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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…]


Tony Abbott Meets With Barack Obama At White House

Prime Minister Tony Abbott has met with US President Barack Obama at the White House in Washington DC.

Obama

Obama and Abbott each made brief comments about the Australia-US alliance and foreign policy in the Asia-Pacific region.

Obama took one question from Washington journalists on the unfolding and emergency situation in Iraq. David Speers from Australian Sky News asked Obama another question about Iraq. [Read more…]


Gillard Releases National Security Strategy

Prime Minister Julia Gillard has released the government’s National Security Strategy.

The Security Strategy document appears at the end of this page.

In a speech at the Australian National University, Gillard said the strategy “highlights the dramatic economic and strategic shift towards the Asia-Pacific region and provides a blueprint for national security over the next decade”. [Read more…]


Bush Announces Withdrawal Of 20,000 Troops From Iraq; No Timeline For Remainder

President George W. Bush has announced that 20,000 US combat troops will be withdrawn from Iraq, commencing this month.

BushDelivering a televised address from the White House, Bush made no mention of when the remaining American forces would be withdrawn.

The occupation force will still be larger than it was before the troop “surge” earlier this year.

Bush said that the role of the US troops would shift from patrolling Iraqi neighborhoods to providing support for Iraqi troops. The American force would turn its attention to hunting down Al Qaeda terrorists, he said. [Read more…]


Democrats Say Bush Failed To Provide Plans For Future Of Iraq

President Bush “failed to provide either a plan to successfully end the war or a convincing rationale to continue it”, according to Rhode Island Senator Jack Reed.

Delivering the Democratic Party response to Bush’s address, Reed said “an endless and unlimited military presence in Iraq is not an option”. [Read more…]


APEC: John Howard and George Bush Joint Press Conference

The United States President, George W. Bush, held a joint press conference with the Prime Minister, John Howard, in Sydney today.

The press conference followed Bush’s arrival in Australia last night, ahead of the APEC meeting at the end of the week. [Read more…]


Blair Announces Resignation After Ten Years As British Prime Minister

Tony Blair has announced that he will relinquish the British prime ministership on June 27.

Addressing his party members and supporters in his Sedgefield constituency, Blair confirmed his departure after ten years. He became Prime Minister on May 2, 1997.

  • Listen to Blair’s Resignation Announcement (20m)
  • Listen to Blair and Opposition Leader Cameron in the House of Commons (May 9 – 3m)

Text of Prime Minister Tony Blair’s Resignation Announcement.

Tony Blair, Prime Minister of Great Britain, 1997-2007I have come back here, to Sedgefield, to my constituency. Where my political journey began and where it is fitting it should end.

Today I announce my decision to stand down from the leadership of the Labour Party. The Party will now select a new Leader. On 27 June I will tender my resignation from the office of Prime Minister to The Queen.

I have been Prime Minister of this country for just over 10 years. In this job, in the world today, that is long enough, for me but more especially for the country. Some times the only way you conquer the pull of power is to set it down. [Read more…]