Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has on his website this weekend a new essay bashing the notion that the war to remove Saddam Hussein was the cause of the madness currently engulfing the nation at the hands of ISIS. He also admonishes the Obama policies that fail to recognize the real problems, and that give up too soon on real solutions.
“The civil war in Syria with its attendant disintegration is having its predictable and malign effect. Iraq is now in mortal danger. The whole of the Middle East is under threat,” says Blair, setting the very grave tone any assessment of the current situation must necessarily adopt. He goes on:
“It is inevitable that events in Mosul have led to a re-run of the arguments over the decision to remove Saddam Hussein in 2003. The key question obviously is what to do now. But because some of the commentary has gone immediately to claim that but for that decision, Iraq would not be facing this challenge; or even more extraordinary, implying that but for the decision, the Middle East would be at peace right now; it is necessary that certain points are made forcefully before putting forward a solution to what is happening now.”
This setup leads into a brief history of the conflict in Syria as well as an exploration of the hypothetical state of affairs were Saddam Hussein still in power. His conclusion is that, inevitably, the situation today would be exactly as dire, with ISIS undertaking the same action, even had Saddam remained in power. Indeed, he suggests the situation might even be worse. He therefore concludes:
So it is a bizarre reading of the cauldron that is the Middle East today, to claim that but for the removal of Saddam, we would not have a crisis.
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