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Tony Blair: Putin can’t use Iraq as justification for Ukraine – The Times of India

London: Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom Tony Blair He is brooding and defiant as he reflects on the upcoming anniversary of two events that arguably defined the power’s best and worst decade.
Monday marks 20 years since Blair joined US President George W. Bush in launching an invasion Saddam HusseinIraq, without a UN mandate and in defiance of some of the largest demonstrations Britain has ever seen.
To many of its critics, the war was revealed as a reckless adventure when no weapons of mass destruction were found, and it impeded the West’s ability to counter the rise of autocrats in Russia and China.
But Blair rejects the idea that Russian President Vladimir put it in He benefited by challenging the weak West with his own Aggression against Ukrainestarting in 2014 and extending to the full invasion last year.
“If he doesn’t use this (Iraq) excuse, he will use another,” Britain’s most successful Labor leader, now 69, said in an interview with AFP and European news agencies ANSA, DPA and FE.
Blair noted that Saddam started two regional wars, defied several UN resolutions and launched a chemical attack on his own people.
By contrast, Ukraine has a democratic government and posed no threat to its neighbors when Putin invaded.
“At least you can say we were removing a tyrant and trying to introduce democracy,” Blair said, speaking at the offices of the Tony Blair Institute for Global Change in central London.
“Now you can argue about all the consequences and so on.
“His (Putin’s) intervention in the Middle East (in Syria) was to support a tyrant and reject democracy. So we must treat all this propaganda with the disrespect it deserves.”
It can be argued that the repercussions of the Iraq war hampered Blair’s efforts as an international envoy to negotiate peace between Israel and the Palestinians, after he left office in 2007.
Through his institute, Blair maintains offices in the region and says he “remains very passionate” about promoting peace in the Middle East, even if it seems “a little too far at the moment.”
But while there can be no settlement in Ukraine until Russia realizes that “aggression is wrong,” he says the Palestinians can draw lessons from the unquestioned high point of his tenure: peace in Northern Ireland.
Under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, pro-Irish militants agreed to lay down their arms and pro-UK unionists agreed to share power, after three decades of sectarian strife that left some 3,500 dead.
Blair, then-Irish Prime Minister Bertie Ahern, and US President Bill Clinton’s envoy spent three days and nights negotiating the final phase before signing the agreement on April 10, 1998.
The region is mired in renewed political stalemate today.
But the latest agreement between Britain and the European Union to regulate post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland paved the way for US President Joe Biden to visit to mark the 25th anniversary of the deal.
Reflecting on the shift in strategy by pro-Irish hard-liners, from the bullet to the ballot box, Blair said, “It’s something I often say to the Palestinians: You have to learn from what they’ve done.”
“They changed the strategy and looked at the result,” he added, denying being biased towards Israel but merely acknowledging the truth of how to negotiate peace.
“There are a lot of things that are disputed and indisputable,” he added, going on about his tumultuous time at 10 Downing Street from 1997 to 2007.
“I suppose the only thing that is indisputable is probably the Good Friday Agreement.
“The thing more or less fell apart when I came to Belfast and we had to rewrite it and agree on it… It was probably the only really successful peace process in the last period of time, in the last 25 years.”

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