It simply beggars belief that there are some in the British media who still take the former British Prime Minister, Tony Blair, even vaguely seriously. Last Friday, we were treated to two 'exclusives' featuring Blair; on the front pages of The Times and the the Daily Mirror. All this in the same week that we learned that Blair had agreed to become a 'godfather' to a child of the Murdoch Empire's own 'Godfather', Rupert Murdoch, and that he had helped the murderous Saif al Islam (yes, Colonel Gadaffi's son) with his exam revision at the London School of Economics. Quite how both newspapers managed to keep proverbial straight faces while printing homilies from the man who took Britain into an illegal and bloody war, is anyone's guess. Nonetheless they managed to do so, because this is Britain, a parochial and increasingly backward country.
Blair used the occasion of the 9/11 attacks on civilians in America by civilian terrorists , not to apologise for getting it so horribly wrong over those non-existent Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Nor did he apologise to the countless Iraqis who have lost family, who suffered the indignities of a botched occupation or who even now suffer crippling injuries. He didn't apologise to the families of British servicemen or women who lost loved ones either.
Instead he offered up Iran as the 'next great threat', blissfully unaware that he was offering up the prospect of more death and destruction on the weekend that many Americans were commemorating their dead. But then self awareness has never been one of Tony Blair's strong points. Not content with outdoing the most hawkish of the remaining hawks, Blair's predilection for endless war, was rounded off in a separate interview that rejected the view that the failed war in Afghanistan and the illegal one in Iraq, had helped encourage Islamist extremism. "I hear this wherever I go in the Middle East", says that man who quite unbelievably was made the Quartet's Middle East representative.
Let us be quite clear, and for the benefit of The Times and the Daily Mirror, and all of those toadying hacks who spent years taking crumbs from Blair's table; the former British Prime Minister not only knows very little about foreign affairs, he knows even less about history. His actions in Government would suggest also that he should neither be trusted nor taken remotely seriously.
Iran does not constitute any threat to the United Kingdom, whatever Blair may think or whatever that country's blustering leader Ahmadinijad may imagine. Its influence in the region has of course grown as many of us said it would, with the defeat of Saddam Hussein's Sunni dominated rule in Iraq. And Iran does seem bent on developing a nuclear programme that could encompass the development of nuclear weapons, much as Israel has done. However, Iran does have plenty of reasons not to like the British very much, reasons that of course Blair will largely be ignorant. For not only did the British topple the popular Iranian Nationalist Premier Mossadeq in 1953 for daring to nationalise the country's oil industry, but successive British Government's help prop up the Shah and his brutish regime. Widespread allegations of torture by some British soldiers against Iraqis simply add to the poisonous brew.
Whatever action that may be taken against Iran for breaches of the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty is a matter for the United Nations, but it is worth pointing out to Blair that Iran is at least a signatory to the Nuclear Non Proliferation Treaty, unlike Israel. Perhaps Tony Blair might like to bring this discrepancy to the next AIPAC Conference, when he flies in to be their guest?
The Iranian regime is of course not to everyone's tastes, including a growing number of Iranians themselves. It has brutally cracked down on demonstrators, and cannot remain immune from the popular revolts that have taken place across the Arab World. But Blair's strangely infantile but dangerous intervention can only help the Iranian hard-liners, which is of course what some of his critics may claim. In this I suspect they are wrong, because Blair clearly hasn't thought this one through.
By claiming that the Iraq War has had nothing to do with the growing radicalisation of some, Tony Blair is of course engaged in the usual and predictable denial game. He would have had a point had he said it wasn't the only factor.
Given Britain's record in the Middle East in the last century in particular it is indeed surprising that this country is not even more disliked than it is. With the honourable exception of the self interest that led to those such as the late Captain TE Lawrence being allowed to help Arabs overthrow Ottoman tyranny, just take a quick skip through the 20th century and ask yourself; "If I was an Arab Muslim, how would I feel?"
Arabs blame Britain for the Balfour Declaration and the appropriation of Palestinian land. The process is so well advanced now that barely a scattering of largely disconnected Palestinian 'Bantustans' remain. A bid for statehood by the beleagured Palestinians, overwhelmingly supported by the court of World opinion, looks set to be vetoed by the United States in the UN Security Council.Throughout much of the 20th century the US and the UK used their Security Council veto repeatedly to support Israel. Both countries turned a blind eye to that country's nuclear weapons programme. From the toppling of Mossadeq, to the invasion of Suez and the illegal war on Iraq, Britain in particular has a record to be ashamed of. It is this long and miserable record that has helped fuel resentment, and in isolated cases, terrorism.
Tony Blair presided over and a fairly inglorious, bloody decade in power. He cannot apologise and has difficulty with empathy, which is why he used the 9/11 memorial weekend to crassly rehearse his permanent war mantra. He clearly has no shame, and neither do those journalists who persist in granting him the oxygen of publicity.
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