During surprise visit to Basra: Blair justifies Iraq war, speaks about ''virus of Islamic extremism''
On a surprise visit to British forces, Prime Minister Tony Blair said Sunday that Iraq was a "test case" in the global fight against "terror" and repression.
The British leader said nations that develop weapons of mass destruction are a "huge liability for the whole security of the world."
Blair visited the southern city of Basra to thank British troops for their part in the war and to meet with military commanders.
"This conflict here was a conflict of enormous importance because Iraq was a test case," he told some of the 10,000 British troops stationed in and around Basra, The AP reported. "If we backed away from that, we would never be able to confront this threat in the other countries where it exists."
Blair said Saddam's regime "had a proven record of use of weapons of mass destruction" and that "literally hundreds of thousands of its citizens died in prison camps."
Blair last visited British troops in Basra in May.
"No government that owes its position to the will of the people will spend billions of pounds on chemical and biological and nuclear weapons whilst their people live in poverty," Blair said.
"Brutal and repressive states that don't actually have the support or consent of their people that are developing weapons which can cause destruction on a massive scale are a huge, huge liability to the whole security of the world," he said.
He also referred to "the virus of Islamic extremism that is a perversion of the true faith of Islam."
Blair flew into Iraq by military aircraft from the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Sharm el-Sheikh.
Additionally, Blair visited a new police academy in the small town of Az Zubayr, where he watched Iraqi officers being trained in self defense. (Albawaba.com)
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