Monday, March 11, 2013

Iraq war: the key players in the march to war

In the weeks before the invasion of Iraq fierce arguments raged over the question of Saddam Hussein’s ability to acquire and unleash Weapons of Mass Destruction and what the West should do to neutralise the threat. We look at the key players in the march to war.

Smoke over Baghdad
Thick smoke rises skywards as a US Apache helicopter hovers over Baghdad's restive Haifa street district.
Alastair Campbell
Tony Blair’s director of communications
Played crucial role in formulating arguments for war against Saddam, overseeing preparation and release of two documents arguing dictator building up Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and was danger to Britain.
The September Dossier, published September 2002, and February 2003’s Iraq Dossier, nicknamed the Dodgy Dossier, criticised by opponents of the war as exaggerating or distorting actual findings of intelligence services, particularly claim that Saddam had WMDs deployable within 45 minutes.

Campbell admitted to Iraq inquiry part of the September dossier “could have been clearer”, but denied it misrepresented Iraq’s threat. Resigned as director of communications August 2003, during Hutton Inquiry into death of Dr David Kelly, the scientist who believed the Government exaggerated Iraqi threat.
Campbell went on to publish diary of his years inside Number 10 and established himself as successful public speaker, appearing on several TV shows, including Question Time, Top Gear, Have I Got News for You and Panorama.
Of invasion, he told Iraq inquiry: “I think that Britain, far from beating ourselves up about this, should be really proud of the role that we played in changing Iraq from what it was to what it is now becoming.”

Sir John Scarlett

Chairman of the Cabinet Office Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC)
Career spy, recruited to MI6 after leaving Cambridge. Criticised for allowing Alastair Campbell to influence content of September dossier.
Butler review of 2004 concluded that intelligence used to justify the war was unreliable and criticised Secret Intelligence Service (SIS), for leaning heavily on third-hand accounts and Iraqi dissident sources. However, it stated explicitly Sir John should not be forced to resign.
Sir John denied claims intelligence had been consciously manipulated, but did state that Mr Blair’s foreword to dossier – which claimed intelligence service had “established beyond doubt” Saddam had WMDs – was “overtly political” and “quite separate” to rest of document.
Also admitted claim Saddam could fire chemical weapons in 45 minutes was “lost in translation”, as it did not make clear it referred to battlefield munitions not weapons such as missiles.
After war served as head of SIS from 2004 to 2009. In 2011 appointed to board of Times Newspapers and hired as strategic adviser for Statoil, Norwegian petroleum giant granted exploration rights in oilfields near Iraqi city of Basra. Also sits on advisory board of Chertoff Group, risk-management and security consulting company founded by Michael Chertoff, US Secretary for Homeland Security from 2005 to 2009.

Jack Straw

Foreign Secretary
Became Foreign Secretary just months before September 11 attacks and in November 2002 helped negotiate UN resolution giving Saddam “final opportunity” to disarm.
Despite failing to get second resolution explicitly authorising military action, Mr Straw argued Saddam had failed to comply with initial resolution ordering him to cooperate with inspectors and provide full disclosure of weapons capability.
Later admitted to the Iraq inquiry that '45-minute’ claim about Saddam Hussein’s weapons capability “haunted us ever since”.
Retired from front bench politics August 2010. Following year appointed £30,000 a year consultant to E. D. & F. Man Holdings, a British commodities company. Also appointed visiting professor to University College London School of Public Policy
Write in his memoir Last Man Standing, published last year (2012): “I made my choice to support the war on the best available evidence. I do not back away from it now. As for the outcome, democracy in Iraq is, I admit, taking a long time to achieve. But the reality — however inconvenient it may be to those who opposed the war — is that Iraq is a better place now than it was under Saddam.”

David Kelly

Biological warfare expert and UN weapons inspector
Scientist and expert on biological warfare employed by MoD. Had been a UN weapons inspector in Iraq and sceptical about British government’s insistence Saddam Hussein had developed WMD, particularly '45-minute’ claim.
After his name leaked by MoD as source for report by Andrew Gilligan, then a BBC journalist, about government’s dossier on Saddam’s WMD, Kelly called to appear before parliamentary foreign affairs committee. Questioned aggressively by committee about which journalists he had spoken to. Two days later found dead on Harrowdown Hill, in Oxfordshire.
Hutton Inquiry concluded Kelly had committed suicide. But doubts raised over true cause of death, with some even claiming he had been murdered. In October 2010, sealed post mortem made public by new government. Report confirmed all findings of Hutton Report.
Group of doctors which investigating death of Dr Kelly wrote to Chief Coroner last month (Feb) calling for inquest to be resumed and suicide verdict re-examined.

Lord Goldsmith

Attorney General
His advice to Tony Blair over whether invasion of Iraq would be legal proved controversial from outset.
His original memo to PM on 30 January 2003, stated that UN Resolution 1441 did not sanction use of force and that further resolution needed. Subsequent memo, on 7 March 2003, concluded “reasonable case can be made that resolution 1441 is capable in principle of reviving the authorisation [of the use of force] in Resolution 678 without a further resolution.”
In his final advice, on 17 March 2003 – two days before outbreak of war (March 19) – stated more clearly that use of force would be legal. This led to claims he had bowed to political pressure to find legal justification for invasion.
Admitted to Iraq inquiry he had changed view on the legality of war, but said “complete nonsense” to claim he did so because of political pressure.
Stepped down as Attorney General same day Blair left No. 10. Became head of European litigation at London office of Debevoise & Plimpton on reported salary of £1m a year. In August 2008 appointed independent non-executive director of Westfield Group, an Australian property trust.

Donald Rumsfeld

US Secretary of Defence
Within hours of the September 11 attacks he put US on path to war with Saddam, instructing officials to look for evidence of Iraqi involvement.
There was none, but following destruction of al Qaeda bases and ousting of the Taliban in Afghanistan, he conceived lighting invasion of Iraq by smaller number of troops than envisaged by Pentagon’s planners.
Rapid overthrow of Saddam appeared to justify the plan, but chaos that followed – with looting and collapse of civilian infrastructure giving way to bloody sectarian terror – left Rumsfeld open to criticism he had failed to plan for post-invasion and reconstruction.
Of the chaotic aftermath he said: “Stuff happens ... and it’s untidy and freedom’s untidy, and free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes and do bad things. They’re also free to live their lives and do wonderful things. And that’s what’s going to happen here.”
Resigned as Defence Secretary in 2006, after Democrats won control of House and Senate. Published memoirs, Known and Unknown, in 2011, donating proceeds to veterans groups, and set up foundation, giving grants to individuals from private sector who wanted to serve in government.

Condoleezza Rice

US national security adviser
National security adviser at time of September 11. Denied ignoring CIA warnings of increased terrorist activity in months before the attacks.
Strong supporter of invasion of Iraq on grounds Saddam had WMDs, but their absence left her open to charges of distortion and deliberate scaremongering.
Also defended invasion of Iraq despite Saddam having no role in September 11, stating that “Saddam Hussein’s Iraq was a part of the Middle East that was festering and unstable, [and] was part of the circumstances that created the problem on September 11.”
Mooted as running mate for John McCain in 2008 presidential election before Sarah Palin chosen. In March 2009 returned to academia as political science professor, becoming director of Stanford University’s Global Center for Business and the Economy. Appeared as herself in 2011 on the sitcom 30 Rock

Colin Powell

US Secretary of State
Respected Vietnam veteran, four-star general and first African American to serve as secretary of state. Criticised for his role in building case for invasion of Iraq. Initially opposed to forcible overthrow of Saddam, preferring policy of containment. Eventually agreed to go along with Bush administration’s determination to oust Saddam.
Told UN Security Council on February 5, 2003, “there can be no doubt that Saddam Hussein has biological weapons and the capability to rapidly produce more, many more” and “no doubt in my mind” that Saddam working to obtain key components to produce nuclear weapons.
But Iraq Survey Group concluded the evidence Powell offered to support claim Iraq had WMDs was inaccurate. Later described UN speech as “blot” on his record.
Moderate Republican. Initially supported John McCain’s run for president but later endorsed Obama as a “transformational figure”. Expressed support for legalisation of same-sex marriage.

Hans Blix

Executive chairman of the United Nations Monitoring, Verification and Inspection Commission
Served as director general of International Atomic Agency between 1981 and 1997. Called out of retirement by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan to lead monitoring team charged with ensuring Saddam did not rearm with WMDs.
But his findings were at odds with pronouncements of Bush and Blair administrations, who insisted Saddam had WMDs.
Speaking a year after the invasion Mr Blix said: “There were about 700 inspections, and in no case did we find weapons of mass destruction.”
Chairman since 2003 of Stockholm-based Weapons of Mass Destruction Commission (WMDC), an independent body funded by the Swedish government. Also appointed the chairman of a panel of advisers who will oversee establishment of UAE’s atomic energy programme.

No comments:

Post a Comment