Documents to download

The Chilcot Inquiry reported on 6 July 2016 after seven years and a total cost of over £13 million. The full report and the executive summary can be accessed online.

It found that

  • Military action had been taken before peaceful options had been exhausted, when Iraq posed no imminent threat to the UK
  • The reliability of evidence on Iraq’s supposed weapons of mass destruction was overstated and that evidence turned out to be flawed
  • The legal justification was “far from satisfactory”
  • Rather than bolstering the UN, the UK helped undermine it
  • UK armed forces were poorly prepared
  • Warnings about the consequences of removing Saddam were not taken seriously enough
  • The UK overestimated its ability to influence the US

The action removed Saddam Hussein from power but did not establish a successful democracy and more than 200 British citizens died as a result of the conflict. By July 2009, at least 150,000 Iraqis had died, probably more.

Chilcot concluded that there were several occasions when issues should have been discussed by Cabinet but were not, and that clear Ministerial oversight of the UK post-conflict plan was not established.

Tony Blair told the Inquiry that he could not have foreseen the difficulties after the fall of Saddam. The Inquiry rejected this outright:

“We do not agree that hindsight is required. The risks of internal strife in Iraq, active Iranian pursuit of its interests, regional instability, and Al Qaida activity in Iraq, were each explicitly identified before the invasion.”

Documents to download

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