22:46 GMT +314 November 2019
Listen Live
    The Houses of Parliament seen from the Royal Festival Hall, in London, Britain June 24, 2016.

    Ultimate Price: Britain Paid 'Blood Tax' for Following US Foreign Policy

    © REUTERS / Rob Stothard/Pool
    Politics
    Get short URL
    Chilcot Report on UK Role in 2003 Iraq Invasion (55)
    0 234
    Subscribe

    Although the Chilcot report on the UK's involvement in the 2003 US-led invasion of Iraq did not contain any major revelations, it has served both as a wakeup call for the Brits and a "nail in the coffin" of London's foreign policy course that in the last 25 years was largely charted overseas, defense analyst Vladislav Shurygin told Radio Sputnik.

    The US and its allies launched a military operation against Iraq's late strongman Saddam Hussein on March 20. It took Washington less than a year to determine that the Iraqi leadership did not possess weapons of mass destruction and, hence, did not pose a threat.

    Yet Britain's disappointment with a foreign policy course that London has pursued for more than two decades (and the campaign against Iraq was part of it) has surfaced recently, the analyst said.

    During this period "Britain lost its foreign policy self-dependence and chose to follow Washington's lead, hoping to receive benefits," Shurygin observed. "It turned out that [Great Britain] only paid a 'blood tax' for these years and the Brits essentially received nothing in return."

    The long-awaited inquiry, led by Sir John Chilcot, found that then British Prime Minister Tony Blair made a decision to invade Iraq by exaggerating the threat that the country under Hussein posed to its neighbors and beyond at a time when all diplomatic means of resolving the issue had not been exhausted.

    An Iraqi soldier is seen near an Iraqi Army tank, which was destroyed in the US-led invasion, in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 9, 2009
    © AP Photo / Nabil al-Jurani
    An Iraqi soldier is seen near an Iraqi Army tank, which was destroyed in the US-led invasion, in Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, 550 kilometers (340 miles) southeast of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, April 9, 2009

    In addition, the entire Iraq policy was based on flawed intelligence and assessments. Moreover, the British military was ill-prepared and ill-equipped for the war and the post-conflict phase. The British troops were supposed to secure the Iraqi city of Basra and its surrounding areas reach in oil, but were forced instead to reach an agreement with a powerful local militia. Sir Chilcot referred to this as a "humiliating" experience.

    In this context, the Chilcot report, unveiled on July 6, has affirmed what has been known for a long time. "It is a kind of a 'nail in the coffin' of the policies that Britain carried out," Shurygin observed. "This is why this report will surely have implications."

    The analyst suggested that London could try to distance itself from Washington. The British government will try to play an increasingly independent foreign policy role in a bid to revive the spirit of the British Empire. Needless to say, the United States will not be happy about it.

    Washington "is capable of influencing Great Britain, but I would not overestimate this leverage, since it's mostly economic. And such type of pressure on Britain is risky, because regardless of the way one looks at it, it would still be pressure on [Washington's] key ally," he observed.

    Shurygin further noted that US leadership will try to "rebuild Britain's trust" in Washington through isolated "surgical" measures.

    Political analyst Aziz Jaber Shayal also told Sputnik that Britain's foreign policy will undergo a major review. In the wake of the report, the UK "will not be able to take part in unjust wars," he said. This will also be a lesson for other nations that invasions have repercussions.

    Topic:
    Chilcot Report on UK Role in 2003 Iraq Invasion (55)

    Related:

    Chilcot Report Kills Myth of UK Influence on Washington - Ex-US Diplomat
    Chilcot Report Reveals US, UK Invade Nations in Old Colonial Way
    Chilcot Tells Brits What They Already Knew About Blair and Iraq
    Blair 'Almost Semi-Broken' in Wake of Iraq, Libya Legacies
    Tags:
    foreign policy, US foreign policy, Chilcot report, Iraq War, Iraq, United States, Great Britain
    Community standardsDiscussion
    Comment via FacebookComment via Sputnik