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Tony Blair concedes link between Islamic State and Iraq War

Tony Blair has apologised for mistakes during the Iraq War – and said there were “elements of truth” to claims it caused the rise of Islamic State.The ex-PM said “those of us who removed Saddam” did bear some responsibility for the situation in Iraq today.But he again defended the invasion, saying it was “hard to apologise” for removing Saddam Hussein and that Iraq might have become like Syria otherwise. Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said it was a “Blair spin operation”.

Mr Blair’s comments come shortly before Sir John Chilcot announces a timetable for completion of his inquiry into the war.

The Mail on Sunday described the interview as an “astonishing” apology, but a spokesman for the former prime minister said there was nothing new in his words.

BBC political correspondent Iain Watson said any apologies from Mr Blair were strictly limited.
‘Planning mistakes’

In an interview – which is yet to be broadcast – with US news channel CNN, Mr Blair said even if his policy in Iraq did not work, subsequent policies had worked no better.

He believed it was better that Saddam Hussein was no longer in power and suggested that if the Iraq invasion had not taken place there was a danger the country would have degenerated into civil war, as Syria did.

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