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Former PM Tony Blair backed Iraq War one year prior to invasion: Report

The former Prime Minister’s support of US military action against Saddam Hussein was found within Hillary Clinton’s private email server
Blair, who served as prime minister between 1997 and 2007, has repeatedly denied rushing to war (AFP)

Former British prime minister Tony Blair apparently committed to join the United States in the Iraq war a year before the 2003 invasion, documents obtained by a Sunday newspaper suggested.

The former Prime Minister’s willingness to support the US in military action against Saddam Hussein was found in a note from former US Secretary of State Colin Powell.

The document was found deep within a trove of secret emails on Hillary Clinton’s private email server, the former Secretary of State under President Obama.

The revelations focus on a memo allegedly written by former US secretary of state Colin Powell on March 28, 2002 to then president George Bush a week before the US leader's meeting with Blair at his ranch in Crawford, Texas.

"On Iraq, Blair will be with us should military operations be necessary," wrote Powell, in a document the Mail on Sunday published on its website.

"He is convinced on two points: the threat is real; and success against Saddam will yield more regional success," Powell said, referring to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein, who was eventually ousted in the 2003 US-led invasion.

A separate quote from Powell assured Bush "the UK will follow our lead in the Middle East", while other statements suggest Blair's willingness to present "strategic, tactical and public affairs lines" to strengthen public support for the Iraq war.

Blair, who served as prime minister between 1997 and 2007, has repeatedly denied rushing to war. Under his leadership, Britain made the second biggest troop contribution to the Iraq invasion, and British forces were stationed in the country until 2011.

The decision to back the invasion is now deeply unpopular in Britain and has haunted Blair's Labour Party ever since.

His office was not immediately available for comment.

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