While the Prime Minister does not feel Iceland should apologise for being in the “Coalition of the Willing”, he said participation in it was a mistake.
Left-Green MP Svandís Svavarsdóttir recently posed a formal question to Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, asking whether or not he intended to do as former British PM Tony Blair had done, and apologise for participating in the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In the Prime Minister’s written response, he says he does not believe that Iceland’s participation – or lack thereof – made any material difference on the US-led invasion of Iraq. However, he did express the belief that Iceland should not have participated regardless.
“It is the minister’s opinion that we should not have allowed the American government to register Iceland on a list connected to military operations,” he wrote in part. “And after the list’s publication, it would have been desirable if Icelanders had clarified better, publicly, that to be on this list did not necessarily indicate support of military operations, as American representatives were made fully aware of.”
This version of events differs slightly from what reportedly happened in 2003. In March of that year, Social Democrat MP Þórunn Sveinbjarnardóttir asked then-Foreign Minister Halldór Ásgrímsson how Iceland ended up in the Coalition of the Willing. His response was that this happened in a conversation between officials in the Foreign Ministry and officials of the US President three days earlier.
This precipitated a snowball of events, within the Icelandic media and parliament alike, as to who was to blame, whether being in the coalition was a good idea – or even legal – and what ultimately should be done about it.
The full timeline of events regarding Iceland’s participation in the beginnings of the Iraq War can be read here.