Wednesday, February 20, 2008

The Iraq diplomacy revisited

(26 Nov 2007) Tony Blair on the aftermath of the terrorist attacks in the US: in 2001, "I spoke to President Khatami of Iran...from the aeroplane. ... Iran at that point was prepared to be part of this."

Blair on Iraq, April 2002: "My view was always that if you built a strong enough international coalition, then it was possible to avoid military action. It was even possible actually either to get rid of the regime or change its nature fundamentally if the international community stayed together."
Sept. 2002, John Bolton: going to the UN was a waste of time.

Jan 2003: "It became more important for the French, Germans and Russians to stop the superpower taking unilateral action than to deal with Saddam's defiance of the UN Security Council." (Sir Jeremy Greenstock)  
20 Feb, Blix 'phoned Blair: "he believed that, in any event, it was important to avoid conflict and I  used to keep saying to him, look, that isn't... your job is to just tell us the facts."
On Chirac's "whatever the circumstances" interview on 10 Mar, Sir Stephen Wall recounts a Labour MP saying to him, "Chirac didn't say what your guys are saying he said". Greenstock admitted that his statement "was not a glorious moment" (Cf. Kampfner, p287,  Iraq sources).
Sir David Manning, "I felt that the endgame was rushed... I  think if the inspections had been allowed to run into the summer, then perhaps you would have got a new dynamic among the key players..." Blair, "I think if we'd got a second resolution, you would have opened up that whole possibility, but you were never realistically going to get that."
(The Blair Years Part 2, BBC, 25 Nov 2007)

(9 Dec) Part 3. Although Blair had in David Aaronovitch an interviewer who is known to be generally sympathetic to his position, the overall editorial tone reflected what might be called the consensus view of the British media. One example from the voice-over may suffice: "When in 2006 ... Israel unleashed a ferocious military onslaught on Lebanon in retaliation, they said, for rocket attacks by Hezbollah." the capture of their soldiers


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