The Trial of Saddam Hussein and The Fallout of The War

The Trial of Saddam Hussein


The fallout in the Middle East from the regime change in Iraq

Friday, January 29, 2010

Blair's Fanaticism

Tony Blair has started to give evidence to the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war.

What is striking, to me at least, is that he displays the same degree of fanaticism as the terrorists he sought to fight.

"..Those of us who dealt with terrorism by the IRA [knew] their terrorism was directed towards political purposes, it was within a framework you could understand. That completely changed from that moment – Iran, Libya, North Korea, Iraq ... All of this had to be brought to an end..."

It seems to me that had the Iraq invasion been a "success", then the US and UK would have happily wandered the globe regime changing (and starting wars) at will.

I well recall Blair giving a speech a few years ago in which he said that Afghanistan had become a "crucible" in the fight against terror.

All very well, but did the people who live in that country ask for it to be turned into a crucible?

Sadly fanaticism occurs in "democracies", not just dictatorships.

Thursday, January 28, 2010


It seems that the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war is operating with at least one hand tied behind its back.

During yesterday's questioning of Lord Goldsmith (the government's attorney general at the time of the Iraq war) it emerged that the government has not sanctioned the release of documents that show how Lord Goldsmith's legal advice changed.

Neither Sir John Chilcot nor Lord Goldsmith were particularly happy that they could not refer to these secret memos.

An inquiry that is hampered in this way, will produce a result of very little substance.

That of course is exactly what Gordon Brown wanted when he sanctioned the inquiry.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The Bleedin' Obvious

Lord Goldsmith, Labour's attorney general at the time of the Iraq war, has told the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war that he believed that there was no immediate threat from Saddam Hussein that justified the use of force.

It was obvious at the time to all and sundry, even those who were not top flight lawyers, that Saddam posed no credible immediate threat.

Goldsmith then went on to say that, in his view, regime change was not a legitimate basis for the invasion.

Then why did he materially alter his legal advice in the run up to war, and perform a U turn?

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

No Legal Basis

Sir Michael Wood, the most senior legal adviser at the Foreign Office at the time of the Iraq invasion, told the Chilcot Inquiry into the Iraq war that he disagreed with the advice of Lord Goldsmith, the former attorney general, that military intervention was lawful.

In a written statement he said:

"I considered that the use of force against Iraq in March 2003 was contrary to international law."

Sir Michael also wrote to Jack Straw on January 24 2003 outlining his concerns with comments Straw made to then-US vice president Dick Cheney in Washington.

Straw told Cheney that Britain would "prefer" a second resolution, but it would be "OK" if they tried and failed to get one "a la Kosovo".

Sir Michael wrote:

"I hope there is no doubt in anyone's mind that, without a further decision of the Council, and absent extraordinary circumstances of which at present there is no sign, the UK cannot lawfully use force against Iraq to ensure compliance with its Security Council WMD resolution."

Straw rejected the advice, on the basis the international law was very vague.

The government of the day was looking for ways to justify and enact a decision that it had already been made. The alleged "vagueness" of international law gave them what they thought to be a hook onto which to hang their arguments, albeit ever so tenuous.

Chemical Ali Executed

Ali Hassan al-Majid, aka "Chemical Ali", has been executed by hanging, an Iraqi government spokesman has announced.

Monday, January 25, 2010

The Unmagic Wand

Iraqi authorities are more than a little "peeved" at finding out that they may well have been sold a British sourced bomb detector that in fact doesn't detect bombs.

The Iraqi government has formed a commission to investigate the ADE651, known as the "magic wand".

Iraq has spent $85M on the "magic wand".

Britain banned the export of the device (manufactured by the British-based ATSC Company) last week, after tests showed that it was not suitable for bomb detection.

The British police also arrested ATSC Director Jim McCormick, on suspicion of fraud by misrepresentation.