March 19, 2013 - 13:50 AMT
PanARMENIAN.Net - Iraqis would have rebelled against Saddam Hussein if there had been no invasion and it would have been "a lot worse than Syria", Tony Blair has said, according to BBC News.
Iraqis previously "rose up in large numbers and were killed in very large numbers", the former UK PM said. Asked if he had regrets, he said: "How can you regret removing a monster who created enormous carnage."
He spoke to the BBC ahead of the 10th anniversary of the invasion, led by the U.S. in coalition with the UK and others.
The invasion, which started the Iraq War, began on 20 March 2003. The UK lost 179 servicemen and women, of which 136 were killed in action, before the last British troops were withdrawn in April 2009.
Conservative estimates put the number of Iraqis killed in the invasion and ensuing sectarian violence at about 100,000.
Blair told the BBC's Norman Smith that, had troops not invaded Iraq, "without any doubt at all there would have been a move to topple him".
"I certainly think that if Saddam had still been in power, it's true there would have been, probably, an uprising amongst his people," he said. "But I think it would look a lot more like Syria and probably a lot worse than Syria."
Blair said Saddam Hussein had used chemical weapons on his own people "and that's why, when people say to me, 'do you regret removing him', my answer is 'no - how can you regret removing somebody who was a monster, who created enormous carnage - not just amongst his own people but amongst the people of the region'".
Blair said he believed "very sincerely and deeply" that the former Iraqi leader was "a security threat" who had to be dealt with.
"And if you look at what's happening in the Arab Spring today and you examine what's happening in Syria - just reflect on what Bashar al-Assad, who is a 20th as bad as Saddam, is doing to his people today and the number of lives already lost,” he said.