» Tuesday, February 7, 2006


Asked, referral to John Reid’s speech tonight, could the Government reassure troops’ families that any troops who had just come back from Iraq would not be sent straight on to Afghanistan, the PMOS replied that in terms of deployments, while he knew that the MOD did everything they could to ensure that deployments were as sensitive to families’ needs as possible, he was not going to get into the detail of which regiments etc. That was matter for the MOD.

Put that John Reid’s speech tonight made clear that we should not expect Iraq to become a western-style democracy, and that was never the intention, but what was the message from No10 to some of the people whose loved ones had died "simply to see the installation of what could be an Iran-style theocracy", the PMOS said that in terms of Iraq, the reality was that it was a country made up of different ethnic groupings. Therefore, if people were looking for a simply majority rule-style government in Iraq, that was not what was going to happen. There would always be a constitution, and a democracy that reflected the different ethnic groupings contained in Iraq. It was no less a democracy because it had to reflect the complex make-up of the nature of the country. That was the case in other countries too – including in part of this country, Northern Ireland. However, is a democratic Iraq a much better place than an Iraq ruled over by a British dictator? Answer: yes. Is there much more chance of the different ethnic groupings coming to some kind of agreement as to how to live together in peace and normality at present than there was under the dictatorship? Answer: yes. Would that have happened without the war? Answer: no.

Asked if we were uneasy about the fact that there might be an anti-Western government, the PMOS said that that was not what John Reid was saying. What he was saying was that if people were looking for a simple translation of the British or the American system, then it was going to be different. That was the reality of the ethnic grouping.

Briefing took place at 7:00 | Search for related news

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