The sluice gates of Western hypocrisy, self-pity and immoral moralising were opened, unleashing a deluge of the so-called experts who charge out in defence of the West whenever their political leadership have been exposed as the deceitful warmongers that they are. As such, a lot of the analyses now clogging up the internet are dubious at best, and this is perhaps best reflected by those Western-policy apologists appearing in the media in the immediate aftermath of the report’s release crying, “But we didn’t know this would happen!”. That is, quite simply, a bare-faced lie.
Iraq has been destroyed, subjected to horrors few others on this planet have ever experienced or can even imagine, and the entire country has been made into an almost contiguous warzone from north to south, east to west. Even the “New Dubai”, Erbil, that is under the authority of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) is now looking less and less viable as an investment as it cannot be separated from the rest of the war-ravaged country.
Indeed, the Chilcot Report makes it abundantly clear that the British government was warned repeatedly by subject matter experts, academics and many others prior to Tony Blair’s fateful decision to join in on the destruction of an entire nation, people and civilisation. In his 2010 autobiography, A Journey, Blair claims that Iraq’s dissent into sectarian chaos was due to al-Qaeda and Iran choosing to intervene in post-invasion Iraq. Few can argue with the logic of that argument, and even fewer would deny it (apart from Iran apologists, of course).
How on earth did his cabinet operate if they could not discover the blindingly apparent? What kind of government did Britain have at the time that was apparently so intellectually bereft that even the Foreign Office could not have easily seen this coming? The idea that the Foreign Office would not have advised Blair about the dangers of ethno-sectarian fragmentations is, of course, risible. Blair and his allies knew exactly what they were doing, and knew precisely what various actors wanted to do in Iraq.
After all, was it not in Britain and with British assistance that dozens of Iraqi groups who opposed Saddam gathered in the Hilton hotel in London in December 2002? These groups included Kurdish separatists such as Massoud Barzani and his rival Jalal Talabani, as well as well-known liars and frauds such as Ahmad Chalabi who had long established connections to the American intelligence agencies. Characters such as these are hardly going to want a stable Iraq, as they would neither benefit nor profit from a strong, united and stable Iraq.
To make matters worse, the London conference gathered the leadership of the now ruling Dawa Party, the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq (SCIRI), and many other fanatical Shia organisations and parties, all of whom had spent the past three decades or so being protected by Iran whilst they were in exile. Many of these Shia groups had conducted terrorist attacks in previous decades, especially the Dawa Party who actively took Iran’s side during the Iran-Iraq War and conducted terrorist attacks against targets in Kuwait and other countries.
It does not take a political genius to figure out that these sectarian parties and movements who have direct links to Iran and whom the West had just invited to be Iraq’s post-Saddam future would leave a wide-open backdoor for the Iranians to come in from and begin to finally spread their so-called “Islamic Revolution”, just as Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini had dreamed since 1979. Blair fulfilled the long-dead ayatollah’s dream and most fervent wish, acting like a prodigal grandson in that regard whilst having the temerity to later blame the Iranians as if he did not know what they would do.
Even before all of this occurred, in November 2002 a collection of academics and experts expressly told Blair that Iraq would be exposed to severe sectarian war and bloodshed if Saddam was removed from power. Upon meeting with these academics, Blair said; “Don’t tell me it’s going to be bad. Tell me how bad it will be”. This shows that Blair knew that Iraq was going to fall apart even before speaking to these academics, and yet chose to ignore their dark prophecies of Iraq’s future nonetheless.
We are also supposed to believe that Blair’s Britain did not know that the intelligence assessments regarding Iraq’s WMD capability was false and based on weak intelligence. This despite the fact that the dodgy dossier claiming that Saddam had a 45-minute WMD capacity was rubbished almost instantly in February 2003, one month before the invasion was launched. Most of the dossier was plagiarised and ripped verbatim from the works of several analysts, work that was academic conjecture rather than an intelligence assessment backed with the might of a state’s intelligence apparatuses.
It seems like all of the above has been repeated time and again over the years, and that is because it has. Chilcot did not teach us anything knew, did not reveal hidden truths, and did not put to rest the sense that Iraqis still do not have justice for what was inflicted upon them and their country. Instead, Chilcot reaffirmed what many of us already knew, and instead comes across as an opportunity for the West, particularly Britain, to demonstrate its self-pity for the “errors of judgment” that led to the murder of hundreds of thousands of Iraqis.
To have “experts” and “analysts” come out of the woodwork now claiming that there was no way that Britain could have foreseen the sectarian nightmare that is modern Iraq merely adds extreme insult to grievous injury. Foresight is not required when all the evidence before Blair told him everything he needed to know, and that is that to go to war with Iraq, he would have to lie.
History will now show that that is precisely what he did, and the blood of all the Iraqis killed since then is on his hands, and those of his allies.
Tallha Abdulrazaq is a researcher at the University of Exeter's Strategy and Security Institute and winner of the 2015 Al Jazeera Young Researcher Award. His research focuses on Middle Eastern security and counter-terrorism issues. Follow him on Twitter: @thewarjournal