iraq inquiry his view of perceived threats from WMD changed after 9/11.
He said he believed terrorists would use chemical and biological weapons because "if those people inspired by this religious fanaticism could have killed 30,000 they would have.
"My view was you could not take risks with this issue at all."

Mr Blair said that "containment" of Saddam Hussein's Iraq through sanctions had been "eroding", prior to the decision to invade the country.
He was explaining to the inquiry the different options available for dealing with Saddam Hussein's regime prior to 2003.

"I couldn't describe the nature of the threat in the same way if I knew then what I know now"
As UK prime minister he said that ridding Saddam Hussein of weapons of mass destruction was the reason for the war.

But in July Mr Blair told Fern Britton that it was right to get rid of Saddam and even if there had not been the WMD issue "you would have had to use and deploy different arguments about the nature of the threat".

He told the Chilcot inquiry he "did not use the words regime change in that interview", and said he meant he "couldn't describe the nature of the threat in the same way if you knew then what you know now".

Did Tony Blair tell US President George Bush at their meeting at his Crawford ranch in April 2002 that the UK would join the Americans in a war with Iraq? How firm was that commitment and was it dependent on going through the United Nations?

Mr Blair was asked about the 45 minute claim and what it referred to
The now discredited claim that Saddam Hussein could use chemical weapons within 45 minutes of giving an order was included in the September 2002 dossier.
Mr Blair was asked about the quality of evidence he received in that dossier.
He was specifically questioned about what the 45 minute claim referred to.

In his foreword to that 2002 dossier, Mr Blair said he believed what "the assessed intelligence has established beyond doubt is that Saddam has continued to produce chemical and biological weapons". But the inquiry has heard that there were a number of caveats in the intelligence. Why did he feel it was "beyond doubt"?

The question of whether or not the war was legal has been a source of long-running controversy. Tony Blair's Attorney General Lord Goldsmith told the inquiry on Wednesday he had warned the PM that regime change could not justify war. Lord Goldsmith said he changed his mind on whether a second UN resolution was needed for the war to be legal only a few weeks before the invasion. He said he was surprised the cabinet did not discuss the war's legality. He also said Mr Blair had not welcomed his advice in 2002 that an invasion would be illegal. Is this the case and, if so, why?

There have also been questions about why was it decided not to give the UN weapons inspectors more time inside Iraq in March 2003. Linked to this was the decision to pull the plug on attempts to get a second UN resolution authorising military action. Why were these decisions taken?

The inquiry has heard about failures in the planning for post-war Iraq. Confusion as to whether the US had a plan or not has been blamed by some at the inquiry. Mr Blair is also likely to be asked about criticism of him for the lack of priority given to post-war planning from people such as his former International Development Secretary Clare Short.

A number of the seats in the inquiry room have been allocated to the families of members of the British armed forces killed in Iraq. It is likely he will be asked about the numerous reports and claims in recent years about a lack of appropriate equipment for British servicemen in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Given the loss of life among British servicemen and women, their allies and the loss of life amongst Iraqis since the 2003 invasion, does Tony Blair still believe the war was justified?

No comments: