Blair could have pulled troops back on brink of 2003 invasion of Iraq: Straw

Thursday, February 3, 2011

LONDON - Former British Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs Jack Straw has revealed that former Prime Minister Tony Blair could have pulled troops back on brink of the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

Straw told the Chilcot Inquiry that if Saddam Hussein had complied with United Nations weapons inspectors there would not have been a war.

“I was anxious that we should explore all alternatives. I made that point to the PM on more than one occasion,” the Daily Mirror quoted Straw, as saying.

“The point that we were trying to get across to Saddam [Hussein] was that he had every opportunity to comply with the United Nations obligations without his regime having to be changed,” he added.

Straw, who was Britain’s Foreign Secretary from 2001 until 2006, made the statement on the last day of public hearings of the Chilcot Inquiry.

He also told the war inquiry that regime change was not the United Kingdom’s policy ahead of the invasion.

“The view I have expressed publicly is the same as the views I expressed privately, that regime change was not a good idea for us to pursue as an objective, and in any event it was palpably illegal so it was not an option,” Straw said.

The Chilcot inquiry, chaired by Sir John Chilcot, was announced by Blair’s successor, Gordon Brown, in June 2009 after the remnants of the British military presence finally left Basra amid continuing controversy over the country’s role in the Iraq invasion. (ANI)

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