Kofi Annan, the former UN secretary general, said the US-led invasion of Iraq was a mistake and helped to create the Islamist State militant group. He also blamed regional powers for making the conflict worse.
“I was against this invasion and my fears have been founded. The break-up of the Iraqi forces poured hundreds if not thousands of disgruntled soldiers and police officers onto the streets,” Kofi Annan told the Munich Security Conference on Sunday.
He added that some of these former security force members went on to join the Islamic State. “The aim of creating democracy without the existing institutions ushered in corrupt sectarian governments,” Annan said.
He added that the country has been unstable ever since and this has proved the perfect breeding ground for Sunni radical Muslims, who have become affiliated with the Islamic State.
The Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) stunned the world last summer by capturing large swaths of Iraq and Syria, including the city of Mosul in mid-June. The group has created what it calls an Islamic caliphate that straddles the Iraq-Syria border.