Prime Minister Blair yesterday said UK forces had to be ready for action in Sudan and Somalia as part of a policy of foreign intervention around the globe.
In an interview with the BBC Today programme, Blair said: ‘I think the world in which we live in today means that our self interest cannot be pursued unless we understand that what happens today in one part of the world affects us ultimately in our part of the world.’
He added: ‘If we let Sudan get any worse, if we let Somalia crumble, if we don’t intervene to try to help those countries in Africa, at some point in the world in which we live today, those problems will come back and visit themselves upon us.
‘I think we can be proud of the interventions we have made.
‘In removing the dictatorships that we have from Sierra Leone, from Kosovo, from Afghanistan and Iraq, yes, I believe the world is a better place, for the removal of those dictators.’
Earlier in the interview he admitted that UK troops may have to return to Basra, the day after he announced 1,600 UK troops would be withdrawn next month.
Blair said: ‘If we’re needed to go back in at any set of circumstances, we can.’
He was asked should he not be apologising to Iraqis for the ‘hell on earth for the people that live there’.
He said: ‘No I don’t think we should be apologising because we’re not causing the terrorism.’
He continued to promote UK forces as an agency of world imperialism, saying: ‘There is a global struggle going on which is centred on the Middle East but not confined to the Middle East.’
The interviewer said: ‘Let’s stay with Iraq for the moment. The fact is, it is disastrous what is happening.’
Unapologetic, Blair replied: ‘The responsibility exists for the people doing the violence.’
Moving on to Iran, the interviewer quoted Jack Straw as telling him an attack against Iran is ‘inconceivable’. He asked Blair: ‘Is that still your government’s view?’
Blair replied: ‘Nobody’s preparing for military action. No-one wants military action.’
Pressed, he added: ‘I personally think you will never have a situation where you can simply say there are no set of circumstances in which you could ever conceive of anything else.’
He claimed: ‘I know of nobody in Washington that is planning for military action against Iran.’
He strenuously denied the interviewer’s suggestion of ‘a nod and a wink to the Israelis to go and bomb a few facilities’.
But Blair added: ‘You can’t absolutely predict every set of circumstances that come about. I can tell you that Iran is not Iraq.
‘There is, as far as I know, no planning going on to make an attack on Iran and people are pursuing a diplomatic and political solution, for a very good reason, incidentally.
‘Because it’s the only solution that anyone can think of that is viable and sensible.
‘Can I just make this point – the question people should be asking me is what do you do if they get a nuclear weapon?’