(photo credit: REUTERS)
Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair said on Sunday that he regretted the mistaken intelligence that lead to the Iraq War but had no regrets about removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq. He also came out against claims the war lead to Islamic State's rise.
Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Blair said that "I can say that I apologize for the fact that the intelligence we received [claiming that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction] was wrong because, even though he had used chemical weapons extensively against his own people, against others, the program in the form that we thought it was did not exist in the way that we thought."
Blair was not sorry, however, for taking Saddam Hussein out of power. "I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam," he said. "I think, even from today in 2015, it is better that he's not there than that he is there."
He refuted critics who say that the Iraq War lead to Islamic State's creation by noting that the more-recent Arab Spring in 2011 had a huge influence on the Middle East. "ISIS actually came to prominence from a base in Syria and not in Iraq," Blair said.
Speaking about the influence of the West in the region, he said that no method has been successful. "We have tried intervention and putting down troops in Iraq; we've tried intervention without putting in troops in Libya; and we've tried no intervention at all but demanding regime change in Syria," but they have all failed to provide a solution to unrest in the region.