By Mick Krever, CNN
Former British Prime Minister is “sickened” by gruesome photos that allegedly prove the torture and killing of thousands of prisoners by the Assad regime in Syria, he told CNN’s Hala Gorani, sitting in for Christiane Amanpour.
Amanpour broke the story in an exclusive report Monday. It is based on the work of renowned war crimes prosecutors and forensic experts who say a Syrian defector has provided the “smoking gun” of the Syrian regime’s “killing machine.”
“What’s happening there, and those pictures and those scenes that we saw, are just evidence of it – what is happening there is not going to stop at the borders of Syria,” Blair said. “And that’s what we’ve got to realize, I’m afraid.”
The former British prime minister spoke with Gorani from Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the annual World Economic Forum.
This week another conference, also in Switzerland, will get underway to try to find a negotiated solution to Syria’s on-going and bloody conflict.
There has been some controversy over Iran’s attendance at the conference. The U.N. invited Iran, but immediately became the recipient of harsh criticism from the U.S., which says that Iran has not agreed to the framework laid out in a previous conference.
On Monday, the U.N. rescinded Iran’s invitation.
The “rescinding of the invitation was pretty obvious and clear,” he said. “If countries aren’t prepared to come on [the basis of the framework agreement], there doesn’t seem much point in participating.”
Some Brits have gone to extreme lengths to express their frustration with Blair’s role in the Iraq war, with one London bartender even attempting a citizen’s arrest on the former prime minister while he dined in a London restaurant.
“Apart from the fact that it’s not normal to get that experience with a waiter in a restaurant,” Blair said, those sorts of confrontation don’t bother him.
“If you intervene, as we did, and removed on any basis a brutal dictator in Saddam, responsible for hundreds of thousands of people dying, you end up with a very difficult set of consequences you’ve got to face up to.”
If you don’t intervene, he added, one faces similarly difficult consequences.