Criticism of his decision to invade Iraq in 2003 has “destabilized” Tony Blair, yet he is expected to come out “all guns blazing” when Sir John Chilcot publishes his long-delayed Iraq War Report on July 6, according to a close ally.
The anonymous friend told the Sunday Times Blair is expecting the worst and is already consulting his former advisors on how to respond to the report, which will be published next month.
“Iraq has affected him a lot. It has made him into a defensive, awkward, self-conscious individual who feels destabilized by it,” the ally said.
However, the same source said he would come out “all guns blazing” in response to the report, probably with a public address of some kind.
It was also suggested he may be considering a reiteration of his apology for Iraq. He had previously made a limited apology, but said he does not regret deposing Saddam Hussein.
Despite his own key role in ‘sexing-up’ the ‘dodgy dossier’ on Iraq’s WMDs before the disastrous 2003 war, Tony Blair’s communications guru Alistair Campbell is believed to have escaped serious criticism in the forthcoming Chilcot report.
Instead, sources claim, the most serious criticism will be reserved for Blair and other major players in the march to war in 2003.
Close allies of the Blairite inner circle are reportedly referring to the development as the “the Campbell whitewash,” the Times reports.
Unlike the other main players in the inquiry, the strategic communication guru had not received a letter of censure like many other leading figures.
“Campbell has not had a letter. He is in the clear,” the source told the paper.
Despite his role in creating the dossier, which wrongly claimed the Iraqi regime of Saddam Hussein could launch a WMD attack on the UK within 45 minutes, the source said “he was in some ways a bit player in this.”
More serious will be the criticism of the top spies of the era.
“Those who were directly responsible were the heads of the agencies who allowed him to ‘sex up’ the ‘dodgy dossier’ and of course the prime minister for whom he was working,” the source said.
“Press officers are not supposed to be key policymakers, even though they sometimes are.”
Another anonymous source said the panel, led by Chilcot, saw “Campbell as a sideshow.”