Saturday, 30 January 2010

Tony Blair at Chilcot the Aftermath

Talk about a fizzle rather then a bang.Rather unsurprisingly the Inquiry not only let Blair off the hook but let him get on his soapbox for some last minute proselytizing from the book of Bush. It was unsurprising though really. A Government does not indict its old leader, especially when most of the cabinet where in close to the centres of power during the events in question, especially not publicly.

Madam Miaow has her own take on this farce.

And here's an account from the protest outside on the streets by Harpy Marx.

I didn't expect much from Chilcot and his colleagues but I didn't expect this:



He starts off by trying to link Iraq with 9/11 again by association. Though this clip is only a sound bite, this accusations is so false that I'm going to spend quite sometime pointing it out as some people do still believe it, and thats very dangerous for future foreign affairs.
This time he appears to imply that Iraq's weapon capabilities could be used by terrorists, Umm how exactly? ignoring the exhaustion of Iraq's military and technology -They couldn't even buy North Korean Rodong missiles- how exactly would groups like Al-Qaeda supposed to get hold of them? was Saddam going to sell them some old Scuds? thats the only possible link between Saddam and Al-Qaeda, and its not a very good one for a number of reasons. Saddam's Ba'athist regime was a Secular movement, his regime was also plague by Islamic terrorism of the Shi'a community who in response to Saddam's oppression had begun to ally with Ayatollah Khomeini and Iran, one of the reasons for Iraq's invasion of Iran in 1980 was to remove the Islamic Republics as a threat to his regimes stability. So it seems unlikely that Saddam would ally in any capacity with radicals,

Further Al-Qaeda itself is a Saudi Wahhabi branch of Islamic extremists many of the senior members including Bin Laden opposed Saddam's invasion of Kuwait and the Ba'athist movement as a threat to there interpretation of Islam.

Its true that AL-Qaeda would love to acquire much deadlier weaponry, but why would they go to an enemy with a crumbling military when they could go to Pakistan, where they have many supporters and fellow travellers in the military and intelligence services, and where their armaments program has not been curbed and where they do have nuclear weapons, which Dr Abdul Qadeer Khan has been more then generous in sharing. The only countries he hasn't tried flogging his secrets to are India, and Israel, probably has something against the letter I, a bit like the KKK and loathing for the lower case t.

And perhaps the most important reason why Saddam and Al-Qaeda wouldn't work together is that it would have no benefit to Saddam. Arming Al-Qaeda would be a direct provocation to the Americans, who remember monitor everything going in and out of the country. Al-Qaeda can't inflict lasting damage on the Americans, nor could they advance Iraq's geo-political interests. Saddam couldn't gain influence over Afghanistan Iran is in the way, all of Saddam's other enemies are also very close to the West(Saudi Arabia, Israel, Kuwait etc.) again provoking American response and so on.

"In the course of these discussions do you think you gave him any commitments?"

Oh come on, could you have phrased that any more softly? I could rest my head and fall a sleep on that sentence, unsurprisingly he rebukes that by saying that he only committed to dealing with Saddam's removal, which they don't bother questioning, Thats understandable I mean pursuing that line of questioning only has the potential to prove or disprove definitively whether Britain and America manipulated events to achieve the needed justifications for there commencement of the invasion. You'd think and Inquiry into the conduct of said conflict would be interested in finding settling that question once and for all. Its not a trial so they can't demand evidence, but at least ask, if not that then for some elaboration.

They also manage to muck up the issue of regime change (which is illegal) After he makes the claim that the UK/USA were united on dealing with Saddam, to let him divert it back onto WMD disarmament. Which if you remember Fern Britton managed to catch him out on that one. Yes Fern Britton was a tougher interviewer than Chilcot and Co.

Then there's the constant references to Iran which has many disturbing implications. I also quite like this little gem "Nobody, but NOBODY, thought that Iran would end up supporting Al-Qaeda because they both wanted to destabilise Iraq." There are two
extremely glaring flaws here. First what do you mean Nobody thought Iran would support Al-Qaeda? They aren't supporting Al-Qaeda. There supporting the Iraqi government which is headed by the Pro-Iran Islamic Dawa party which first came to prominence in Iraq as an anti Saddam insurgent group during the Iran-Iraq war. Why would it support a radical Sunni Islamist movement that has relatively little following in Iraq and is an enemy of its regime? The answer is simple it doesn't, what it does do is lead onto the second problem, Western laziness in identifying the "enemy". Time and again you will hear references to a growing number of Al-Qaeda groups all over the world, as if it is some sort of vast monolith sitting atop a global web of stockpiles and fanatics. When it isn't for example lets take a look at the most recent example, the Yemeni "Al-Qaeda" Lenin s Tomb does an excellent job of debunking this myth. In short just because your enemies share the same broadly defined religion does not make them the same organisation. If what Blair says is true and isn't just him being lazy, then this is a galling admission of the sorry state of our actual planning or lack thereof in regards to the invasion. In short if you can't even be sure who it is your actually fighting then how can you anticipate anything? like there goals and there capabilities? simple you can't. Again why didn't the inquiry pick up on this or correct him?

I could go on but really whats the point? all this did is confirm my and I suspect your suspicions of what would actually happen a white washing so Blair can move on to his trying work as an after dinner speaker once and for all.

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