#AceNewsServices – BRITAIN – September 22 – Tony Blair has said that politicians should heed his advice that British boots on the ground in Iraq should not be ruled out because he had experience of taking Britain to war in that country.
The former Prime Minister said people should “appreciate” that he has learnt lessons through going to war in Iraq and listen to his thoughts on tackling Islamic State because they are “precisely” the same terrorist forces he battled during the conflict.
His comments come as Lieutenant General Sir Graeme Lamb, a former director of British special forces, said it is now time to “rule in” the idea of involving British ground forces in the conflict.
The former Labour Prime Minister has said air strikes would not be enough to defeat the jihadists who have taken control of large swathes of Iraq and Syria, sending in combat troops to fight Islamic State militants on the ground should not be ruled out.
Mr Blair, whose premiership was defined by the Iraq War, has said that although there may be “no appetite” for a ground fight it may become necessary.
However when challenged that he would be the last person people would turn to for advice of the threat posed by IS he said it was “worth appreciating” that having “faced these decisions in Government” he had learnt important lessons about battling terrorists in Iraq.
Speaking to the BBC, he said: “What I say is maybe having been through all of this, having faced these decisions in government and having faced the difficult choices in Iraq after 2003, and when the very type of terrorism that we’re facing today we faced then, maybe it’s worth appreciating the fact that there are lessons I have learnt from the experience of having gone through the process of taking these decisions, of having to deal with the situation in Iraq where, as I say, precisely the same type of terrorist forces we were facing in Iraq in 2006-07 is exactly what we face now in 2014.”