ICC should look into Blair’s case

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NEW YORK - SEPTEMBER 27: Tony Blair, former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom speaks during a panel about energy use during the Clinton Global Inititative annual meeting September 27, 2007 in New York. Thirteen hundred delegates from 72 countries are meeting at the third annual gathering organized by former President Bill Clinton. (Photo by Chris Hondros/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Tony Blair

AS Britain emerged from the embarrassing Brexit fiasco, the world, in particular Zimbabwe and Iraq, once again united in condemning the fading global powerhouse following the recent publication of the Chilcot Report which confirms Harare’s persistent lamentations that Tony Blair was a war-monger bent on destroying the world.
The report follows an inquiry by Sir John Chilcot which reveals that Blair lied to the world in order to make a case for Britain to be involved in the fateful Iraq war in 2003.
The list of the recklessness that error-prone Blair had during his disastrous decade-long reign is far too long to keep track of.
But it has never been lost on Zimbabweans that their country featured prominently in Blair’s list of perceived enemies.
Not only did Blair play a pivotal role in the destruction of the Zimbabwe economy, he at one point contemplated invading the Southern African nation.
The Chilcot Report says: “We have concluded that the UK chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”
The report also bitterly criticises the way in which Blair made the case for Britain to go to war.
It says the notorious dossier presented in September 2002 by Blair to the House of Commons did not support his claim that Iraq had a growing programme of chemical and biological weapons, a point President Robert Mugabe has repeatedly emphasised on many occasions.
The then Labour government also failed to anticipate the war’s disastrous consequences, the report said.
They included the deaths of ‘at least
150 000 Iraqis – and probably many more – most of them civilians’ and ‘more than a million people displaced’.
“The people of Iraq have suffered greatly,” Chilcot said.
But the belligerent ex-British PM says: “I believe we made the right decision.”
Pointedly, the Chilcot Report reveals that in a remarkable private note sent on July 28 2002, Blair promised Bush: “I will be with you, whatever.”
In 2005, President Mugabe denounced former US President George Bush and Blair as ‘the two unholy men of our millennium’.
It took former South African President Thabo Mbeki and Field Marshal Charles Guthrie, who served as Chief of General Staff from 1994 to 1997 to stop the nonconformist Blair from invading Harare.
In November 2013, in an interview with Al-Jazeera, Mbeki said Blair’s government asked South Africa to help Britain invade Zimbabwe and topple President Mugabe by force.
Mbeki said he favoured a negotiated settlement, while Blair wanted President Mugabe to go, by force if necessary.
“The problem was, we were speaking from different positions,” said President Mbeki.
“There were other people saying ‘yes indeed there are political problems, economic problems, the best way to solve them is regime change. So Mugabe must go’.
“This was the difference. So they said ‘Mugabe must go’.
“But we said ‘Mugabe is part of the solution to this problem’.”
Mbeki recalled an interview given by Guthrie.
In 2007, Lord Guthrie disclosed that ‘people were always trying to get me to look at’ toppling President Mugabe by force.
And Mbeki noted: “There is a retired chief of the British armed forces and (he) said that he had to withstand pressure from the then Prime Minister of the United Kingdom, Tony Blair, who was saying to the chief of the British armed forces, ‘you must work out a military plan so that we can physically remove Robert Mugabe’.
“We knew that, because we had come under the same pressure, and that we need to co-operate in some scheme — it was a regime change scheme — even to the point of using military force, and we said ‘no’,” said President Mbeki.
Blair himself, in his autobiography A Journey, revealed a frustrated desire to topple President Mugabe. 
John Kampfner’s book, Blair’s Wars, according to UK-based Zimbabwean academic Blessing Miles-Tendi, also records that ‘on one trip Blair found himself in the company of (former international development secretary) Clare Short.
They talked for long periods about intervention.
Blair confided in her that: “If it were down to me, I’d do Zimbabwe as well’ — that is send troops.”
Mbeki notes how South Africa resisted overtures by Britain and America to attack Zimbabwe.
“In the period preceding the 2002 Zimbabwe elections, the UK and the US in particular were very keen to effect this regime change and failing which to impose various conditions to shorten the period of any Mugabe Presidency,” says Mbeki.
“Our then Minister of Intelligence, Lindiwe Sisulu, had to make a number of trips to London and Washington to engage the UK and US governments on their plans for Zimbabwe, with strict instructions from our government to resist all plans to impose anything on the people of Zimbabwe, including by military means.
“Accordingly it was not from hearsay or third parties that we acquired the knowledge about Western plans to overthrow President Mugabe, but directly from what they communicated to a representative of our government.
“Unfortunately, contrary to what the Conservative Prime Ministers Margaret Thatcher and John Major had agreed, Tony Blair’s Secretary of State for International Development, Claire Short, repudiated the commitment to honour the undertaking made at Lancaster House.”
The British Government, writes Mbeki, agreed to fund the arrangement, compensating the former colonial farmers for land that they gave up.
“Later, Prime Minister Blair told me that the British Government he led never formally took this decision to repudiate the Lancaster House Agreement and regretted that in the end, his government had to accept it because Claire Short had succeeded to convince the UK public that it was indeed government policy!” Mbeki notes.
Now that Blair has been humbled by Chilcot, its now over to the International Criminal Court (ICC) to indict the former British ‘supremo’, that is if the ICC stands for justice at all.

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