The former first minister of Scotland, Alex Salmond, said Wednesday he expects that the long-awaited report on Britain’s role in the 2003 Iraq war, due to be published later in the day, will provide the evidence needed to hold to account those behind the conflict that is estimated to have claimed over 600,000 lives.
EDINBURGH The Iraq Inquiry is one of the longest judicial inquiries ever held in Britain and began with a series of public hearings in 2009.
Outgoing UK Prime Minister David Cameron dismissed the Inquiry in 2009 as “an establishment stitch up” when he was leader of the opposition.
“Today we will finally see what I expect to be a damning report into the disastrous war in Iraq,” Salmond said in a statement issued before publication of the results of the Iraq Inquiry, also referred to as the Chilcot Inquiry after its chairman.
“Thirteen years since the war began, and seven since Sir John Chilcot launched his inquiry, the families of the 179 service personnel who died will finally get some of the evidence and findings as to why we were taken into this war on false pretences and why the UK government so badly failed to plan for the war or its aftermath,” Salmond added.
The former Scottish leader said it would be “a disgrace” if the report proved to be a whitewash “in the long litany of British cover ups from Suez onwards.”
“It is a disgrace that Tony Blair – who so readily drove us into this foreign policy disaster – has seen parts of the report before the families of those who died. It is wrong that Mr Blair has had many months to consult his spin doctors and lawyers, to construct his excuses, and to tour the TV studios denying his guilt, while the families of the dead will get just two hours advance notice.”
In an interview with the BBC in May, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair suggested he may challenge the findings of the 2.6-million word report, but said he would issue a formal statement following its publication Wednesday.
“For those expecting answers today we must be clear – this report will not provide a verdict, and far from being the final word on the Iraq war it will just be the start of a process – providing some of the evidence and findings from which we can then determine those responsible.”
Salmond, who Monday suggested Blair could face charges in the Scottish criminal courts added there was a broad political consensus to bring justice “for the lies and failures” surrounding the 2003 Iraq invasion.
“I want to reassure the families of those who died, and everyone living with the consequences of this conflict, that there is renewed cross-party determination to ensure Mr Blair and all those responsible for the lies and failures are held to account.”
“Whatever the findings in the Chilcot report we already know the consequences of the Iraq war – the innocent men and women killed, a country that lay in ruins and under siege, a region destabilised and a world made more dangerous for us all. Once we have the evidence we must hold those responsible to account.”