Britain’s role in the U.S.-led invasion and occupation of Iraq has been criticized in the long-awaited Chilcot Report that was released on Wednesday.
The report is a “late confession of crimes” by the United States and Britain, according to Egyptian analysts and expert Mohamed al-Orabi.
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“The war in Iraq, launched in 2003, wasn’t a mistake, it was a crime,” said Mohamed al-Orabi, former Egyptian foreign minister.
The British report proved the determination of both the United States and Britain to destroy Iraq, al-Orabi told Xinhua.
The report said that “policy on Iraq was made on the basis of flawed intelligence and assessments,” and that claims that Iraq posed a threat by possessing weapons of mass destruction were “presented with unjustified certainty.”
It said that the turmoil unleashed in Iraq since the invasion should have come as no surprise.
VERY LATE REPORT
Al-Orabi, who is also the head of the foreign relations committee in the current Egyptian parliament, said that the Chilcot report was released “very late” after the impossible-to-be-tackled destruction and ruin prevailed Iraq.
He added that the leaders of the Arab world, including late king Abdullah of Saudi and ousted president Hosni Mubarak of Egypt, have advised the United States and Britain not to invade Iraq, but the western powers were “too arrogant to listen.”
Gamal Salamah, politics professor at Suez University, agrees with the former foreign minister that “the report proved the ugly face of the aggression and imperialism of the United States and Britain.”
The Chilcot inquiry was launched in 2009 as British troops withdrew from Iraq, tasked with investigating the run-up to the 2003 U.S.-led invasion and the subsequent occupation.
Various surveys suggest that at least hundreds of thousands of Iraqis died during the conflict and the brutal sectarian war that followed, while 179 British soldiers also lost their lives.
The invasion was controversial at the time as it did not have explicit approval from the UN Security Council, while claims that Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction proved unfounded, Salamah added.
Tony Blair told then U.S. President George W. Bush eight months before the invasion of Iraq that “I will be with you, whatever,” and relied on flawed intelligence and unsatisfactory legal advice, the report revealed.
Blair justified his decision to back Bush and go to war alongside the United States. “I did not mislead this country. There were no lies, there was no deceit, there was no deception,” the former prime minister told reporters following the release of the report.
“Blair’s tears are of crocodiles, as he was a card in the hand of Bush administration,” the professor said.
Salamah pointed out that the report is “political and not criminal,” ruling out the possibility of sending Blair to trial.
The British parliament could only withdraw confidence from Blair, in office for 10 years until 2007, as responsible for the war decision, the professor noted.
“The report was unveiled too late, and wouldn’t change anything in Iraq,” he added, explaining the miserable country lacks political bloc, and is very busy with its domestic sectarian divisions in addition to fighting the Islamic State (IS).
LESSONS NOT LEARNED
Iraq couldn’t sue Blair, but at least could benefit from the report to ask for compensations, according to security and strategic expert and former army general Talaat Musalam.
“The invasion of Iraq led to the disturbance of the Middle East and the emergence of extremist groups such as Daesh,” Musalam added, using the Arabic acronym for the IS militant group.
“Lessons are never learned, merely repeated in dealing with the Arab region,” he lamented.
He does not believe the West will learn lessons of the report, adding all the misleading facts about Iraq war were “apparent from the beginning.”
The Arab affairs committee of the Egyptian parliament asked in a statement on Friday holding all officials responsible for Iraqi invasion, including George W. Bush and Tony Blair, as war criminals and suing them at the International Criminal Court.
“The consequences of Iraqi’s war require speedy moves by the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly to assign an international committee to sort all the political and economic losses and press the United States and Britain to pay compensations,” the statement said.
It added the heinous crimes committed in Iraq since 2003 has led to the death of more than one million, wounding and displacing millions of others. The invasion was the fire signal of the sectarian conflict and the creation of terrorist groups in the region.
“The report unveiled the Western plot to divide the Arab world and turn it into weak states to loot their wealth,” the statement said.
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