Tony Blair: The reason I took on secular Saddam was to fight radical Islam.
He also put the decision to go to war in Iraq in the context of a wider battle over Islam. He said: “I happen to think that there is a major struggle going on all over the world, really, which is about Islam and what is happening within Islam.” He said that this struggle had a “long way to go”.
Is he having a laugh? The decision to depose Saddam Hussein, the Baathist ruler of secular Iraq, was part of a wider global war against radical Islam? It would be funny if it wasn’t so tragic. The harsh truth is, as virtually every intelligence agency and terrorism expert on earth has confirmed, that the Iraq war exacerbated the threat from Islamist extremism; it acted as a recruiting sergeant for every Muslim terrorist group in existence. Meanwhile, every single inquiry into the Iraq war, on both sides of the Atlantic, has concluded that Saddam had no links to Osama bin Laden, al-Qaeda or the attacks of 11 September, 2001.