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Saudi Arabia was against War on Iraq, Chiclot’s Report | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz (REUTERS/Dylan Martinez)

London – A report by a British committee on the Iraq War said that Saudi Arabia had warned at early stages from launching a military invasion of the Arab Gulf country.

The report issued earlier this week was the result of a seven-year inquiry, led by retired civil servant John Chilcot, to address public criticism of Britain’s decision to join the war.

A joint government intelligence evaluation report issued on April 19, 2002, said that Saudi Arabia opposed the attack and was “very unlikely to provide the necessary help for military operations”.

According to the same evaluation report, the Kingdom warned against economic and security repercussions that would not only affect Iraq but the whole region as well.

Iraq’s neighboring countries, including Saudi Arabia, were against the war, the evaluation report said.

Articles 17 and 19 of the same report highlighted that it would be politically impossible for Arab countries to support any military action against Iraq, stressing consensus among all neighboring Arab states over the need to preserve the country’s unity and sovereignty.

The evaluation report also conveyed Arab leaders’ call on the U.S. administration to put aside any plans to launch a military campaign against Iraq.

In an interview with ABC News in 2002, late King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz said: “I do not believe it is in the United States’ interests, or the interest of the region, or the world’s interest, to do so.”

“I don’t believe it will achieve the desired result,” he added.

In the same context, late Foreign Affairs Minister Saud Al-Faisal told BBC radio station at that time that Saudi Arabia believes that a war on Iraq would threaten the whole region.

He said that any unilateral military action by the U.S. would appear as an “act of aggression”.

“It would encourage people to think… that what they’re doing is a war of aggression rather than a war for the implementation of the United Nations resolutions,” he added.

The late foreign affairs minister said he was concerned over “rising fundamentalism in America and the West – not in the Middle East.”

“Our concern is the new emerging fundamentalism in the United States and in the West. Fundamentalism in our region is on the wane. There, it’s in the ascendancy. That’s the threat,” he added.

John Chiclot’s recent report, which consists of 12 volumes and 2.6 million words, concluded that the legal basis for military intervention in Iraq was “far from satisfactory,” including flawed intelligence about the Gulf country’s supposed weapons of mass destruction.

Meanwhile, former U.S. President Georges W. Bush said “the world is a better place without [late Iraqi President] Saddam Hussein in power following the release of the lengthy report on Iraq war.

A spokesperson for Bush released a statement on Wednesday, saying: “Despite the intelligence failures and other mistakes he has acknowledged previously, President Bush continues to believe the whole world is better off without Saddam Hussein in power.”

The spokesperson went on to say that there was no stronger ally than the United Kingdom under the leadership of Prime Minister Tony Blair.

For his part, British Prime Minister David Cameron refused to admit that the Iraq War was “a mistake” or “wrong”.

Cameron, who voted for the war in 2003, said people would have to come to their own conclusions about whether it was right or wrong.

British Labor Party Leader Jeremy Corbyn apologized on behalf of the Labor party for its role in the 2003 Iraq war, and warned that the people who took the decisions “laid bare in the Chilcot report” must now face up to the consequences.

The Labor leader, who voted against the 2003 invasion, described the war as the most “serious foreign policy calamity of the last 60 years” as he described meeting families of military servicemen and women who lost loved ones, Iraqi citizens and war veterans.