Reinventing A War Criminal [Tony Blair]

by Stephen Lendman, July 2007


Britain's most despised and discredited man ended his 10 year reign June 27 when he stepped down from office transferring his ruling Labor Party's leadership to successor Gordon Brown. He had no choice because of seething public displeasure over his allying with George Bush's illegal wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. Most Brits oppose them, yet the vast majority of Labor and Conservative MPs, including new prime minister Gordon Brown, supported them early on, now may have second thoughts, but are constrained by close relations with Washington making them reluctant to back down from what they once disingenuously trumpeted as a noble cause.

That's an open question, however, the London Guardian's Jonathan Steele posed and answered June 29 if Mr. Brown was listening. Steele's message to "The new man in No 10" is "seize the day....break with Bush now....signal a fresh start by taking Britain out of Iraq." Don't bet on it. Steele says Brown is a committed "Atlanticist." He's likely weighing the proper way to begin engaging his US ally. Steele tells him how, pointing to other loyal NATO members as examples. France and Germany sent no forces to Iraq, and Italy, Spain and the Netherlands withdrew theirs. It caused no rupture in relations with Washington for any of them after some name calling at first. Why not Britain now? Steele stresses how refreshing a policy change at "No 10" would be "after the subservient Blair years."

Tony Blair began his tenure May 2, 1997 with a formidable approval rating as high at times as 90% but ended it in the mid-20% range or lower. The same is likely for George Bush already at 26% in the latest Newsweek poll suggesting it's even lower than that. Immediately post-9/11, he was compared to Lincoln, FDR and Churchill combined. It was laughable then and seems ludicrous now for a hated man barely hanging on and trying to avoid what growing numbers in the country demand - his removal from office by impeachment along with Vice-President Cheney.

The feeling of many in Britain is that by allying with George Bush, Mr. Blair left a legacy of "dashed hopes and big disappointments, of so much promised and so little delivered." That's in spite of helping advance the Northern Ireland peace process, begun before he took office, and that leaders in Ireland had lots more to do with than him.

Just hours after standing down, the announcement everyone knew in advance came, surprising no one but angering most. Referring to the so-called Quartet, the BBC reported June 27: "Tony Blair is to become a Middle East envoy working on behalf of the US, Russia, the UN and the EU." The London Guardian called him "the Quartet's fifth horseman," an appointment that "beggars belief." In his new capacity, he'll replace former World Bank president James Wolfensohn who resigned last year for lack of progress he never had a chance to achieve in the first place.

Neither will Mr. Blair, nor will he try to, as Alvaro de Soto, former UN Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process and envoy to the Quartet, explained in his leaked End of Mission Report. It noted Wolfensohn was originally to cover the entire peace process, but what emerged for him was a narrowly constricted role. De Soto said he was " US envoys and (Secretary Condoleezza) Rice." As a result, Wolfensohn stepped down from his job in April, 2006 with "a more jaundiced view of Israel (and US) policies than he had upon entering."

Based on his sordid war criminal record post-9/11, Tony Blair won't likely have the qualms that got James Wolfensohn to resign his job. He's taking it to reinvent himself, but that's no more likely than convincing carnivores to become vegetarians. He'll first visit Ramallah in the West Bank, showing up as a Trojan horse fooling no one about what's behind his slick-tongued hypocrisy.

In its effort to obscure more than enlighten, BBC omitted this explanation and could barely go beyond saying Mr. Blair "faces an uphill task to address Palestinian misgivings over his ties to Israel and the US." Left out as well were the reasons why. How can a war criminal reinvent himself as a peace envoy to the region he waged war against and have any credibility or hope of achieving anything. Further, how could he do it when his brief is quite opposite public pronouncements about it.

Under the false mantle of peacemaker, he's Washington's man and the West's envoy to Israel. His job is to continue six decades of ethnic cleansing war and repression against defenseless Palestinians, support open conflict doing it if necessary, ally with an illegitimate quisling Fatah government, and outrageously claim he's there seeking peace.

Tony Blair is a war maker, not a peacemaker. He's a criminal and, like George Bush and Dick Cheney, should be held accountable for his crimes. He willfully partnered with the Bush administration in its wars of aggression in Afghanistan, Iraq and against the occupied people of Palestine. He joined in cutting off essential aid to the Palestinian people and renounced its democratically elected Hamas government without ever giving it a chance to prove itself. He also supported Israel's aggressive wars against Lebanon, Gaza and the West Bank, and, in short, partnered in backing war and avoiding peace. He now has a new title in his new job. His mission is the same. He'll bring no peace to the Middle East nor does he intend to.

Blair's appointment sends a clear message to the region. Peace is not on the agenda nor will he help Palestinians get what they want most - an end to 60 years of Israeli repression, discrimination, occupation and colonization; freedom, justice, real peace and security; a sovereign integral independent Palestinian state with Jerusalem as its capital; and the guaranteed right affirmed everyone in Article 13 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that: "Everyone has the right to leave any country, including his own, and return to his country." UN Resolution 194 mandated Palestinians that right in 1948 and reaffirmed it in the General Assembly 130 times with near-universal consensus except for Israel, the US and a Pacific Island state or two pathetically going along at times.

From "No 10" to the Middle East - A Record of Shame

Tony Blair is despised and discredited at home, hated across the world, and the Arab street condemns him. Appointing him peace envoy to the region he warred against is a galling insult to its people, all others of conscience and all humanity. Nonetheless, he has the job and started off on his last day in office June 27 telling his Parliament: "The absolute priority is to try to give effect to what is now the consensus across the international community - that the only way of bringing stability and peace to the Middle East is a two-state solution."

The London Independent's veteran Middle East correspondent, Robert Fisk, summed up the feelings of many in his article dated June 23 titled: "How can Blair possibly be given this job?" He began it saying "I suppose that astonishment is not the word for it. Stupefaction comes to mind. I simply could not believe my ears in Beirut (where Fisk is based) when a phone call told me that Lord Blair of Kut al-Amara (where British forces were defeated by the Ottomans in WW I) was going to create 'Palestine.' " Fisk continued calling Blair "vain, deceitful, a proven liar, a trumped up lawyer (with) the blood of thousands of Arab (people) on his hands."

He'll not be welcomed or aided with a brief constricting him within vaguely stated areas of Palestinian governance, economics and security rather than letting him take on the entire range of issues causing the Israeli - Palestinian conflict. Unstated is what his real mission is that Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert set straight by calling Mr. Blair "A true friend of the State of Israel." Israeli foreign minister Tzipi Livni added: "Tony Blair is a very well-appreciated figure in Israel," and an official Israeli government statement said Blair "will (be) provide(d) with all necessary assistance in order for him to carry out his duties."

Indeed he will, and it's to support Israeli interests by denying Palestinians theirs. Governance means by the illegitimate Fatah; economics is funding it with weapons and materials against Hamas as well as propping it up financially; and security is by hard line street enforcement and continued conflict aimed at routing the elected government and installing a quisling one over the entire Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT).

Tony Blair is the right man for the wrong job and the wrong man for the kind of job he should be sent to do. He has no interest in peace and a long sordid record of contempt for Palestinian rights and justice from his committed one-sided support for Israel. His job is to further the concocted "clash of civilizations" against "heathen Arab terrorists" blaming the victims for crimes he helped commit against them. He feigns helping Palestinians by allying with Fatah's traitorous Mahmoud Abbas in the West Bank while continuing to condemn and marginalize the democratically elected Hamas government in Gaza.

Abbas conspired with Israel and the US going back to Olso or earlier. He partnered with his western-supported paramilitary warlord muscleman, Mohammed Dahlan, for war on Hamas hoping to unseat it violently but failed. He then brazenly dismissed the legitimate Hamas government June 17, appointing an illegitmate "emergency" quisling one in its place. He's its president and western darling and former World Bank and IMF official Salam Fayyad was made prime minister. Writer and editor Rami Khoury calls it a "government of the imagination." He also said " something like appointing Emperor Nero to be the chief fireman of Rome," and add to that the notion of having the fox look after the henhouse.

He's mandated to back Fatah in its role as Israel's enforcer and deny Palestinians any chance for freedom, equity and justice. Tony Blair will go to the region in a limited subservient role for Israel and the US. He's to play frontman shoring up support for Abbas, Fayyad, and Dahlan, work against the interests of the legitimate Palestinian government and its people, and leave the heavy lifting undermining efforts to Washington and Jerusalem. He's going in spite of being totally discredited in the region by people who despise him. He did nothing for them nor will he ever, yet this arrogant man claims he's going to bring real peace to the region.

Fisk refers to "His unique blend of ruthlessness and dishonesty." The Arab street understands and despises him for it, but his agenda "go(es) down quite well with our local Arab dictators." Fisk refers to his "slippery use of language....with appeals for restraint on all sides....and moderation" while backing what US State Department spokesman Sean McCormack characterizes as a "well-governed state." That's one with hard line street enforcement and what Fisk calls "lots of (tough) 'terror laws.' "

It's a perfect setup for repressive rule, denying Palestinians all civil and human rights doing it. Blair's the right frontman - from war criminal to street enforcer in the name of peace he has contempt for. The irony is galling. Applied to him, it's "Beyond (the kind of) Chutzpah" Middle East expert Norman Finkelstein wrote about in his book by that title. Watch for him later to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize for his "efforts." If it gets it, he'll join the ugly ranks of past war criminal honorees like Henry Kissinger, Menachem Begin, Shimon Perez, Yitzhak Rabin, and Kofi Annan in a pathetic weak-kneed supporting role. Mr. Blair will fit right in...


Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago and can be reached at

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