News24

Blair could have stopped Iraq war - Annan

2012-09-29 10:06

London - Former British prime minister Tony Blair was the only person capable of turning George W Bush against the 2003 Iraq invasion, ex-United Nations chief Kofi Annan claimed in an interview published on Saturday.

Annan argued in an interview published in the Times newspaper that Blair could have changed Bush's mind because of the special relationship between the two nations and the two leaders.

Annan said he often had contemplated what might have happened if "Blair had said 'George, this is where we part company. You're on your own'," following the failure to secure a second UN resolution.

"I really think it could have stopped the war," added the Nobel peace laureate.

Annan was UN secretary general at the time of the crisis.

A first Security Council resolution, which offered Iraq a final opportunity to comply with its disarmament obligations passed unanimously in November 2002.

But a second resolution proposed by the US, Britain, and Spain in 2003 that called for action to be taken against Saddam Hussain's regime was withdrawn when it became clear it would be vetoed.

The US decided that the resolution was not needed before military action could lawfully take place, and the invasion commenced on March 20.

The invasion triggered eight years of sectarian conflict in Iraq, resulting in more than 100 000 civilian deaths.

Annan rejected suggestions that his resignation, or that of then US secretary of state Colin Powell, would have altered the course of history.

And he dismissed Archbishop Desmond Tutu's call for Bush and Blair to be put on trial at the International Criminal Court. Both had been democratically elected, he said, and were only acting in their national interests.

Annan was the UN Arab League envoy to Syria from February until August, but resigned after his peace plan failed to prevent further fighting between rebels and forces loyal to President Bashar Assad.

The diplomat told the Times that Assad had to go, arguing that the leader had lost all legitimacy.

Annan gave the interview to mark the launch of his memoirs: Interventions - a Life in War and Peace.

Comments
  • hudayfah.newman - 2012-09-29 10:43

    Over a 100 000 innocent killed? When there were out 8 innocent South Africans killed by extremists, the cries to wipe out islam was deafening. In this case, the silence is deafening.

      Savethe White O - 2012-09-29 10:50

      Out of that 100 000 innocent people killed your extremists killed how many ah all of them you cause is flawed.

      hudayfah.newman - 2012-09-29 11:10

      In english please.

      tuco.angeleyes - 2012-09-29 14:38

      You can't stop war mongers from doing what is natural.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-30 09:54

      VoxPopuli, Without any doubt, you will win this years prestigious ""CONSPIRACY AWARD"" Well done !!! (Many before you came with this BS story of saddam and that gaddafi fruitcake, but you are the first one who brings this gentleman Strauss-Kahn into this fantasy) there might even be a few more catagories, you could win, amongst them: Most Absurd comment Most Crazy comment Most Insane comment

  • luyolo.mhlauli.9 - 2012-09-29 10:50

    Acting in their national interests ??? What are these national interests that they were acting on ?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-29 11:42

      Theft!

      senzo.mathebula - 2012-09-29 11:56

      Oil

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-29 12:28

      The rules of Empire have never changed: if wealth is not handed over on demand, then brute force will be employed to take it.

      gerhard.kress.3 - 2012-09-29 12:38

      Neither the US nor Britain are dependent on other nation's oil. The US has got more reverves than the entire Middle East put together. So the continuous whining about oil wars does not stick.

  • Malose-Nyatlo - 2012-09-29 10:53

    My high regard for Kofi Annan is born out if his tenure at the helm of the UN. He always comes across as a good listener, a caring and principled leader. Even our high priest Desmond Tutu should not have misgivings about him.\r\nAt the UN, Kofi lorded over powerful states like the US and Britain, states which would do anything to protect their national interests. He lorded over rogue states as well, states like Iraq and Syria. These are states which operated death squads in their lands and held no credible elections. The little states had powerful friends that could veto crucial UN resolution.\r\nSo, the UN under Kofi was a mere resolution passing machine which had no effective authority. Was it not against this backdrop that Bush took a decision to take Saddam to task? Bush was still licking the wounds inflicted by Bin Laden and Blair had little choice but to join the Americans.\r\nBush embarassed the UN, but he took the right step!

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-29 12:20

      You call waging a war of aggression the right step. The invasion of Iraq was a war of aggression. The International Military Tribunal at Nuremberg, which followed World War II, called the waging of aggressive war "essentially an evil thing...to initiate a war of aggression...is not only an international crime; it is the supreme international crime, differing only from other war crimes in that it contains within itself the accumulated evil of the whole." A million Iraqis died. Four million are refugees. One million of them are living in Syria. Do you think international laws should be upheld or not?

  • AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-29 10:55

    Annan is a pretty useless diplomat, but with this assesment, he is spot on !!!

      GrootWitHaai - 2012-09-29 11:06

      Annan could have halted the genocide in Rwanda....did he forget about that 'little' blip on his distinguished CV?

      roger.hess.14 - 2012-09-29 12:55

      @ Anthony: I agree with your 1st point but not your 2nd based on personal experience. @ Surf: spot on, I also spent some time in Kigali and that should be more than just a little blip!

  • susan.pretorius.31 - 2012-09-29 11:01

    Yes lets blaim the British! They could have stopped the war, they could have stopped Lonmin etc etc...

  • sandytaylor11 - 2012-09-29 11:09

    'And he dismissed Archbishop Desmond Tutu's call for Bush and Blair to be put on trial at the International Criminal Court. Both had been democratically elected, he said, and were only acting in their national interests.' So on that argument, the King of Saudia Arabian can be, because of his arming of the Taliban and other murderous organisations?

      fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-29 12:17

      Hitler was also "democratically elected"! The failure of democracy to control unaccountable elites in Western countries as they go on colonial rampages, murdering people - is itself proof that the system is flawed and should play no consideration when intl law has been subverted, i.e, a war of aggression.

      roger.hess.14 - 2012-09-29 13:23

      @ Fidel: you only seem to be focused on the West. Broaden when reading your history and you'll see that the East was no better, or often worse. Ever hear of the Mongolian's?

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-29 14:58

      Fidel is the 'expert' on Western HATRED !!!

  • Savethe White O - 2012-09-29 11:22

    Time for me to get out the crayons and draw it for you

  • J.Stephen.Whiteley - 2012-09-29 11:37

    I believe Annan is right. Britain's National debt is now £1 trillion (one with twelve noughts after it). In 1997 (the year of Blair's election victory) it was less than half that - R352 billion (see the web: British National Debt). This dates from the R250 billion owing after the Great War II, mostly to the United States, in 1946. The US still buys British bonds, but if they cease doing so, the £ would plummet and import prices rocket. Sp George said to Tony: join us in this little Iraqi adventure - for old time's sake." The result was more indebtedness, apparent largely after Brown's accession in 2007. Brown himself wooed the immigrant and civil service vote with more spending. Blair had not the courage to refuse, fearing his party's defeat, and left the can to his successors, a very human failing. Brown and Straw were also to blame. I say nothing about the immorality of the invasion itself.

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-29 11:48

    Britain is the weak link in the US hegemony. Without UK endorsement to give them a figleaf i.e. Iraq , US cannot subvert international law. If the world has a problem then it originates in Washington but the road to overturning Washington's plans lies via London.... Blair had no choice or say, he was merely the Viceroy of England, as is Cameron!

  • roger.hess.14 - 2012-09-29 11:51

    Sorry; but I disagree that Blair could have changed Bush’s mind. That would have needed to come from the American Public and most (not all) were still too thirsty for payback after 9/11. Mr. Kofi Annan also doesn't make mention of the UN Effort in Iraq during that exact same time, how futile & misdirected most of it was, or how badly they underestimated the security situation in spite of multiple warnings from their own FSO’s and Senior Security Managers. I was one of many who were trying to get them to reduce their staff and warning them that our protective barriers were weak. They thought the UN would be welcomed with open arms and didn't want to listen when we explained that many of the locals viewed the UN as the “Enemy” due to all the propaganda they had been fed over that farce called the Oil for Food Program.

  • haigs - 2012-09-29 12:04

    100,000 deaths in 8 years? Wow!! Lets see,........ my calculater says thats 12,500 a year! Chickenfeed! We in South Africa are down to 14,000 from about 25,000 pa. What do you say about that Annan?........ and Tutu?

  • charmaine.mcdonald2 - 2012-09-29 12:27

    Could have, would have, it's too late now, can they bring back the dead? Have have they recompensed the children of war?

  • fidel.mgoqi - 2012-09-29 12:34

    Western countries are like a family... the USA, a serial killer of people, has a family that lives with them... they are its allies and the ICC and few other characters. The USA roams around the world killing people at its choosing, exempt from the law, because the law is in the family. On some hunts for its victims, family members, like Britain, France, Italy, Canada and others, will join them in the hunt. That's exactly who they are in the west, a family of serial killers, exempt from the law. That's all. I have to go now and spend my time on something more likely to bear fruit; teach my dog to bake a cake.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-29 12:50

      Well, to teach your dog to bake a cake, is certainly a lot more sane than talk this endless BS, on this comment site. It is doubtful you believe all this CRAP yourself, unless you are 8 years old and have fallen on your head !!!!

      sefako.mokgalaka - 2012-09-29 14:47

      Quite right Fidel the west are the worst poachers. They survive on cheating other countries of their resources. Had Zimbabwe had oil resources, they would have sent their war machines. Stuff the hake.

  • Andre - 2012-09-29 12:47

    Anan is another of the liberal humanists. Muslims world wide have killed more other Muslims than the Iraq conflict has!

  • John Peter Steyn - 2012-09-29 13:06

    Middle eastern countries need authoritarian governance. A strong hand is necessary to keep the violence under control. For all of his many many faults Sadam Husein kept the death toll amongst the Iraqi civilians to a minimum, provided that they eschewed any longings for democracy. Democracy has clearly done them no good. They can't vote anyway, if they could, they would surely vote in the Muslim brotherhood, which would not sit well with the USA.

      Shaun Daly - 2012-09-29 13:26

      @ JPS: A Shia country is going to vote for a radical Sunni party? Would that be before or after they murder all their clerics and tear down their mosques?

  • bobo.jane.1 - 2012-09-29 13:31

    I don`t want anything to do with the British....They killed 19000 or is it 32000 Whoman and childeren in SA...Just because it hapened over a decade ago does not mean we must simply forget about it. When the queen was in SA this year she conveniently just swept it under the carpet.The British are responsible for a lot of suffering and pain the world over..

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-29 15:21

      Bobo, Maybe so, but what was ALSO conveniently swept under the carpet; That the EU, are the largest investors in SA , (88 % of total investments !! ) ( GB has a large part in this ) These investments create hundreds of thousands of JOBS !!!! Western Europe, through donating hundreds of millions, if not billions , in Emergency aid EVERY YEAR, save the lives of MILLIONS, in Africa, who would otherwise have dsied through starvation or sickness!!!! The British are responsible for a lot of GOOD, the world over, and especially here in Africa !!!

      hash.jadawat - 2012-09-29 15:32

      bono I know anthony is smoking his socks.britain and america are by far the biggest BSh*ters in the world.They are the parasites of this world.

      AnthonyfromAfrica - 2012-09-29 17:41

      Hashi, That is easy for you to say ; Belly full ;fridge full ; police, one call away; doctor around the corner !!!!!! The biggest crime possible' To deny others what you have, and often without having lift a finger !!!! Shame on you !!!!

  • johan.jacobs.5680 - 2012-09-29 14:04

    And Saddam Hoesein could have been more humane.

      roger.hess.14 - 2012-09-29 23:19

      That was not in his blood,.. or his sons! All three were a terror for the grass-root style Iraqi that I came to know and befriend, unless you were part of the ruling elite that he liked. Saddam needed to die for what he did to his own people; those who feel differently need to take a trip from the South to the North and saw/feel the differences, then they wouldn't understand.

  • kumbulani - 2012-09-29 19:26

    Evil spirits listen to each other. Both bush and blair are mansons/illuminatis linked to RCC. What do we expect 4m the devilz. ICC, UN are only there for the elite nations. All nations seem to bow down to these satanic people coz they r creating situations to mislead us. Its high time we repent

  • rebecca.pooe - 2012-09-30 05:55

    Koffi i hate to say this but you could have changed history,but you want to blames the two lovers,start by blaming yourself cause you were given a magic stick but you decided not to use,because of fear of losing power

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