Almost five years since its inception, the Iraq Inquiry led by Sir John Chilcot seems to have found its way to the conclusive phase with the publication of its final report due in mid-2014. The gridlock which stalled the Inquiry for years has been sorted out by a compromise agreement between Chilcot and the Cabinet secretary, Sir Jeremy Heywood. The latter, instructed by David Cameron, in turn “instructed” by Blair, had been resisting calls for the publication, within the final report, of the correspondence between Tony Blair and George Bush in the months before the war.
Extracts of the correspondence are expected to be published in the report in redacted form. When the Chilcot Report will be out, MPs will debate it in order to find what lessons should be learned. This long-lasting diplomatic effort is likely to reinforce MPs who are demanding an even greater say of legislators over the executive and it is a chance of progress for the enforcemente of the “right to know”. It’s a step towards greater accountability of governments before their institutions and public opinions. This is one the subjects that our Brussels Conference of 18 and 19 February will bedealing with.
Meanwhile, if the number of days from the publication of the Chilcot Report is diminishing, the number of civilians killed in Iraq is growing. The NYT reported that according to the UN in January 733 people lost their lives. According to the project Iraq Body Count, the total is 1076.