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A crude motive for complex conflict

Doug Maughan tries to divert attention from Tony Blair's illegal war by unfairly comparing it to the Kosovo campaign (History revisited, Letters, March 31).

Tony Blair's excuse for invading Iraq was based on the lie that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. Over the years, since no WMDs were found, Mr Blair has subtly changed his story, claiming the war was to remove Saddam Hussein, despite regime-change being illegal. Nobody doubts Saddam was anything other than a cruel oppressor, but in 10 years since the Iraq war, which killed hundreds of thousands of people and left the lives of millions of others in ruins, tragedy has piled on tragedy, and violence and terror continues to haunt Iraq, with no end to the bloodshed in sight.

War is the politicians' ultimate failure, and should be used only as the very last resort. Tony Blair followed his US leader George Bush to war because Mr Bush was determined to punish someone for 9/11, and Saddam was in his sights, despite Iraq having nothing to do with the attacks on America.

Whatever good Mr Blair may have done during his premiership, history will remember him for failing to see the shortcomings of a revengeful US president, for ignoring the people of the UK who protested in their droves against waging war on Iraq, and for his calamitous decision to bomb and invade an innocent country.

Ruth Marr

Stirling

Perhaps it is cynicism which makes me think Nato intervention during the Bosnian war was probably less to do with the genocide being perpetrated and more to do with protecting Western oil and gas interests. This has been partly confirmed by recent reports from the oil industry that significant reserves have been discovered in that region of the Balkans.

In the 1980s, American oil companies turned their attention to Bosnia and funded major explorations. These started to deliver results until the Bosnian war broke out and the plug was pulled on further work. When the tide of the war started to favour Slobodan Milosevic (a committed socialist who followed a policy of centralisation and nationalisation of industry) Western powers, mainly US-driven, looked more closely at the direction of events. Milosevic was also heavily influenced by Aleksandar Rankovic, a Serbian communist, who looked to establish closer ties with Russia. This would have ended any Western aspirations of tapping into the oil and gas reserves. Nato was then mobilised and the rest is history.

For Bosnia read Iraq. Saddam Hussein was a Western ally until he cancelled huge arms deals for planes, tanks, guns and bombs and was also getting too cosy for comfort with Russia. For Iraq read Libya. Colonel Gaddafi was also a close friend of the West. Remember Tony Blair's "deal in the desert" when the two shook hands on major oil deals? Gaddafi too fell out of favour when he wanted to distance himself from the Western powers.

Regime change is illegal even if considered legitimate. To embark on a road where one country decides to invade another country because it disagrees with the leader or government, flouting international law in the process, is very dangerous indeed.

Steve Flynn

Cupar

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