Russia: Britain Involvement in Iraq Invasion Was Wrong, Illegal

Russia: Britain Involvement in Iraq Invasion Was Wrong, Illegal
Thu Jul 7, 2016 21:11:09

Russia says the damning Chilcot report on Britain’s role in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003 is consistent with Moscow’s longtime position that such military intervention in a sovereign state was “wrong and illegal.”

“Even a glance [at the report] is enough to confirm what Russia has said during many years: we called the invasion in Iraq illegal and unnecessary,” said Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova during a Thursday press briefing.

Russian Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Maria Zakharova

On Wednesday, a long-awaited formal inquiry on Britain’s participation in the 2003 invasion of Iraq found that the war was based on flawed intelligence, and that London chose to go to war before trying diplomatic options.

“We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort,” said John Chilcot, chairman of the UK’s Iraq Inquiry.

The Russian official emphasized the need for those guilty to be held to account.

“The main question remains: who and how will be held accountable for the deaths of at least 150 thousand citizens of Iraq,” she added.

In early 2003, the US, strongly backed by the US, invaded Iraq under the pretext that the regime of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. No such weapons, however, were ever found in Iraq.

More than one million Iraqis were killed as a result of the invasion, and subsequent occupation of the country, according to the California-based investigative organization Project Censored.

The invasion plunged Iraq into chaos, resulting in years of deadly violence and the rise of terrorist groups like al-Qaeda, which was a precursor of ISIS.

Shortly after the seven-year inquiry’s findings were released, the Russian embassy in London wrote on its Twitter account, “#Chilcot inquiry: No real WMD in Baghdad, unjust & highly dangerous war. The entire region on the receiving end.”

Franz Klintsevich, first deputy chairman of the defense and security committee in the upper house of Russia’s parliament, also called on London to apologize to the Iraqi nation, pay compensation and prosecute the officials behind the decision to join the invasion.

The Chilcot report said the then UK prime minister, Tony Blair, deliberately exaggerated the threats posed by the Saddam regime in an attempt to make the case for military action to the parliament and public.

It added that Blair had turned a deaf ear to warnings about the potential repercussions of such a military action, relying too heavily on his own personal beliefs.

Blair has remained defiant, saying he takes full responsibility for his action and that he would make the same decision again; however, he has expressed his “sorrow, regret and apology” for what he called failures over Iraq.

S/SH 11

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