Former PM Tony Blair will respond to the Chilcot report on the legality of the 2003 Iraq invasion by arguing the Middle East state was devastated by Iran, Al-Qaeda and a powder keg of tribal animosity unleashed by Saddam’s removal, reports suggest.
He is expected to defend the war while trying to externalize the continuing bloodshed, but not before the Chilcot Inquiry reports on July 6.
According to sources close to Blair, whose views were reported in the Guardian, the former Middle East peace envoy will try to push responsibility onto parties other than himself by using counterfactual scenarios.
Apart from suggesting the bloodshed was the fault of nefarious foreign powers, he is expected to raise the issue of what would have happened if Saddam Hussein had been left in power and insist the world is more secure because the Iraqi dictator was removed.
He will also say although there were no weapons of mass destruction (WMD) found in Iraq, despite his claims at the time, the regime still had the capacity to produce them.
He is likely to admit post-war planning was not adequate and make a series of suggestions about how the UK should behave in future conflicts.
These will include building a special crisis team reporting directly to the prime minister.
Not content with the much-delayed official Chilcot Inquiry, a number of high-profile anti-war campaigners have decided to create their own.
The People’s Chilcot Tribunal takes place between 15:00 and 19:30 BST on June 8 at the Amnesty International Human Rights Centre in London, organized by Blair’s long-time nemesis: the Stop the War Coalition (StWC).
In a statement on its website, the group blasted the “farcical terrain” into which the inquiry has moved.
“Despite a date now having been announced there are reports of new protocols being used to limit revelations in the official report,” it said.
Its own inquiry will involve Iraq War veterans, activists, MPs and the former UN envoy to Iraq, Hans von Sponeck.
StWC says its aim is “to establish who was to blame for the catastrophes of the Iraq War, including over a million deaths and millions of refugees who are still fleeing this war-ravaged country.”