Tony Blair has apparently admitted that the invasion of Iraq by the United
States and Britain was a disaster.
The Prime Minister gave the frank assessment of his decision to go to war in
an interview with Sir David Frost on Al Jazeera's new English-language channel.
Opposition MPs seized on the comment as evidence that Mr Blair has finally
accepted that his strategy in the Middle Eastern state had failed.
But Downing Street insisted that MR Blair's views had been misrepresented and
that it was ``disingenuous'' to portray it as an admission.
During the interview, Sir David suggested that the West's intervention in Iraq
had ``so far been pretty much of a disaster''.
Mr Blair replied: ``It has, but you see what I say to people is why is it
difficult in Iraq? It's not difficult because of some accident in planning, it's
difficult because there's a deliberate strategy - al Qaida with Sunni insurgents
on one hand, Iranian-backed elements with Shia militias on the other - to create
a situation in which the will of the majority for peace is displaced by the will
of the minority for war.''
But Downing Street spokeswoman said Mr Blair did not believe that the violence
in Iraq had been a disaster.
``He was simply acknowledging the question in a polite way before going on to
explain his view.
``To portray it as some kind of admission is completely disingenuous,'' the
spokeswoman told the BBC.