Ahmed Abu Hayyan
“He should put a white coat on with a red cross and let’s start the bloody crusades again.”
This was not a Muslim activist or anti-war activist who made the recommendation to Blair but his former Deputy Prime Minister- John Prescott. Even Prescott who has always supported Blair in his political life, is in no doubt of the aggressive approach which Blair has towards the Muslim world
With George W Bush, he engaged in an illegal invasion of Iraq in 2003. This murderous adventure was without a UN mandate and against international will. The US-led invasion, dubbed as ‘Shock and Awe’ could only be compared with the Mongol invasion in 1258. Death, destruction and pillage that visited this once seat of learning and capital of the Abbasid Muslim civilisation is still haunting Iraq and the Middle East today.
Some reports have claimed the Iraq war claimed the lives of 500,000 Iraqi people and 4,486 U.S. soldiers. It cost more than $2 trillion to the US economy.
Blair used the dodgy dossier on “Iraq’s Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD): The Assessment of the British Government” to attack the country. It was littered with false allegations such as Iraq possessed WMDs, including chemical and biological weapons. It even alleged that Iraq had reconstituted its nuclear weapons programme.
Worldwide protests took place on 15th February 2003 coordinated in more than 600 world cities. Arguably this was “the largest protest event in human history”. In London, over one million people marched against the war, but the democracy which he promotes for the Muslim world was seldom practised when he was the Prime Minister of his own nation.
Blairs approach to the Middle East
Blair has made no secret of what the priorities of the western world should be and what the direction of western foreign policy should be.
In a speech at Bloomberg in London in April 2014, he said that “whatever our other differences, we should be prepared to reach out and cooperate with the East, and in particular Russia and China,” to combat Islamic extremism. He further elaborated and said that tackling “a radicalised and politicised view of Islam” should be at the top of the global political agenda.
He said many in the West seemed “curiously reluctant” to face up to a force that “is undermining the possibility of peaceful coexistence in an era of globalisation.”
He is also on record defending the violent coup by General Sisi that overthrew the Muslim Brotherhood government of Mohammed Morsi in Egypt 2013. He said that “the Muslim Brotherhood government was not simply a bad government. It was systematically taking over the traditions and institutions of the country.”
He said the protest that led to Morsi’s departure “was not an ordinary protest. It was the absolutely necessary rescue of a nation. We should support the new government and help it”.
The irony of Middle East envoy
Ironically, after a brutal campaign which left the Middle East in tatters in every sense, Tony Blair was appointed as the world’s ambassador to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict after he left Downing Street in 2007.
Blair has achieved nothing positive for the Middle East in his tenure. In fact Israel has inflicted on Palestinian Muslims indiscriminate bombings that has killed innocent women and children, was silent on extrajudicial assassinations and equally muted on a strong Zionist government. A pro-Israeli bias has been expressed throughout his role. Condemnation has not been part of the equation when it came to Gaza or bombing of refugee camps by Israel
Business pursuits has also been a feature of his Middle East venture. Blair does not disclose any of his clients, but they have included countries such as Peru, Colombia, Kuwait, Vietnam and Kazakhstan. His client group has featured PetroSaudi, an oil company with links to the Saudi royal family, finance firm JPMorgan and Mubadala, an Abu Dhabi wealth fund.
His critics highlighted links between Abu Dhabi – the UAE’s capital – and a controversial Palestinian exile, Mohammed Dahlan, who has made no secret of his desire to become the next Palestinian leader. Abu Dhabi is allegedly bankrolling his campaign to unseat the current president, Mahmoud Abbas.
Blair on ideological struggle
In a widely publicised speech Wednesday 23rd April 2014 Blair declared that Western leaders should “elevate the issue of religious extremism to the top of the agenda”.
Blair’s viewpoint is that the battle of ideas with Islam is now of greater significance than the struggle over Ukraine currently embroiling the European Union, the U.S. and Russia. He sees it as of greater importance than the economic crisis, human rights abuses and regional conflicts involving Japan, China and Western nations more generally. He warned Western leaders they must put aside their differences with Russia over Ukraine to focus on the threat of Islamic extremism saying that powerful nations must “take sides” and back “open-minded” groups. He said they must co-operate with other countries – “in particular, Russia and China” – regardless of “other differences”.
Indeed, Blair would rather see the West support Putin’s oppression of Muslims within Russia and in the Caucasus, China’s repression in Xinjiang and every monarch and dictator in the Arab world, rather than allow the Muslim world to be liberated from 100 years of subjugation.
Blair et al have struggled for decades to articulate an argument to try and divide the world’s Muslims. From ‘Islamists’ versus “moderate”.
It is a great disappointment to Blair that Islam, rather than muscular liberalism is taught in Muslim schools and institutions in the Muslim world
Blair has left a damning legacy in the Middle East which is full of tears, blood and terror. He has treated the people of the region the same way the wolf treats sheep. This part of the world will remember Blair no less similar than the other criminal rulers in the Muslim world. They too have had no concern for their affairs and their economic/political future.
Indeed he may be standing down next month but it is very clear that he plans to remain ‘active on the issues’.