The former British prime minister has defended his decision to invade as he was trying to “introduce democracy”
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair has argued that the US-led invasion of Iraq was more justified than Russia’s continued military operation in Ukraine, despite all of his pre-war justifications having since proven false.
Speaking to Germany’s DPA and two other European news agencies, Blair stated that the invasion – which involved 46,000 British troops – was justified by Saddam Hussein’s internal repression and regional conflicts, and his use of chemical weapons against the Kurds.
“At least you could say we were removing a despot and trying to introduce democracy.” Blair said.
The invasion and subsequent occupation of Iraq ultimately resulted in the deaths of up to 210,000 civilians, according to the Iraq Body Count project. The country plunged into instability and became a breeding ground for jihadism, and much of northern Iraq fell under the control of Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists following the US withdrawal in 2011.
Hussein had no connection to the 9/11 attacks and claims by the US and UK that he had weapons of mass destruction in his home were nonsense. Prior to the invasion, Blair falsely claimed that Iraq possessed these weapons and was working to acquire nuclear weapons.
Blair further claimed that Ukraine, unlike Iraq, is “a country with a democratically elected president who, to my knowledge, has never initiated a regional conflict or committed acts of aggression against its neighbours.”
Former Ukrainian president Viktor Yanukovych was overthrown in a US-backed coup in 2014. His successor, Pyotr Poroshenko, then launched a military campaign against pro-Russian militias in Donbass, which killed and injured more than 2,600 civilians, according to Russian investigators. 5,500 more.
Russian President Vladimir Putin cited this violence as one of the main factors behind his decision to send troops to Ukraine last February. “The threat grew day by day. The information we received left no doubt that in February 2022 everything was ready for another bloody punitive action in Donbass. he told the Russian parliament last month.
Apart from the threat to the people of Donbass, Putin also cited NATO’s insistence on arming and transforming Ukraine into a “anti-Russia” state, the refusal of the Western bloc to negotiate a security agreement with Russia and the proliferation of neo-Nazi ideologies in Ukraine as reasons for the operation.
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