The Israel Times has reported that Israel is seeking to install former British prime minister Tony Blair as a humanitarian coordinator for the Gaza Strip, according to a report Sunday, out of a desire to improve the humanitarian situation inside the Palestinian enclave and reduce international pressure as it continues to wage its war on Hamas. Source. Is he really the best man for the job given his past experience?
The Ynet news outlet, citing unnamed senior officials, said Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hopes to leverage Blair’s experience as former envoy to the region for the Middle East Quartet to temper international concerns over the civilian cost of Israel’s campaign in Gaza.
Although Ynet said the exact definition, scope and authority of the proposed role had not yet been clearly defined, adding that there would be an emphasis on “providing medical treatment and medicines, and on the possibility of evacuating the wounded and sick from the Strip.” Source
According to the report, efforts at easing the humanitarian situation in Gaza are being coordinated by Israel’s health and defense ministries, with the former assisting in a number of projects in recent weeks, including efforts by international actors to set up field hospitals in Egypt and the arrival of a hospital ship from France. Source
People are a Tad Surprised at the News
The above tweet is obviously referring to Tony Blair‘s past experience of choosing to commit British troops in joining the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, which deserves a mention here at this time.
An inquiry was conducted by Sir john Chilcot namely, “the Chilcot inquiry and said that the decision the then Prime Minister Blair’s cabinet to invade was made in circumstances that were “far from satisfactory.” The Inquiry found:
- Blair had chosen for Britain to join the US invasion of Iraq before peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted and military action was not a last resort (source).
- He deliberately exaggerated the threat posed by Saddam Hussein and the threat posed by the Iraqi regime as he sought to make the case for military action to MPs and the public in the buildup to the invasion in 2002 and 2003. (source).
- Blair disregarded warnings about the potential consequences of military action, and relied too heavily on his own beliefs, rather than the more nuanced judgments of the intelligence services.
- Judgments about Iraq’s capabilities …” were presented with a certainty that was not justified,” the report says (source).
- The decision to invade was made in unsatisfactory circumstances (source).
- Britain’s intelligence agencies produced “flawed” information about Saddam’s alleged weapons of mass destruction, the basis for going to war. and made no attempt to consider the possibility that he had got rid of them, which he had. (source).
According to the inquiry there had been no imminent threat from Saddam Hussein and Blair was also told between early 2002 and March 2003 Blair that, post-invasion, Iraq could degenerate into civil war. In September 2002, the US Secretary of State, Colin Powell, predicted “a terrible bloodletting of revenge after Saddam goes.”
Britain’s previous strategy of containment could have been adopted and continued for some time and had Tony Blair refused for the UK to join the US in the war there would no have been a lasting change in the UK’s relationship with the US” yet wrote to George W Bush eight months before the Iraq invasion to offer his unqualified backing for war well before UN weapons inspectors had completed their work, saying: “I will be with you, whatever” (source).
The UK military were seriously ill-equipped for the task in Iraq and “humiliating” deals were stuck with enemy militias. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) planned the invasion in a rush and was slow to react to the security threats on the ground, particularly the use of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) that killed so many British troops.
The invasion and subsequent occupation resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of individuals as well as the displacement of over 4 million others in Iraq.
Chilcot said that by 2009, when UK forces were pulled out of Iraq,. Iraq was gripped by “deep sectarian divisions”. There was a fragile situation in Basra, rows over oil revenues, and rampant corruption inside Iraqi government ministries. Chilcot describes as “meagre” the results of Britain’s costly six-year occupation, according to Chilcot.
The Chilcot inquiry’s conclusion that the unnecessary invasion of Iraq undermined the United Nations required the prosecution of Tony Blair. The High court however ruled that Tony Blair should not face prosecution for his role in the 2003 Iraq war, as according to the lord chief justice, Lord Thomas of Cwmgiedd, and another senior judge, Mr Justice Ouseley, there was no crime of aggression in English law under which the former prime minister could be charged.
Michael Mansfield QC, argued that the international crime of a war of aggression had been accepted by then UK attorney general Sir Hartley Shawcross QC in the 1940s, at the time of the Nuremberg trials of Nazi war crimes.
The decision also blocked an attempt by a former Iraqi general, Abdulwaheed al-Rabbat, to bring a private war crimes prosecution against the former Labour leader. Imran Khan, the solicitor who represented the general, said: “Iraq has been left decimated and in a state of chronic instability. Despite all of this, and the clear findings of the Chilcot inquiry which laid bare the conduct of those that should be held to account, the high court has confirmed that there is to be no accountability. Those responsible are to remain unpunished. This is not justice.” He continued.
“Other countries, including Germany, Kosovo, and Serbia, have enacted domestic legislation, Khan said. “The failure of the British government to give tangible commitment to the prosecution of the crime of aggression undermines the rule of law. It sets a dangerous precedent in times of global insecurity and sets an example to the rest of the world of how to commit the most serious of crimes and get away with it” (source).
The former Labour leader and British prime minister from 1997 to 2007, has no qualms to accuse others of “savagery.”
The Man For The Job
Strangely enough, someone thinks that Blair who was the envoy for the Quartet from 2007 to 2015 is the man for the job.
The Israel Times says “The Middle East Quartet consists of the United Nations, the European Union, the United States and Russia, and was established to help mediate Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations. It has been largely inactive in recent years, as Western relations with Russia have soured.” Source
Blair’s office said in a statement to Ynet that “Mr. Blair maintains an office in Israel and he continues to work on matters tied to Israel and the Palestinians. Understandably, he has conversations with people in the region and other places in order to see what can be done, but he was not given or offered the role.”
However, the report also indicated Blair has been contacted on the matter and talks have been ongoing in recent weeks. The former British leader’s office told Ynet in response that “he has not been given or offered a position,” but did not directly deny any contact.”
It’s a mad world.
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Blair On October 11, Blair, who is a longtime member of Labour Friends of Israel, released a statement condemning Hamas’s “brutal onslaught” in southern Israel, and calling for change. said the Israel Times
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