Middle East

Little sympathy for Blair from world media

Composite of newspaper front pages showing reaction to Chilcot report
Image caption Some Middle East commentators say apologies for the Iraq invasion are not enough

Tony Blair is a focus of press commentaries in the world's newspapers following Wednesday's report on the UK's involvement in the Iraq War, and there is little sympathy for the former British prime minister.

Some commentators see him as a luminary who has been turned into a pariah, following a UK inquiry - led by Sir John Chilcot - into the decisions taken by Mr Blair's government.

They say he now faces compensation claims from the families of British soldiers killed in the war.

In the Middle East, some writers say apologies for the errors involved in the invasion of Iraq are insufficient, and that more needs to be done to overcome its consequences.

There has been little coverage of the Iraq War report in Iraq itself. Papers there generally do not publish during the Eid al-Fitr holiday, which Muslims celebrate following the fasting month of Ramadan.


Middle East

"After 13 years, Britain admits the crime of destroying Iraq" - Egypt's private daily Al-Watan

"Shameful Blair is a war criminal. Chilcot report exposes and condemns Blair for invading Iraq" Bahrain's pro-government Akhbar al-Khaleej daily

"The West has a consistent urge to see our Arab world stumbling. Who could forget Sykes-Picot, Balfour Declaration, the establishment of Israel and the continuous attacks on Arabs since the Crusades… And in all of this, always search for Britain" - Zuhayr Maged of Oman's pro-government Al-Watan

Image copyright Al-Watan
Image caption "After 13 years, Britain admits the crime of destroying Iraq" reads the main headline in Egypt's private daily Al-Watan

The report "will change nothing… The war left wounds that will never heal, conflicts that will not end and contributed to the emergence of the Islamic State group" - Othman al-Merghany of London-based Asharq al-Awsat daily

"Apology is not enough and there should be efforts made to alleviate the disastrous consequences… How could Britain burn a country and destroy its political and economic entities with regrets only?" - United Arab Emirates' pro-government paper Al-Khaleej


Europe

"The most brilliant British politician of recent decades, elected three times, has become a pariah in his own country" - Florentin Collomp in French daily Le Figaro

"British participation in the US operation was a stab at European solidarity, especially at France and Germany, who opposed the war" - Jacques Hubert-Rodier in French daily Les Echos

The Chilcot report ended "where it actually could become risky for Blair: on the question of criminal responsibility" - Germany's Sueddeutsche Zeitung

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption Several commentators said Sir John Chilcot's report into the Iraq War vindicated Tony Blair's critics

"Planning for the subsequent occupation of the country turned out to be 'totally inadequate', and the bloody civil war opened the floodgates for Islamist terrorism" - Germany's Berliner Zeitung

"The world needs to learn the lessons of this report so that it does not go back to taking action without multilateral consensus and beyond the umbrella of international law" - Spain's El Mundo

"Tony Blair became a puppet in the hands of George Bush... The conclusions of the investigation… are the fiercest political condemnation and sad for the former Labour leader" - Fabio Cavalera in Italy's Corriere della Sera

"The report has seriously damaged Blair's reputation... However, the Iraqi sins may take their toll on Blair's purse. Families of the victims hope to take advantage of the report to file a civil suit" - Yevgeny Medvedev in Russian Nezavisimaya Gazeta

"Blair faces a long fight to escape lawsuits… he definitely won't be put behind bars, but he will be publicly beaten to his knees" - Dmitry Gololobov in Russian Vedomosti


United States

"Britain's establishment never forgave itself for taking the country to war in Iraq in 2003, and Wednesday's publication of a public inquiry into the invasion provided a fresh opportunity for self-flagellation… the so-called Chilcot Inquiry tells us nothing we didn't know" - Wall Street Journal

"Those who said that Mr Blair and his government were 'misled' by faulty intelligence on weapons of mass destruction before the war have lost their claim" - Carne Ross in New York Times

Image copyright Wall Street Journal, New York Times
Image caption US papers focus on the role that British-US relations played in the conflict

"For all the evidence of close relations between Blair and the former US president, the Chilcot inquiry actually found that London ultimately had very little to show for offering unwavering support to Washington" - Time magazine

"Scathing report on Blair's Iraq War role prompts contrition, defiance and a reckoning" - Griff Witte in Washington Post


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