News / Europe

    UK Iraq War Inquiry ‘Unblocked’ After Blair/Bush Records Deal

    LE - A still image from video shows former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (back to camera) speaking at an inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq War in central London, Jan. 21, 2011.
    LE - A still image from video shows former British Prime Minister Tony Blair (back to camera) speaking at an inquiry into Britain's role in the Iraq War in central London, Jan. 21, 2011.
    Reuters
    The long-delayed results of Britain's inquiry into the Iraq War came a step closer to publication on Thursday after a deal was reached on how to use notes and phone call records between then prime minister Tony Blair and U.S. president George W. Bush.
     
    The investigation, called the Chilcot Inquiry, was set up by former prime minister Gordon Brown to learn lessons from the 2003 U.S.-led invasion of Iraq and its aftermath. It started its work in 2009.
     
    The inquiry had hoped to deliver its verdict by the end of 2011 or in early 2012. However, five years after it was launched it has yet to report because of problems related to the release of confidential documents.
     
    On Thursday, the inquiry announced a deal had been reached between it and the British government on the disclosure of communications between Blair and Bush, previously cited as one of the big stumbling blocks to publication of its report.
     
    The inquiry's interest in their communications focuses on how open-ended Blair's support for Bush and the war was.
     
    Blair, who has repeatedly denied blocking the release of the communications, has said he stands by his actions.
     
    “Agreement has been reached on the principles that will underpin disclosure of material from Cabinet-level discussions and communications between the UK Prime Minister and the President of the United States,” the inquiry said in a statement.
     
    “Detailed consideration of material requested by the Inquiry from communications between the Prime Minister and the President of the United States has now begun. It is not yet clear how long that will take.”

    Gists and Quotes
     
    The material the inquiry has requested covers “gists and quotes” from 25 notes from Blair to Bush and more than 130 records of conversations. The inquiry is not seeking to use material that reflects Bush's views, it said.
     
    As Britain comes closer to a national election in May 2015 contested by David Cameron's Conservative party and the opposition Labor party, once led by Blair, the timing of the report's release has become increasingly politically charged.
     
    Anticipating that it could be critical of Blair and hence taint the party he led to three election victories by association, some Labor supporters are uncomfortable about the prospect of it coming out before the election.
     
    The inquiry heard from senior politicians including Blair, who appeared twice, as well as former diplomats and military commanders.
     
    When it does report, much of the focus will be on its conclusions about Blair's decision to commit 45,000 British troops to the invasion and on the legitimacy of a war in which 179 British soldiers were killed.
     
    Critics have long argued Blair deliberately misled the public over the reason he gave for war - former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein's illegal weapons of mass destruction - which were never found.

    You May Like

    South Sudan Sends First Ever Official Olympic Team to Rio

    VOA caught up with Santino Kenyi, 16, one of three athletes who will compete in this year's summer games in Brazil

    Arrest of Malawi's 'Hyena' Man Highlights Clash of Ritual, Health and Women's Rights

    Ritual practice of deflowering young girls is blamed for spreading deadly AIDS virus

    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    VOA finds things Americans take for granted are special to foreigners

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Processi
    X
    Katherine Gypson
    July 27, 2016 6:21 PM
    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video A Life of Fighting Back: Hillary Clinton Shatters Glass Ceiling

    Hillary Clinton made history Thursday, overcoming personal and political setbacks to become the first woman to win the presidential nomination of a major U.S. political party. If she wins in November, she will go from “first lady” to U.S. Senator from New York, to Secretary of State, to “Madam President.” Polls show Clinton is both beloved and despised. White House Correspondent Cindy Saine takes a look at the life of the woman both supporters and detractors agree is a fighter for the ages.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video First Time Delegate’s First Day Frustrations

    With thousands of people filling the streets of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for the 2016 Democratic National Convention, VOA’s Kane Farabaugh narrowed in on one delegate as she made her first trip to a national party convention. It was a day that was anything but routine for this United States military veteran.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
    Video

    Video Recycling Lifeline for Lebanon’s Last Glassblowers

    In a small Lebanese coastal town, one family is preserving a craft that stretches back millennia. The art of glass blowing was developed by Phoenicians in the region, and the Khalifehs say they are the only ones keeping the skill alive in Lebanon. But despite teaming up with an eco-entrepreneur and receiving an unexpected boost from the country’s recent trash crisis the future remains uncertain. John Owens reports from Sarafand.
    Video

    Video Migrants Continue to Risk Lives Crossing US Border from Mexico

    In his speech Thursday before the Republican National Convention, the party’s presidential candidate, Donald Trump, reiterated his proposal to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border if elected. Polls show a large percentage of Americans support better control of the nation's southwestern border, but as VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from the border town of Nogales in the Mexican state of Sonora, the situation faced by people trying to cross the border is already daunting.
    Video

    Video In State of Emergency, Turkey’s Erdogan Focuses on Spiritual Movement

    The state of emergency that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has declared is giving him even more power to expand a purge that has seen an estimated 60,000 people either arrested or suspended from their jobs. VOA Europe correspondent Luis Ramirez reports from Istanbul.
    Video

    Video Calm the Waters: US Doubles Down Diplomatic Efforts in ASEAN Meetings

    The United States is redoubling diplomatic efforts and looking to upcoming regional meetings to calm the waters after an international tribunal invalidated the legal basis of Beijing's extensive claims in the South China Sea. VOA State Department correspondent Nike Ching has the story.
    Video

    Video Scientists in Poland Race to Save Honeybees

    Honeybees are in danger worldwide. Causes of what's known as colony collapse disorder range from pesticides and loss of habitat to infections. But scientists in Poland say they are on track to finding a cure for one of the diseases. VOA’s George Putic reports.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora