The reports from the Joint Intelligence Committee (JIC), which were previously classified, tell the story of the security services’ increasing concern that the war and occupation was fuelling ever more extremism in Iraq.
The evidence also appears to debunk repeated claims by former PM Tony Blair that IS began in the Syrian civil war and not Iraq, positioning the brutal group’s rise clearly within Iraq’s borders.
The Chilcot findings were backed up Thursday by serving Foreign Secretary Phillip Hammond. He told The Foreign Affairs Committee “many of the problems we see in Iraq today stem from that disastrous decision to dismantle the Iraqi army and embark on a program of de-Baathification.”
“That was the big mistake of post-conflict planning. If we had gone a different way afterwards we might have been able to see a different outcome,” he said.
Hammond conceded that many members of Saddam’s armed forces today filled top roles in IS.
“It is clear a significant number of former Baathist officers have formed the professional core of Daesh [IS] in Syria and Iraq and have given that organization the military capability it has shown in conducting its operations.”