An explosive secret letter that exposes how Tony Blair lied over the legality of the Iraq War can be revealed.
The Chilcot Inquiry into the war will interrogate the former Prime Minister over the devastating ‘smoking gun’ memo, which warned him in the starkest terms the war was illegal.
The Mail on Sunday can disclose that Attorney General Lord Goldsmith wrote the letter to Mr Blair in July 2002 – a full eight months before the war – telling him that deposing Saddam Hussein was a blatant breach of international law.
It was intended to make Mr Blair call off the invasion, but he ignored it. Instead, a panicking Mr Blair issued instructions to gag Lord Goldsmith, banned him from attending Cabinet meetings and ordered a cover-up to stop the public finding out.
He even concealed the bombshell information from his own Cabinet, fearing it would spark an anti-war revolt. The only people he told were a handful of cronies who were sworn to secrecy. [continued...]
The United States was “hell bent” on a 2003 military invasion of Iraq and actively undermined efforts by Britain to win international authorization for the war, a former British diplomat told an inquiry Friday.
Jeremy Greenstock, British ambassador to the United Nations from 1998 to 2003, said that President George W. Bush had no real interest in attempts to agree on a U.N. resolution to provide explicit backing for the conflict.
The ex-diplomat, who served as Britain’s envoy in Iraq after the invasion, said serious preparations for the war had begun in early 2002 and took on an unstoppable momentum. [continued...]
Turkey’s economy has more than doubled in the past decade, converting the nation from a backwater to a regional powerhouse. At the same time, its financial focus has moved closer to home: Turkey now conducts more trade with Russia, Iraq, and Iran than it does with the EU. Energy politics have also favored the Turks, who find themselves astride no fewer than three competing energy supply routes to Europe—from Russia, from the Caspian, and from Iran. Years of reform and stability are paying off as well. Ankara is on the verge of a historic deal with its Kurdish minority to end an insurgency that has left 35,000 dead in the past quarter century. In turn, Turkey is making peace with neighboring countries that once supported the insurgents, such as Syria, Iran, and Armenia. The principle is simple, says a senior Erdogan aide who’s not authorized to speak on the record: “We can’t be prosperous if we live in a poor neighborhood. We can’t be secure if we live in a violent one.”
The advantages keep compounding. Thanks to judicious diplomacy and expanding business ties throughout the region, Turkey is close to realizing what Davutoglu calls his “zero-problems-with-neighbors policy.” The new stance has boosted Ankara’s influence even further; the Turks have become the trouble-ridden region’s mediators of choice, called in to help with disputes between the Palestinian factions Hamas and Fatah, between Iraq and Syria—even, before Erdogan’s outburst in Davos, between Israel and Syria. Speaking at a recent press conference in Rome, Erdogan expressed little hope that Turkey could do more for Syria and Israel. “[Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu doesn’t trust us,” he said. “That’s his choice.” But others in the region still welcome Ankara’s assistance: Turkish diplomats are excellently trained in conflict resolution. [continued...]