Blair took UK to war knowing Iraq had no WMD: Report

Public panel is examining the countrys role in invasion

Blair took UK to war knowing Iraq had no WMD: Report


Blair received intelligence that Saddam’s weapons of mass destruction had been “dismantled” 10 days before Britain invaded Iraq, the inquiry into the controversial war has been told.
The British Foreign Office did not believe Iraq had nuclear missiles, but Blair told parliament that Saddam was a threat to security in the Middle East because he still had chemical and biological weapons which could be launched at 45 minutes’ notice. The staff warned that the Iraqi dictator’s nuclear programme had been dismantled and there was no evidence he had chemical or biological weapons.

However, despite the briefings, the then Prime Minister ordered the troops to join the American-led offensive six years ago, the Daily Express reported. William Ehrman, Foreign Office director of international security at the time, said ministers were repeatedly warned intelligence on Iraq’s weapons was “patchy”.

“We did, I think on March 10, get a report that chemical weapons might have remained disassembled and Saddam hadn’t yet ordered their assembly,” Ehrman was quoted as saying by the British tabloid. “There was also a suggestion that Iraq might lack warheads capable of effective dispersal of agents,” he said.

The inquiry, billed as the most sweeping look at the conflict, is examining Britain’s involvement in Iraq, beginning with the run-up to the 2003 invasion and concluding in July 2009. Ehrman said the revelation had not made any difference to the case for war over Saddam’s refusal to give up his weapons and co-operate with United Nations inspectors.

One of the arguments used by the Blair-led Labour government to justify the war in Iraq was that WMDs could fall into the hands of terrorists.
“I certainly never felt either with Robin Cook or with Jack Straw that they didn’t understand the picture that was being given to them on intelligence,” Ehrman said.

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