Britain's Blair Apologizes for "Mistakes" in 2003 Iraq Invasion
Former British Prime MInister Tony Blair has apologized for what he calls "mistakes" made during the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq.
In an interview with CNN, Blair also cites that military intervention as a trigger for current conflicts in the region, including the rise of Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.
"Of course you can't say those of us who removed Saddam in 2003 bear no responsibility for the situation in 2015,'' he says.
While critical of the flawed information on weapons of mass destruction that led to the invasion, as well as "for some of the mistakes in planning and, certainly, our mistake in our understanding of what would happen once you removed the regime" of Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, Blair did not fully apologize for the war.
"I find it hard to apologize for removing Saddam. I think, even from today in 2015, it is better that he's not there than that he is there," Blair said.
Britain committed the second largest number of troops to the invasion - 45,000. They joined nearly 150,000 American soldiers and several thousand more from Australia, Spain and Poland.
Of the British forces, 179 were killed during the conflict.
Assad: Eliminating Terrorists Would Lead to Political Solution in Syria
Syrian President Bashar al-Assad reiterated his focus on eliminating the threat of terrorists in his country, saying Sunday that would lead to the political solution that Syrians seek to the crisis they have endured for more than four and a half years.
Assad met with a group of Russian lawmakers and other officials in Damascus, and the state-run SANA news agency said the president stressed that taking out terrorist groups would preserve Syria's sovereignty and its territorial integrity.
One member of the Russian delegation, lawmaker Alexander Yushchenko, relayed that Assad said he was prepared to take part in a new presidential election, as well as holding a vote for parliament, if that is what the Syrian people want.
Assad is serving his third term as president after he was elected for another seven years last year. That vote was held only in areas controlled by the government and was boycotted by the opposition. Assad won 89 percent of the vote.