Reinventing A War Criminal [Tony
by Stephen Lendman
www.zmag.org, 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 "highjacked....by
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
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
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
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
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 "Appointing....Blair....is 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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
Also visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com
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