Speed Reads

Crisis in Iraq

Tony Blair: Don't blame Iraq's woes on the 2003 invasion

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is pushing back against critics who contend the 2003 invasion of Iraq destabilized the nation and precipitated its nascent crisis.

In an open letter published on his website, Blair says it is "bizarre" to claim the U.S. and British-led invasion contributed to the growth of violent Sunni sentiment in the country.

The reality is that the whole of the Middle East and beyond is going through a huge, agonising and protracted transition. We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that 'we' have caused this. We haven't. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not; and whether action or inaction is the best policy and there is a lot to be said on both sides. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it. [Tony Blair]

In subsequent interviews, Blair also called on the West to consider intervening more forcefully in he Middle East, saying it is "vitally important that we realize what is at stake here and act."