Bears 'Total Responsibility' For Isis, Says Academic
Who Advised Him On Iraq
By Mehdi Hasan
There is "absolutely" a link between the invasion of
Iraq and the rise of terror group
Isis, for which
Tony Blair bears "total responsibility", says a
leading academic who advised the then prime minister
in the run-up to the war.
exclusively to The Huffington Post UK,
Professor George Joffe of Cambridge University
said Tony Blair had a "shallow mind" and had refused
to heed his warnings of post-war chaos and
sectarianism in Iraq.
2002, Joffe was one of three Iraq experts invited
into Downing Street to brief Blair on the potential
fallout from an Anglo-American attack on Baghdad.
not allowed to talk about whether or not it was a
good idea to invade, but only about what the
aftermath would be," he told HuffPost UK, adding:
"It was clear that the decision had already been
made.. to invade Iraq”.
Blair wasn't interested in listening. In response to
warnings from the Cambridge academic and the two
other Iraq experts, Dr Toby Dodge and Dr Charles
Tripp, that the country could descend into civil war
and a Sunni-led insurgency, Blair merely responded,
in reference to Saddam Hussein, "But the man's evil,
to Joffe, Blair "personalised" the whole issue in
the form of Hussein and thus "the whole structure of
Iraq was utterly irrelevant.. It was very
Blair denied he was to blame for the Isis takeover
of huge swathes of Iraq, including the country's
second biggest city, Mosul. He
wrote on his website: "We have to liberate
ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused
this. We haven't." In a
later interview with BBC1's Andrew Marr show,
the former prime minister would only admit to having
“underestimated” the "depth and the complexity of
he told Blair in Downing Street in 2002 that if he
was going to invade Iraq he "had to be aware that
you might remove Saddam but you left behind a whole
structure of power.. of people who would resent
being displaced, disadvantaged and would react."
recalls, "was completely uninterested in any of
these complexities... he said virtually nothing for
an hour and a half [and] we had the sense we were
talking to a stone wall."
Asked if a
line could be drawn between the decision to invade
and occupy Iraq in March 2003 and the
current Isis-led insurgency against the Nouri
al-Maliki government in Baghdad, Joffe replied:
Blair and George W. Bush bear "total responsibility"
for the current situation, including the disastrous
decision to disband the Iraqi army in May 2003.
prime minister's most recent comments, Joffe added,
"show an inability to understand politics and
geopolitics. They're shameful."