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Tony Blair, the Iraq War and the Chilcot Report. Thoughts? Watch

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    (Original post by Themini)
    Thousands? The estimated civilian death toll was 1 million. I'm not going into the legality of the Iraq war but what annoying me is that it took them this long to start releasing the report. Blair should've been treated as a criminal and shouldn't have been allowed to vito certain email exchanges between himself and Bush. If we're not going to have complete transparency, why do the report in the first place? We the general public elect these clowns in the first place so are entitled to see all the evidence.
    100% agree, Yet he can live in his warm cosy house whilst children who are living the effects of what he did, sleeping on cold hard floors with no family. Hats of Mr.Bush you prick.
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    Mainstream media and public seem to be a tad hysterical today. PMQs shows the most measured and balanced response.
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    (Original post by KimKallstrom)
    The vast majority of those were from the sectarian conflict. It's highly disingenuous to imply that us and America etc killed those people. You're suggesting that Iraqis are unable to exist without slaughtering each other in sectarian conflict unless they're brutally oppressed by a dictator like Saddam Hussein.
    I know right,people are oversimplifying this complex war.The sectarian tensions existed before the invasion.Saddam reign simply covered it,it pretty much blew up after 2006.Its pretty similar to Yugoslavia tbh.
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    After reading the JIC documents, most of the declassified documents, watching the inquiry itself, reading various news articles and discussions along with political books as well as watching an array of political interviews and documentaries plus relevant PMQs (including today's), I've come to the conclusion that Blair is not a liar or war criminal - he was a man with a difficult decision to make.

    Today's report has demonstrated that. I hope to read at least some of it.

    It's just dissapointing to see so many people on social media who have done nothing except read a tabloid newspaper and talked to their friends in order to form an opinion - which mostly seems to be one of vilifying Blair. I do think history will be kinder to him than present day press and public opinion. It was a massive decision to take and ultimately seems to rest on judgement based on intelligence provided - which Chilcot himself has called inadequate. One man didn't take us to war - it's much more complicated than that - he was just at the top of the pyramid.

    It's a really complex issue and too many people with strong opinions haven't even read the evidence or followed the inquiry which is a massive shame when they're denouncing an ex-PM and throwing all sorts of accusations against his character.

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    People need to strip out hindsight.

    I'm glad Saddam is no longer in power. He brought it on himself.
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    Imagine if the UK had launched a pre-emptive attack on Germany in the early 1930s to achieve regime change and oust Hitler under suspicions that his rearming posed a threat to Europe.

    This would have gone down as one of the biggest atrocities of the 20th century and Britain would be forever shamed for what they had done, unlawfully attacking a sovereign state.
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    does anyone know if the full report is available online ?

    thanks
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    As I've said elsewhere, the Chilcot Report is a whitewash. It's right about one thing, though: the devastating consequences were entirely predictable - no hindsight is needed.

    Firstly, nothing in the report challenges the myth that state powers, including Britain and the United States, are humanitarian actors. This is a delusion subscribed to by the media and the general public but ironically is ridiculed by people in government. At the very least, it should have discussed whether Mr. Blair knew the true reasons for going to war on the part of the Americans, whether he supported these reasons or whether he really was ignorant about how the United States has acted throughout its history.

    We illegally invaded and occupied Iraq to gain control of strategic resources such as oil. General John Abizaid, former commander of CENTCOM with responsibility for Iraq said, “of course it’s about oil, we can’t really deny that”, while Secretary of Defence Chuck Hagel said this in 2007:“ People say we're not fighting for oil. Of course we are.” To round it off, former Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan added in his 2007 book: “I am saddened that it is politically inconvenient to acknowledge what everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil.”

    We knew that already, though. All that is necessary is to go back to the State Department's post-WWII planning, in which they stated that Gulf oil is "a stupendous source of strategic power and the greatest material prize in world history.” As Rob Newman pointed out, if you think about the criminal atrocities that the US backed in Guatemala after they overthrew the democratically elected leader there in 1954 just so that the United Fruit Company could get a hold of a few bananas, imagine what they'll be willing to do to secure the greatest prize in world history. (On that note, anyone who hasn't watched this should do so. It's a bit ranty but that's the point: it's also funny).

    The report talks about "mistakes" and "things we could have done differently". All of this ignores the fact that, because we weren't in Iraq for humanitarian reasons, things simply couldn't have gone differently.

    People often like to say that the initial invasion and toppling of Saddam Hussein was good, but the aftermath - the occupation - was bad. This ignores the fact that they came as part of a package: we overthrew Saddam so that we could occupy the country, gain control of its resources, dismantle its state structure and privatise it.

    People often say the same about Libya: "it was the lack of post-war planning". As Hillary Clinton's emails have shown, Sarkozy of France spearheaded the Libyan intervention for a number of reasons, none of which were humanitarian:

    1) A desire to gain a greater share of Libya oil production,
    2) Increase French influence in North Africa,
    3) Improve his internal political situation in France,
    4) Provide the French military with an opportunity to reassert its position in the world,
    5) Address the concern of his advisors over Qaddafi's long term plans to supplant France as the dominant power in Francophone Africa
    In addition, the emails discuss Gadaffi's attempt to create a pan-African currency:

    This gold was accumulated prior to the current rebellion and was intended to be used to establish a pan-African currency based on the Libyan golden Dinar. This plan was designed to provide the Francophone African Countries with an alternative to the French.franc (CFA).his quantity of gold and silver is valued at more than $7 billion.

    French intelligence officers discovered this plan shortly after the current rebellion began, and this was one of the factors that influenced President Nicolas Sarkozy's decision to commit France to the attack on Libya.
    The report also fails to look at the influence not only of our own interests when it came to making the decision to invade Iraq, but the interests of Israel.

    With Syria, our foreign policy has been somewhat confused because some key US and Israeli officials have been keen to sit back and allow the conflict to go on. If we had firmly wanted to support the rebels from the start, Israel could have mobilised its forces in the Golan Heights, which would have prompted no complaints from the international community, and this would have forced Assad's forces to shift, thereby helping the rebels.

    Alon Pinkas, the former Israeli Consul General in New York, put the Israeli strategy best: “This is a playoff situation in which you need both teams to lose, but at least you don’t want one to win – we’ll settle for a tie,….Let them both bleed, hemorrhage to death: that’s the strategic thinking here. As long as this lingers, there’s no real threat from Syria.”

    This echoes the strategy laid out in the "Clean Break" document of 1996, authored by key US neoconservatives and Israeli officials, which discusses both Syria and Iraq: “Israel can shape its strategic environment, in cooperation with Turkey and Jordan, by weakening, containing, and even rolling back Syria. This effort can focus on removing Saddam Hussein from power in Iraq – an important Israeli strategic objective in its own right – as a means of foiling Syria’s regional ambitions.”

    This describes the "skittles theory" of the Middle East, in which overthrowing one regime can lead to others falling too - all to serve American and Israeli interests, of course. After September 11th, Bush seemed to believe that this could occur. As General Wesley Clark informed us, in November 2001, the United States' military officials were "still on track for going against Iraq", but even this was being discussed as a wider five-year campaign to effect regime change in seven countries, "beginning with Iraq, then Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan and finishing off Iran."

    The strategy in the "Clean Break" document, incidentally, goes back to at least 1982, in which an official at the Israeli Foreign Ministry, Oded Yinon, outlined what Israel's strategy in encouraging sectarian violence would have to be in the coming decades:

    Lebanon’s total dissolution into five provinces serves as a precedent for the entire Arab world including Egypt, Syria, Iraq and the Arabian Peninsula and is already following that track. The dissolution of Syria and Iraq later on into ethnically or religiously unique areas such as in Lebanon, is Israel’s primary target on the Eastern front in the long run, while the dissolution of the military power of those states serves as the primary short term target. Syria will fall apart, in accordance with its ethnic and religious structure, into several states such as in present day Lebanon….

    Iraq, rich in oil on the one hand and internally torn on the other, is guaranteed as a candidate for Israel’s targets. Its dissolution is even more important for us than that of Syria. Iraq is stronger than Syria. In the short run it is Iraqi power which constitutes the greatest threat to Israel. An Iraqi-Iranian war will tear Iraq apart and cause its downfall at home even before it is able to organize a struggle on a wide front against us. Every kind of inter-Arab confrontation will assist us in the short run and will shorten the way to the more important aim of breaking up Iraq into denominations as in Syria and in Lebanon. In Iraq, a division into provinces along ethnic/religious lines as in Syria during Ottoman times is possible. So, three (or more) states will exist around the three major cities: Basra, Baghdad and Mosul, and Shi’ite areas in the south will separate from the Sunni and Kurdish north.
    All in all, the report ignores the fact the occupation was not intended to give power back to the Iraqi people: within the first six months of it, we had called off the national elections; as well as many local and provincial elections; cancelled the expected creation of a constituent assembly; and cancelled the elections for the drafters of the constitution. As would be expected, this caused more violence and more resentment. The resistance at first took the form of peaceful demonstrations - 100,000 protesters in Baghdad and 80,000 in Basra shouted "Yes, yes elections; no, no selections".

    Why did we cancel the elections? An influential poll published by the International Republican Institute, after the first six months, found that the majority of people would support a party and a government creating more government jobs, but less than 5% of people supported the creation of more private sector jobs. The Occupiers - us - took the opposite view.

    It was a project designed to gain power for us, and was thus doomed from the start. The Chilcot Report frames it as a "mistake". It was no mistake, just as the Vietnam War was no mistake.
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    (Original post by mariachi)
    does anyone know if the full report is available online ?

    thanks
    Yes, I've been reading it (exec summary) since yesterday. Take a look here:

    http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/the-report/

    There's also a new interview with Blair today here at 2 hours 8 mins or thereabouts:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07j68xq

    I wish everyone with an opinion would actually read the report. The newspapers today are as ridiculous as ever - the front pages are brainwashing a nation as they always do. Nearly all of them are tearing Blair to pieces yet on 2003 they were the one's supporting the war and standing by Blair
    In his speech yesterday Blair said he had "more regret, sorrow and apology than you can ever know or can believe". Today the Guardian said: "Tony Blair unrepentant".

    You can never get a clear picture unless you go to primary sources of information.

    History and careful consideration including the findings of the report will be the judge of it, not the rags like the Sun etc.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    We illegally invaded and occupied Iraq to gain control of strategic resources such as oil.
    Technically, if assuming the invasion was justified and legal, would not one of the first priorities be to gain control of the oil? As we can see in Syria, ISIS currently has under its control vast amounts of oil. The worst thing that could be allowed is for a dangerous group such as ISIS to attain control of the oil resources. Assuming it could be justified that Saddam was a threat and that the invasion was justifiable, do you think in such circumstances, the acquisition and control of oil would be necessary?
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    Technically, if assuming the invasion was justified and legal, would not one of the first priorities be to gain control of the oil? As we can see in Syria, ISIS currently has under its control vast amounts of oil. The worst thing that could be allowed is for a dangerous group such as ISIS to attain control of the oil resources. Assuming it could be justified that Saddam was a threat and that the invasion was justifiable, do you think in such circumstances, the acquisition and control of oil would be necessary?
    The point of the Iraq War was to gain control of the oil, irrespective of the humanitarian consequences. If, in an alternate universe in which President Sanders and Prime Minister Corbyn did intervene for humanitarian reasons, obviously securing the oil resources would have been necessary, but that wouldn't have been the reason to invade the country in the first place, crucially.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    The point of the Iraq War was to gain control of the oil, irrespective of the humanitarian consequences. If, in an alternate universe in which President Sanders and Prime Minister Corbyn did intervene for humanitarian reasons, obviously securing the oil resources would have been necessary, but that wouldn't have been the reason to invade the country in the first place, crucially.
    If we were to ignore for the moment any potential reasons of why the invasion took place and were just to focus on the fact that then securing oil would be necessary if Saddam was a criminal.

    Would you not also agree that Saddam was a criminal? The countless counts of genocide, human rights abuses etc... would surely make him a criminal of some sort. Through what means was he able to carry out these attacks? One could argue that oil funds allowed Saddam to carry out such attacks. Therefore allowing Saddam to keep possession of this oil so that he can carry out further human rights abuses would have been immoral. So even if one does question the America and British motivations, there does exist a potential justification for removing oil resources out of Saddam's control so as to limit his ability to carry out further abuses of human rights.

    To me then, it seems that the real failure was the failure to set up and maintain a democratic and stable government after the removal of Saddam, and the passing of the oil to the new government. But it would have arguably been necessary in the transition period for the oil to be kept under protection, to avoid groups like ISIS arising in the instability and taking control of the oil.
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    (Original post by KatieBlogger)
    Yes, I've been reading it (exec summary) since yesterday. Take a look here:

    http://www.iraqinquiry.org.uk/the-report/

    There's also a new interview with Blair today here at 2 hours 8 mins or thereabouts:

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b07j68xq

    I wish everyone with an opinion would actually read the report. .
    thanks

    I also believe that one should at least read the summary and some relevant parts before expressing any opinion

    best
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    (Original post by Thutmose-III)



    The invasion of Iraq was carried out with the support of a House of Commons resolution, and effected by a lawfully-appointed cabinet using the royal prerogative powers. There is no suggestion of any illegality in the exercise of these powers, unless you can specifically cite it and tell us under what provision of UK law ..



    d?
    This is one of the most frequent but most silly misunderstandings that people make with regards to the Iraq war.

    The rules regarding the use of force in international relations are governed entirely by international law NOT national law.
    The Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties which we have ratified makes clear that national law can never excuse a violation of international law.
    Article 48 of the UN Charter which every country has ratified expressly prohibits the use of force in all but two situations: 1.) In immediate self defence, 2.), via authorisation of the UNSC.

    A national parliament cannot legally authorize the use of force in international relations. Otherwise it means what tge Nazis did was legal under international law. Otherwise it would mean if the national parliament of North Korea legislated to commit genocide on South Korea then it wouldn't be illegal.


    National law cannot excuse a violation of international law.
    National law cannot legally authorize the use of force under international law.

    As such the war was illegal under international, not national law.*
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    If we were to ignore for the moment any potential reasons of why the invasion took place and were just to focus on the fact that then securing oil would be necessary if Saddam was a criminal.

    Would you not also agree that Saddam was a criminal? The countless counts of genocide, human rights abuses etc... would surely make him a criminal of some sort. Through what means was he able to carry out these attacks? One could argue that oil funds allowed Saddam to carry out such attacks. Therefore allowing Saddam to keep possession of this oil so that he can carry out further human rights abuses would have been immoral. So even if one does question the America and British motivations, there does exist a potential justification for removing oil resources out of Saddam's control so as to limit his ability to carry out further abuses of human rights.

    To me then, it seems that the real failure was the failure to set up and maintain a democratic and stable government after the removal of Saddam, and the passing of the oil to the new government. But it would have arguably been necessary in the transition period for the oil to be kept under protection, to avoid groups like ISIS arising in the instability and taking control of the oil.
    Saddam was a criminal. But that doesn't necessarily mean we should have intervened. Therefore I don't really see your point. And because we intervened for reasons other than the fact that Saddam was a criminal, in the real world the war was immoral.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    Saddam was a criminal. But that doesn't necessarily mean we should have intervened.
    So then what would you have recommended instead. We have a criminal in charge who is possibly going to commit another genocide. Do we sit back about wait for another genocide? Or do we take the necessary measures to prevent it?

    Therefore I don't really see your point. And because we intervened for reasons other than the fact that Saddam was a criminal, in the real world the war was immoral.
    The point I am making is that there was an arguable case to intervene and to take possession of the oil. However, this would only work if it was followed up with a focus on establishing and maintaining a stable and democratic government to replace Saddam.

    Whether the actual intentions were just to acquire possession of oil or not, we cannot know for certain. This is entering into the territory of conspiracy theories. But what we do know for certain is that no serious attempt was made to stabilise Iraq and this is the real issue that we should be criticising and questioning. Now I would argue that Iraq was always going to be difficult to stabilise as ultimately the drawing up of the borders under the Skyes-Picot agreement were in my opinion arbitrary and nonsensical. I would have advocates the redrawing of Iraq and the creation of new states, one could call it the balkanisation of Iraq.
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    So then what would you have recommended instead. We have a criminal in charge who is possibly going to commit another genocide. Do we sit back about wait for another genocide? Or do we take the necessary measures to prevent it?

    The point I am making is that there was an arguable case to intervene and to take possession of the oil. However, this would only work if it was followed up with a focus on establishing and maintaining a stable and democratic government to replace Saddam.

    Whether the actual intentions were just to acquire possession of oil or not, we cannot know for certain. This is entering into the territory of conspiracy theories. But what we do know for certain is that no serious attempt was made to stabilise Iraq and this is the real issue that we should be criticising and questioning. Now I would argue that Iraq was always going to be difficult to stabilise as ultimately the drawing up of the borders under the Skyes-Picot agreement were in my opinion arbitrary and nonsensical. I would have advocates the redrawing of Iraq and the creation of new states, one could call it the balkanisation of Iraq.
    It's not a conspiracy theory, but a conspiracy fact. One which I've provided evidence for, and can provide more evidence for if you wish.

    Now, we're just rehearsing the standard arguments for and against the Iraq War, and you're still proceeding from the illusion that the United States and Britain are agents that are in a position to help the Iraqi people. They aren't. If the intention is not to help the Iraqi people, just as the intention was not to help the Libyan people, then the aftermath of regime change is always going to be as disastrous as you admit it was.

    The consequences were entirely predictable, as the Chilcot Report has said, and what followed the aggression against Iraq was worse than what was before it. If there were going to be another genocide, then there would have been a stronger case for intervening to some extent to stop the genocide, but not necessarily to implement regime change. Of course, when Saddam was actually committing genocide, he was backed by Britain and the United States. Not supporting genocidal dictators is a good first step towards preventing genocide.

    I support the US-led airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS (though not in Syria), because there's a clear plan there and there are local forces with whom we are working. Should we have attacked Iraq, though, with the information that we had at the time, and with the governments we had at the time, who could simply not get the backing of the Iraqi people for the Occupation (as I say, it would be a different matter if genuine humanitarians like Sanders and Corbyn were in power)? Of course not.
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    (Original post by viddy9)
    It's not a conspiracy theory, but a conspiracy fact. One which I've provided evidence for, and can provide more evidence for if you wish.
    It is merely conjecture. Many conspiracy theories have such testimonies to prove that the holocaust didn't happen etc... But we don't really know the facts here of what role oil may or may not have played. We could point out that in the past American foreign policy has been influenced by control of oil reserves, and could point to the Mossadegh coup as an example. That would be a valid point, but as I say, we don't know the facts here.

    Now, we're just rehearsing the standard arguments for and against the Iraq War, and you're still proceeding from the illusion that the United States and Britain are agents that are in a position to help the Iraqi people.
    The point is that there is a moral argument to be made to support the removal of Saddam. He was quite simply a criminal, and he was in the process of genocide. Saddam was in the process of draining the marshes of Southern Iraq. These marshes provided building material, food, water and pretty much all necessities needed by the Marsh Arabs to survive. This was an ongoing genocide in process.

    They aren't. If the intention is not to help the Iraqi people, just as the intention was not to help the Libyan people, then the aftermath of regime change is always going to be as disastrous as you admit it was.
    I didn't say it was always going to be disastrous. I said it was always going to be difficult, which is different. After the time of the invasion of Iraq, wikipedia states that 90% of the marshes of South Iraq had been drained. After the removal of Saddam, by 2006, 56% of the Marshes had been restored (although this process has been complicated by dams being built further upriver in Turkey). So we can see here that after the removal of Saddam, the genocide was able to be prevented and to some extent, the livelihood of the Marsh Arabs was able to be restored (although progress has been hindered by the dams I mentioned). We can also look towards the autonomous region of northern Iraq inhabited by the Kurdish people. Here moves were made towards establishing stability and a functioning government.

    So progress could and was being made, but any such progress was reliant of stability in Iraq as a whole being maintained, and this is where the failures lie. This is what people should be questioning Tony Blair and George Bush over.

    The consequences were entirely predictable, as the Chilcot Report has said, and what followed the aggression against Iraq was worse than what was before it.
    This ethnic and religious tension was always there and they pre-date the invasion. If Saddam died, or the Arab spring had reached Iraq, then we would have seen similar scenes. All that was needed for these ethnic and religious tensions to come to the forefront was instability.

    If there were going to be another genocide, then there would have been a stronger case for intervening to some extent to stop the genocide, but not necessarily to implement regime change. Of course, when Saddam was actually committing genocide, he was backed by Britain and the United States. Not supporting genocidal dictators is a good first step towards preventing genocide.
    There was an ongoing attempt at genocide against the Marsh Arabs.

    And I do agree with you that Britain and America did support Saddam at an earlier time period and they should rightfully be criticised for this. I'm no fan of western foreign policy, and this was one of many examples of Britain and America propping up dictators. But one needs to look at Iraq rationally. In the past few days I have seen people praising Saddam on TSR (not yourself) and saying how peaceful and amazing Iraq was under Saddam. The truth is completely the opposite. After propping up this horrific dictatorship, do we not have a duty to the Iraqi people to undo the mess we caused?

    I support the US-led airstrikes in Iraq against ISIS (though not in Syria), because there's a clear plan there and there are local forces with whom we are working. Should we have attacked Iraq, though, with the information that we had at the time, and with the governments we had at the time, who could simply not get the backing of the Iraqi people for the Occupation (as I say, it would be a different matter if genuine humanitarians like Sanders and Corbyn were in power)? Of course not.
    During the 1991 uprising, many of the Rebel groups were expecting American support. There was a desire to remove Saddam from power in 1991, and rebel groups expected and needed American assistance to do so. The desire to remove Saddam from power didn't magically disappear among the Iraqi people, but they did feel let down by America in 1991.
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    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    It is merely conjecture. Many conspiracy theories have such testimonies to prove that the holocaust didn't happen etc... But we don't really know the facts here of what role oil may or may not have played. We could point out that in the past American foreign policy has been influenced by control of oil reserves, and could point to the Mossadegh coup as an example. That would be a valid point, but as I say, we don't know the facts here.
    You should read the article I cited earlier.

    (Original post by The Epicurean)
    This ethnic and religious tension was always there and they pre-date the invasion. If Saddam died, or the Arab spring had reached Iraq, then we would have seen similar scenes. All that was needed for these ethnic and religious tensions to come to the forefront was instability.
    This is pure hindsight, though. We have to look at the expected consequences of an action on the information available at the time. There may have been similar scenes if the Arab Spring had reached Iraq, but there would have been less of a terrorist threat to the West.
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    If any leader from a non-western country had done what he did you can be damn sure these very politicions would be screaming to send them to the Hague..
 
 
 
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