Working paper given by Dr Owen Thomas at the ‘Intelligence, surveillance, and oversight: tracing connections and contestations’ conference, held by GUARDINT project (‘Intelligence and Oversight Networks: Who Guards the Guardians’) on 26th and 27th January 2022.
The Chilcot Inquiry and Human Rights
By Rhys Edwards
This blog focuses on former Labour MP Ann Clwyd and her emphasis on human rights as a motivation in Labour’s invasion of Iraq in 2003. It examines first, her efforts to prosecute Iraqi leader Saddam Hussain and other members of the Iraqi administration under international law, secondly, her decision to support the invasion of Iraq, and, thirdly, her testimony to the Chilcot Inquiry. Looking back at the 2003 invasion and the subsequent Chilcot Inquiry, how can we think critically about the British government’s interpretation(s) of human rights before the war in Iraq? Can the evidence compiled by the Chilcot Inquiry provide clarity for why human rights were so integral to Labour’s ‘marketing’ of the invasion to the British electorate?
An Accidental Admission of Guilt?
George W. Bush mistakenly described the Iraq Invasion as “wholly unjustified” and “brutal” in recent speech. In a recent speech on Wednesday (18th May 2022), former United States president George W Bush reminded the world of the ongoing consequences of the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq and the violence of the intervention.
In 1991, following the First Gulf War, Saddam Hussein remained in power in Iraq. However, just 12 years later, a US-led coalition of forces invaded Iraq with the intention of removing Hussein from power. This blog post examines the changes in US and British interests between 1991 and 2003 that facilitated his removal during the Second Gulf War.
The Fall of Baghdad: 20 Years On…
On April 9, 2003, Baghdad fell to coalition forces.
Exactly twenty years later, we’re looking back at reporting from the time in order to gain a greater understanding of the significance of this event.
Weekly Recommendations from WFTA
A quick update on what the Warnings from the Archive team have been listening to/reading/watching this week. The pieces that have caught our interest and develop the themes and topics explored by the project.
Ukraine: Lessons to learn from Iraq
After the second week of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, we’ve taken some time to examine what lessons the US and its allies in Europe can learn from the invasion of Iraq in order to inform the West’s response to Russia.
This week has seen the return of 337 ancient artefacts to Iraq from a private museum in Lebanon. Further to our discussion in August on the return of over 17,000 artefacts to Iraq that had been looted and stolen in the past few decades, Lebanon has also returned its share of Iraqi artefacts to their rightful homes. The collection of 337 artefacts which included clay tablets dating back to 2,900 BC had been held at the private Nabu Museum between Tripoli and Beirut.
Geoff Hoon, Tony Blair’s defence secretary between 1999 and 2005, has revealed that he was instructed to burn a vital memo, sent by Lord Goldsmith the incumbent attorney general, that questioned the legality of the British invasion of Iraq.
What is the scandal of Afghanistan?
By Dr Owen Thomas
This blog is based a talk given as part of the “Reflections for “Twenty Years of the Global War on Terror: Looking back, looking forward” event, jointly hosted by the Secrecy, Power and Ignorance research Network (SPIN) and the South West Doctoral Training Partnership on 8th September, 2021.
This month, two parliamentary select committees have announced that they will hold inquiries into aspects of the UK’s withdrawal from Afghanistan. An ‘Afghanistan Inquiry’ has been called for many times in 2021.1 But reaction to the Taliban’s unexpectedly sudden seizure of Kabul and the West’s rapid evacuation has hastened and sharpened these calls, such that both the Defence Committee and the Foreign Affairs Committee will use much of their inquiries to focus on that withdrawal. A striking feature of the British reaction to that withdrawal was the shock experienced by those who had been involved in two decades of Western operations in Afghanistan. During the BBC’s Question Time, for example, a British military veteran who served in Afghanistan told the panel: “the only way I cannot be utterly embarrassingly humiliated about my service is if we, a democratic nation, hold those responsible to account and have a full parliamentary inquiry.”