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Op-Ed: Obama should be put on trial, not Tony Blair

Kurdish writer and lawyer Chiman Salih explains why she believes that the appeal to overturn a ban on prosecuting British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the 2003 war in Iraq is absurd. She states that former US President Barack Obama is the one who should be tried as he was responsible for the sudden US withdrawal that resulted in chaos and Iraq becoming a breeding ground for terrorism.
Obama Photo Credit: EPA

According to news reports, the British Supreme Court is contemplating whether to overturn a ruling from last year that bans the criminal prosecution of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair over the 2003 Iraq War. However, there is absolutely no reason for him to be prosecuted over the war. In fact, he should be applauded for deciding to take part in the 2003 war. There is only one international figure who should be held accountable for his decisions and actions related to Iraq: Former US President Barack Obama. 

Blair is one of the most brilliant and decent leaders of the world. His administration and policies helped the UK and the world. His decision to enter the war was made out of humanitarian considerations and in order to protect global peace and security. As a Kurd, I cannot stay silent about this. 

Obama’s story is different; His decision to pull out of Iraq and the policies he implemented after the war made the world, and particularly the Middle East, a breeding ground for terrorists. Despite the risks that were very predictable, Obama decided to irresponsibly pull out of Iraq, and this is why he should stand trial. It can now be seen clearly that the Obama administration only pretended to withdraw from the Middle East and take a more neutral position in the region’s affairs because in reality, Washington was still working to feed the conflicts with guns and by not having a plan for the countries. His policies resulted in millions of refugees, millions of victims injured or killed and hundreds of destroyed historic cities.

At the same time, the Obama administration was selling weapons to the Saudis. According to a Guardian report from September 2016, which cites a report from the Centre for International Policy: “The Obama administration has offered to sell $115bn worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia over its eight years in office, more than any previous US administration.” The news article claims that one of the reasons behind the offer was to reiterate America’s support for Saudi Arabia after the signing of the nuclear agreement with Iran, which made Iran capable of establishing a proxy army in every embattled country. As demonstrated here as well, the Obama administration was feeding both of the sides, creating many gaps in which terrorism has flourished.

The Middle East is currently in the same situation as it was during the world wars. The onslaughts launched by the terrorists over the past three years could be deemed the Third World War due to the number of lost lives and amount of damage. There is no security in Western countries because at any moment, a lone wolf terrorist could decide to plow his car into a crowd of pedestrians or stab some innocent bystanders on a popular street.

Obama should be the first person put on trial for this crime. Blair only made the decision to participate in the war in order to rescue the Iraqis from a dictatorship, providing security and peace to the world. Blair strictly applied international law along with the US administration that led the coalition to liberate Iraq, headed by then-US President George W. Bush; it was Obama who tore up the advancements that the two made.

JOL Blogger | Chiman Salih

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