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Profile: Tony Blair

 
  

Positions that Tony Blair has held:

  • British Prime Minister


 

Quotes

 
  

Quote, September 2002

   “We know that Saddam has been trying to buy significant quantities of uranium from Africa, although we do not know whether he has been successful.” [Independent, 6/5/03, British House of Commons, 9/24/03]

Associated Events

Quote, summer 2003

   “We only need to look at the report from the International Atomic Energy Agency showing what has been going on at the former nuclear weapons site to realize” the seriousness of the threat posed by Saddam Hussein [MSNBC 9/7/02, Guardian 9/9/02]

Associated Events


 

Relations

 
  

No related entities for this entity.


 

Tony Blair actively participated in the following events:

 
  

September 20, 2001      Complete Iraq timeline

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair meets with President George Bush at the White House. During dinner that night, also attended by Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice, and British ambassador Sir Christopher Meyer, Bush indicates that he is determined to remove Saddam Hussein from power. According to Meyers, Bush says, “... when we have dealt with Afghanistan, we must come back to Iraq.” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 238 Sources: Christopher Meyers]
People and organizations involved: Condoleezza Rice, Tony Blair, George W. Bush, Christopher Meyers, Colin Powell
          

July 2002-March 19, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Numerous US and British, current and former, intelligence, military, and other government officials who have inside knowledge refute claims made by the Bush administration that Saddam Hussein's regime has or is seeking ties with global Islamic terrorist groups. [Independent, 2/9/03; New York Times, 2/3/03; Knight Ridder, 10/7/02; Radio Free Europe, 10/29/02; International Herald Tribune, 11/1/02; Los Angeles Times, 11/4/02; Baltimore Sun, 9/26/02; Wall Street Journal, 8/15/02; Telegraph, 2/4/03; Washington Post 9/10/02; Sunday Herald, 10/13/02; CBC News, 11/1/02]
People and organizations involved: Daniel Benjamin, Igor Ivanov, Tony Blair, Rohan Gunaratna, Vince Cannistraro, Youssef M. Ibrahim, Jean Chretien, MIchael O'Hanlon, Baltasar Garzon, Anna Eshoo, Brent Scowcroft, Jean-Louis Brugui←re, Jack Straw, US Department of State, 4/30/2001, Saddam Hussein, George W. Bush, Vince Cannistraro, Richard Durbin, Michael Chandler  Additional Info 
          

(Early August 2002)      Complete Iraq timeline

       British Prime Minister Tony Blair and US President George Bush discuss over the phone their intention to topple Saddam Hussein's government. An unnamed White House official who later reads the transcripts of the 15-minute phone call, will explain to Vanity Fair that it was clear from their conversation that the decision to invade Iraq had already been made. The magazine reports in April 2004: “Before the call, the official says, he had the impression that the probability of invasion was high, but still below 100 percent, Afterward, he says, ‘it was a done deal.’ ” [Vanity Fair, 5/2004, pg 284 Sources: Unnamed White House official]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, George W. Bush
          

September 7, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a joint press conference with US President George W. Bush and British Prime Minister Tony Blair, the two leaders make 2 false and misleading statements, which are quickly contested by experts.
Tony Blair states, “We only need to look at the report from the International Atomic Agency [IAEA] this morning showing what has been going on at the former nuclear weapons sites to realize that” Saddam is a real threat. [White House, 9/7/02] But no such report exists. [Washington Times, 9/27/02] What Blair is actually referring to is a set of commercial satellite photographs showing signs of new construction at a site the US had bombed in 1998. [MSNBC 9/7/02; Guardian 9/9/02; Associated Press, 9/10/02] That same day, Mark Gwozdecky, a spokesman for the UN agency, says the agency had drawn no conclusion from those photographs. [MSNBC 9/7/02] On September 9, the Guardian of London will report that according to “a well-placed source” the photographs do not support Blair's statement. “You cannot draw any conclusions,” the source explains. “The satellites were only looking at the top of a roof. You cannot tell without inspectors on the ground.” [Guardian, 9/9/02] [Guardian, 9/9/02] The following day, Hans Blix, head of UNMOVIC, will similarly tell reporters: “... satellites don't see through roofs. So we are not drawing conclusions from them. But it would be an important element in where, maybe, we want to go to inspect and monitor.” [Associated Press, 9/10/02; The Globe and Mail, 9/11/02]
Bush asserts, “I would remind you that when the inspectors first went into Iraq and were denied—finally denied access [in 1998], a report came out of the Atomic—the IAEA that they were six months away from developing a weapon,” adding, “I don't know what more evidence we need.” [White House, 9/7/02; Washington Times, 9/27/02] But Bush's statement is quickly refuted by an MSNBC news report published later that day, which includes an excerpt from the summary of the 1998 IAEA report Bush cited. The summary reads, “[B]ased on all credible information available to date ... the IAEA has found no indication of Iraq having achieved its program goal of producing nuclear weapons or of Iraq having retained a physical capability for the production of weapon-useable nuclear material or having clandestinely obtained such material.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] The text of the actual report, authored by IAEA Director-General Mohamed ElBaradei, reads: “There are no indications that there remains in Iraq any physical capability for the production of weapon-usable nuclear material of any practical significance.” [Washington Times, 9/27/02] When confronted by MSNBC reporters on this point, an unnamed senior White House official states, “What happened was, we formed our own conclusions based on the report.” [MSNBC 9/7/02] Later, when The Washington Times presses Deputy Press Secretary Scott McClellan for an explanation, he says, “[Bush is] referring to 1991 there. In '91, there was a report saying that after the war they found out they were about six months away.” But this too is challenged by Mr. Gwozdecky, spokesman for the UN agency, who says that no such report was ever published by the IAEA in 1991. Apparently the President's accusations are based on two news articles that were published more than a decade ago— “a July 16 [2001] story in the London Times by Michael Evans and a July 18 [2001] story in the New York Times by Paul Lewis.” But as The Washington Times notes, “Neither article cites an IAEA report on Iraq's nuclear-weapons program or states that Saddam was only six months away from ‘developing a weapon’ —as claimed by Mr. Bush.” Instead the two news articles reported that at that time, UN inspectors had concluded that Iraq was only six months away from the large-scale production of enriched uranium. But as the 1998 report shows, both 1991 news stories are outdated. [Washington Times, 9/27/02]
People and organizations involved: Scott McClellan, Tony Blair, Mohamed ElBaradei, George W. Bush, Mark Gwozdecky
          

October 7, 2002      Complete Iraq timeline

       British Attorney-General Lord Goldsmith, Solicitor-General Harriet Harman and the Financial Times warn British Prime Minister Tony Blair that if his government pursues “a war against Iraq, Britain could be hauled before the International Court of Justice.” [IC Coventry, 10/7/2002]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, Lord Peter Goldsmith, Harriet Harman
          

January 8, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Britain urges the Bush administration to hold off its planned invasion of Iraq. A senior Whitehall source tells the Telegraph of London, “The Prime Minister has made it clear that, unless there is a smoking gun, the inspectors have to be given time to keep searching.” Britain's softening on its position towards Iraq is attributed to the acknowledgement among its ministers and senior officials that there is no legal case for using military action against Iraq. [Telegraph, 1/9/03 Sources: Unnamed senior Whitehall source]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair
          

January 31, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       During a joint press conference with President George Bush and British Prime Minister Blair at the White House, the two leaders are asked by a reporter, “One question for you both. Do you believe that there is a link between Saddam Hussein, a direct link, and the men who attacked on September the 11th?” Bush answers succinctly, “I can't make that claim.” [US President, 1/31/2003]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, George W. Bush
          

Late February 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       The British Defense Intelligence Staff Agency (DIS) completes a classified study which concludes that Saddam Hussein and Bin Laden's earlier attempts to collaborate had “foundered” due to ideological differences. The report says: “While there have been contacts between al-Qaeda and the regime in the past, it is assessed that any fledgling relationship foundered due to mistrust and incompatible ideology.” Osama bin Laden's objectives, notes the report, are “in ideological conflict with present day Iraq.” The top secret report is sent to Prime Minister Tony Blair and other senior members of his government. [Independent, 2/6/02; BBC, 2/5/03 Sources: Unnamed British Intelligence Staff document]
People and organizations involved: Saddam Hussein, Tony Blair, Osama bin Laden  Additional Info 
          

March 5, 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Robin Cook meets with Tony Blair and has the “most revealing” discussion about Saddam's alleged weapons arsenal. During the exchange Blair essentially acknowledges that Saddam does not have weapons of mass destruction that could be used against his enemies like the US or Britain. [Times, 10/5/03] Cook says to Blair: “It's clear from the private briefing I have had that Saddam has no weapons of mass destruction in a sense of weapons that could strike at strategic cities. But he probably does have several thousand battlefield chemical munitions. Do you never worry that he might use them against British troops?” Blair responds, “Yes, but all the effort he has had to put into concealment makes it difficult for him to assemble them quickly for use.” [Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: John Scarlett, Robin Cook, Tony Blair
          

October 2003      Complete Iraq timeline

       Robin Cook publishes portions of a diary he had kept when he was Blair's foreign minister. The published memoirs reveal—among other things—that Tony Blair had intentionally misled the British population. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] The diary reveals how before the war intelligence provided to Cook by John Scarlett indicated that Saddam Hussein probably did not have weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the US or Britain. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] Cook's entries also show that before the war, Blair did not believe that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction that could be used to attack the US or Britain. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03; Guardian, 10/6/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary] Additionally, the diary shows that Tony Blair ignored the “large number of ministers who spoke up against the war.” He says that the officials in the foreign ministry were consistently opposed to the invasion of Iraq. [Sunday Times, 10/5/03 Sources: Robin Cook's diary]
People and organizations involved: Tony Blair, John Scarlett  Additional Info 
          

'Passive' participant in the following events:

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