British Prime Minister Tony Blair lacked "critical thinking" in the run-up to the Iraq war, former UN chief weapons inspector Hans Blix said in an interview published yesterday. \nSpeaking from his home in Stockholm, Blix told the London-based Guardian daily that he was not accusing Blair of bad faith in taking Britain to war, but added: "What I am saying is there was a lack of critical thinking." \nThe Guardian said that in extracts it published of Blix's memoirs, Blair emerged as a man convinced "to the point of credulity" by intelligence reports of Iraq's pursuit of weapons of mass destruction, and as a leader fuelled by a religious enthusiasm to do battle with evil. \nBlix told the Guardian that it had seemed at times the UK and US were acting like "witch doctors." \nBlair, the closest ally of US President George W. Bush in the Iraq crisis, cited Saddam Hussein's pursuit of banned weapons as the main justification for taking Britain to war in March last year. \nThe failure to find such weapons has continued to dog the prime minister and prompted accusations that he took the nation into the conflict on a false pretense. \nIn his memoirs, Blix described Blair in the month before the war as saying "the intelligence was clear that Saddam had reconstituted his weapons of mass destruction program." \n"Gradually [the British and US governments] ought to have realized there was nothing. Gradually they would have found that the defectors' information was not reliable," Blix added. \nFrench President Jacques Chirac by contrast, said that the West's intelligence services, including his own, were "intoxicating each other;" believed that banned weapons did not exist in Iraq; and predicted that a war would be the worst outcome, inflaming anti-western feeling among Muslims, according to Blix, cited by the Guardian. \nIn one of his most detailed defenses of his decision to take Britain into the Iraq conflict, Blair on Friday insisted that it was the right move given the threat from global terrorism. \nBut Blix asked how the Iraqis would have been able to "prove a negative" -- proving they did not have weapons the US and Britain said they possessed.
India has moved additional troops along its northern border as it prepares for an extended conflict with China, after several rounds of talks failed to ease tensions between the nuclear-armed rivals. China has already placed about 5,000 soldiers and armored vehicles within its side of the disputed border in the Ladakh region, an Indian government official said, asking not to be identified, citing rules. India is adding a similar number of troops as well as artillery guns along the border to fend off the continuing incursions by the Chinese army, the official said. The standoff began on May 5, when troops clashed
CLOSELY TRACKED: A US officer said that the warplanes were watched as they flew from Russia by way of Iran and Syria to Libya and were photographed multiple times The US Africa Command flatly rejected Russian claims that Moscow did not deploy fighter jets to Libya, saying on Friday that the 14 aircraft flown in reflect Russia’s long-term goal to establish a foothold in the region that could threaten NATO allies. US Brigadier General Gregory Hadfield, deputy director of intelligence, said that the US tracked the MiG-29s and Su-24 fighter bombers flown in by Russian military, passing through Iran and Syria before landing at Libya’s al-Jufra air base. The base is the main forward airfield for Field Marshal Khalifa Haftar and his self-styled Libyan National Army, which has been waging an
Singapore’s otters, long adored by the city-state’s nature lovers, are popping up in unexpected places during the COVID-19 lockdown, but their antics have angered some and even sparked calls for a cull. With the streets empty, the creatures have been spotted hanging out by a shopping center, scampering through the lobby of a hospital and even feasting on pricey fish stolen from a pond. While many think of tiny Singapore as a densely populated concrete jungle, it is also relatively green for a busy Asian city, and has patches of rainforest, fairly clean waterways and abundant wildlife. There are estimated to be about
Indonesian officials are forcing people who break social distancing rules to recite Koran verses, stay in “haunted” houses and submit to public shaming on social media as the country battles to contain surging novel coronavirus infections. The Southeast Asian archipelago began deploying about 340,000 troops across two dozen cities to oversee enforcement of measures aimed at halting transmission of the disease, such as wearing masks in public. However, provincial leaders are buttressing these efforts with their own zealous campaigns to fight the coronavirus. Police in western Bengkulu Province have assembled a 40-person squad to find lockdown scofflaws and force them to wear