by Graham Pierrepoint
Recently, One New Page reported that claims were being brought forward by an Iraqi general over the fact that Tony Blair – former British Prime Minister during the Iraq War of 2003 – may have committed war crimes. Blair remains one of the most divisive figures in Western politics, with many opposed to the conflict overseen by George W Bush in the early 00s seeing the figurehead as instrumental in a search for weapons of mass destruction that may not have existed. Further to this point, there are also claims alleged that removing Saddam Hussein from Iraq helped little in the name of democracy – but beyond this point, Tony Blair has remained a rather controversial name to bring up in British politics at the very least.
General Abdul Wahed Shannan Al Rabbat had chosen to pursue a claim against Mr Blair that he should be brought to trial for committing what he termed a ‘crime of aggression’ in leading the UK to support Bush’s invasion of Iraq almost 15 years ago. Gen Al Rabbat argued that there was genuine reason for pursuing prosecution of the former world leader – as the Chilcot Report, published last year, advised that the invasion of Iraq was undertaken under ‘unsatisfactory circumstances’ – and that Blair may have exaggerated how much of a threat Saddam Hussein was to the West.
However, the High Court has effectively blocked the General’s bid for prosecution on the grounds that such a private case had no way of winning out – referring back to the case of R v Jones in 2006, where it was determined that crimes of aggression did not exist under English jurisdiction – though it may exist overseas. The news will come as a blow to Gen Al Rabbat and to many who feel that Blair should receive more of a reprimand for his role in the conflict than the mere outcome of the Chilcot Report.
Blair has remained no stranger to frontline politics despite not having been Prime Minister for some time – he has recently weighed in on Brexit, and rumors suggesting his return to the Labour Party or politics in general were circulating until Jeremy Corbyn reclaimed seats for the party at the recent snap election. Regardless of where you stand on Blair – the actions taken during the Iraq War will continue to taint both his and Bush’s legacies.