Tony Blair: Sorry for Iraq war "mistakes" and admits conflict's role in rise of Islamic State

 
Lynsey Barber
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Tony Blair (Source: Getty)

Former Prime Minister Tony Blair has apologised for "mistakes" made during the Iraq war but said he was not sorry for toppling Saddam Hussein despite admitting there are "elements of truth" to the view that the war is connected to the rise of Islamic State (IS).

Speaking in an interview with CNN which is due to be broadcast today, Blair said: "I can say that I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received 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."

He also said he was sorry "for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime".

When asked if the Iraq invasion was connected to the rise of IS by interviewer Fareed Zakaria, Blair said:

"Of course, you can't say that those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015. But it's important also to realise, one, that the Arab Spring which began in 2011 would also have had its impact on Iraq today, and two, IS actually came to prominence from a base in Syria and not in Iraq."

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