Following South African intelligence findings, Bush and Blair owe Iraq an apology

God, Spies and Lies, a new book by South African journalist John Matisson has revealed that former South African President Thabo Mbeki sent a team of experts to Iraq, about two months before the Iraq war started in 2003. Their mission was to investigate claims that Iraq had Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs), an investigation to which Iraq gave its support.

South Africa and Iraq became allies during the apartheid period, when both governments were planning on making WMDs. However, while this plan didn’t see the light of the day after the apartheid government was toppled, Thabo Mbeki took advantage of this favorable relationship after he became president to investigate America’s claims that Iraq had WMDs.

“Saddam agreed, and gave the South African team the freedom to roam unfettered throughout Iraq. They had access to UN intelligence on possible WMD sites. The US, UK and UN were kept informed of the mission and its progress…They (the experts) already knew the terrain, because they had travelled there as welcome guests of Saddam when both countries were building WMD…On their return, they reported that there were no WMDs in Iraq. They knew where the sites in Iraq had been, and what they needed to look like. But there were now none in Iraq.”

In the new book Mattison mentions that Thabo Mbeki begged both Tony Blair and George.W.Bush, leaders of UK and the USA respectively not to attack Iraq, after his team came back from the investigation and found no WMD. This report apparently did not stop the United States and its allies-UK, Poland and Australia- from waging war against Iraq. The war signaled the beginning of violence in Iraq, culminating in the ISIS carnage that has gradually become a global threat.

After the war ended, George W Bush faced severe backlash from Americans and the world when it was revealed that Iraq possessed no WMD. His chief political adviser during his time as president, Karl Rove came to his defense in 2010, saying although the war would not have occurred without the WMD claims, Bush did not “lie” the USA into war. However, Mattison’s book suggest otherwise.

The Prime Minister of UK at that time, Mr. Tony Blair came out last month to apologize. He said “I apologise for the fact that the intelligence we received was wrong”. He also apologized for “mistakes in planning” although he didn’t apologize for ousting Saddam Hussein. If the United Nations investigates these claims, it seems Bush and Blair should be tried for war crimes.

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