Tony Blair Says Iraq Is In Mortal Danger And The Middle East Is Under Threat

The former UK Prime Minister, Tony Blair, says that the Iraqi government has to be supported in beating back the insugency that has seen the terrorist group ISIS seize control of major cities.

BlairIn an essay released by his office, Blair says “it is a bizarre reading of the cauldron that is the Middle East today, to claim that but for the removal of Saddam, we would not have a crisis”.

Blair says: “… if we want the right policy for the future, we have to learn properly the lessons not just of Iraq in 2003 but of the Arab uprisings from 2011 onwards.”

The man who joined with former US President George W. Bush in a “coalition of the willing” to invade Iraq and overthrow Saddam Hussein in 2003 says the Middle East is “going through a huge, agonising and protracted transition”.

He says: “We have to liberate ourselves from the notion that ‘we’ have caused this. We haven’t. We can argue as to whether our policies at points have helped or not; and whether action or inaction is the best policy and there is a lot to be said on both sides. But the fundamental cause of the crisis lies within the region not outside it.”

Text of an essay released by the Office of Tony Blair.

Iraq, Syria and the Middle East – An essay by Tony Blair

The civil war in Syria with its attendant disintegration is having its predictable and malign effect. Iraq is now in mortal danger. The whole of the Middle East is under threat.

We will have to re-think our strategy towards Syria; support the Iraqi Government in beating back the insurgency; whilst making it clear that Iraq’s politics will have to change for any resolution of the current crisis to be sustained. Then we need a comprehensive plan for the Middle East that correctly learns the lessons of the past decade. In doing so, we should listen to and work closely with our allies across the region, whose understanding of these issues is crucial and who are prepared to work with us in fighting the root causes of this extremism which goes far beyond the crisis in Iraq or Syria. [Read more…]


Asylum Seeker Allegations: I Trust The Navy, Abbott Says

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has dismissed allegations that Australian Navy personnel burnt the hands of asylum seekers.

Abbott

Speaking in Davos, Switzerland, at the World Economic Forum, Abbott said there was no evidence for the allegations. He said: “These are just claims without any apparent facts to back them up. I fully support the statement of the Minister on this subject and I have complete confidence in the decency, the humanity and the professionalism of Australia’s Navy and customs personnel.” [Read more…]


Government Expels Syrian Diplomats

The Syrian Chargé d’affaires, Mr Jawdat Ali, has been given 72 hours to leave Australia.

The decision was announced at 4.30pm today by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Senator Bob Carr. One other Syrian diplomat has also been expelled.

The expulsion is in response to the massacre of 100 people in Haoula. [Read more…]