FORMER British Prime Minister Tony Blair has said he’s sorry for “mistakes” made in the US that led to Iraq’s invasion in 2003, but has no regret in bringing down dictator Saddam Hussein.
In an exclusive interview with CNN’s Fareed Zakaria GPS, Blair said: “I can say that I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong because, even though he had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the programme in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought.”
Blair referred to claims that Saddam’s regime possessed mass destruction weapons used by the US and British governments to defend the Iraqi invasion.
In the former prime minister’s statement, Blair said: “I find it hard to apologise for removing Saddam. I think, even from today in 2015, it is better that he’s not there than that he is there.”
Blair admitted to some responsibility in the rise of ISIS: “Of course, you can’t say that those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015. But it’s important also to realise, one, that the Arab Spring which began in 2011 would also have had its impact on Iraq today, and two, ISIS actually came to prominence from a base in Syria and not in Iraq,” he added.
When Zakaria asked him how he felt about being branded a ‘war criminal’ for decisions made about the Iraq War, Blair said: “Now, whether it’s right or not… everyone can have their judgment about that.”