Thursday 8 December 2016

Litany of errors by West that led to scourge of Isil

Con Coughlin

Published 26/10/2015 | 02:30

Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein
Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein

Of all the catastrophes that have followed the West's ill-fated invasion of Iraq in 2003, the recent rise of Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil) and its seizure of large swathes of northern Syria and Iraq is easily the most calamitous.

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Before Tony Blair's decision to commit British forces to the US-led coalition to overthrow Saddam Hussein (inset below), radical Islamist groups such as Isil and al-Qa'ida barely featured on the political terrain of either country.

Indeed, Saddam's Ba'athist dictatorship waged a merciless campaign against the few pockets of al-Qa'ida that did exist in Iraq prior to the 2003 invasion, in particular crushing cells that had taken root on Iraq's northern border with Iran.

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