First Wednesday: Chilcot and the Legacy of Iraq

Talk Wednesday 6 July 2016, 8:30 PM

Seven years after the announcement of the Iraq Inquiry by then-Prime Minister Gordon Brown, the long-awaited report into the UK’s involvement in Iraq from 2001 until 2009 is finally due to be published on Wednesday 6 July. Drafted by a select committee led by Sir John Chilcot, the report aims to consider how and why the UK government decided to join the US-led invasion of Iraq; whether the legality of the war was ever fully addressed by those in power; and the ways in which efforts towards reconstruction in the aftermath of war were mishandled. At reportedly 2.6 million words long, the report’s stated objective is to identify the lessons learned for the future.

It is now thirteen years since US and British troops entered Iraq and the significant costs are still being counted: hundreds of thousands of lives lost, millions of refugees, increased insecurity for the UK, enormous financial cost, and the emergence of Daesh contributing to an increasingly volatile region. Will the much-delayed report sufficiently address the UK’s widely criticised involvement? We will be joined by a panel of experts to hear their initial reactions – and without the power to assign criminal culpability, we will consider the report’s potential impact in bringing those accountable to justice and in assuring that a foreign policy disaster of this scale is not repeated.

Chaired by Channel 4 News international editor, Lindsey Hilsum.

The panel:

Hayder al-Khoei is an associate fellow at the Middle East and North Africa programme at Chatham House and research director of the Centre for Academic Shi’a Studies. He is also a member of the Atlantic Council’s Task Force on the future of Iraq.

Carne Ross is the executive director of Independent Diplomat. He is a former British diplomat who resigned in 2004 after giving evidence to the Butler Inquiry into the Iraq war.

Emma Sky is a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute. She worked in the Middle East for twenty years and was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire for services in Iraq. She is the author of The Unraveling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq.

Christopher Elliott, retired as a major general from the British Army in 2002. He is currently a visiting professor of Cranfield University, an associate fellow of RUSI and author of High Command: British Military Leadership in the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars.