Far be it from me to suggest that all the problems of the Middle East would be instantly solved if Tony Blair were banned from visiting the region and indeed talking about it. But it would be a good start.
First a little historical background. When Tony was our PM he played lickspittle to George ‘Yo, Blair!’ Bush, who in turn was the dummy to neocon ventriloquists. In committing Britain to the harebrained attack on Iraq, Tony was thus in effect a dummy’s dummy.
That idiotic, criminal action, accompanied by the usual complement of lies, pushed the button on a delayed-action bomb in the region. Actually, the action wasn’t as delayed as all that: within a mere 10 years several secular governments collapsed, the Middle East was aflame, the rest of the world was brought to the brink of a major conflagration, the only civilised country in the neighbourhood was put in grave danger – graver even than anything Israel has had to face for the last 65 years.
One would think that the only comment Tony, one of the principal instigators of the calamity, could possibly make would be mea culpa. Now he’s a Catholic he must have heard the words that one time he attended mass with Cherie.
So do we hear an apology from him? Do we hell. All we hear is inane, illiterate bleating and yelps for attacking the last secular government standing, that of Syria’s Assad.
The latest outpouring came through The Mail’s good offices, and I have to thank Tony for making my job much easier. In common with many intellectually challenged individuals, he’ll hoist himself with his own petard given a chance to talk. All I have to do is add a few parenthetical comments.
“Syria is in a state of accelerating disintegration. President Assad is brutally pulverising communities hostile to his regime. At least 80,000 have died.”
[How many of them have been murdered by Assad’s opponents? You know, those chaps who eat people’s internal organs on camera? Without this information the body count is meaningless.]
“The Syrian opposition is made up of many groups. The fighters are increasingly the Al Qaeda-affiliated group Jabhat al-Nusra. They are winning support, and arms and money from outside the country.”
[So does Tony want to stop this support? Au contraire, as he’d have said during his dish-washing career in Paris. He wants to give them more ‘arms and money from outside the country’. And if that doesn’t do the trick, he wants us to attack Syria. Why?]
Because “we are at the beginning of this tragedy. Its capacity to destabilise the region is clear.”
[A startling admission, that. We started ‘this tragedy’, so we might as well make it worse.]
“To the South in Egypt and across North Africa, Muslim Brotherhood parties are in power…”
[Quite. And Tony has just admitted it’s partly his fault. So what’s he going to do about it?]
“When I return to Jerusalem soon, it will be my 100th visit to the Middle East since leaving office, working to build a Palestinian state.”
[The logic is unassailable. Because ‘Muslim Brotherhood parties’ are in control elsewhere, they should be given yet another state, this one wholly their own.]
“But are we really going to examine it and find no common thread, nothing that joins these dots, no sense of an ideology driving or at least exacerbating it all?”
[Not at all, Tone. We’ve found it. It’s called Islam, the only major religion that has the murder of infidels and apostates built into its scriptural makeup. What do you say to that?]
“There is not a problem with Islam. For those of us who have studied it, there is no doubt about its true and peaceful nature. There is not a problem with Muslims in general.”
[‘Those of us who have studied’ Islam, which Tony manifetsly hasn’t, have seen 107 Koran verses like these: “Slay [unbelievers] wherever ye find them…” (2:91), “Take them and kill them wherever ye find them” (4:91), “Slay the idolaters wherever ye find them, and take them captive, and besiege them, and prepare for them each ambush” (9:5), “…If they turn renegades, seize them and slay them wherever ye find them…” (4:89). Just how peaceful is its nature, Tone?]
“Of course there are Christian extremists and Jewish, Buddhist and Hindu ones.” [True. These chaps are as capable as the Muslims of flying planes into buildings, attacking our allies and beheading Westerners who disagree with them. It’s sheer luck that so far they’ve refrained from doing so.]
“On the other [hand there] are the modern-minded, those who hated the old oppression by corrupt dictators and who hate the new oppression by religious fanatics. They are potentially the majority, but unfortunately they are badly organised.”
[Majorities are always badly organised, Tone. It’s fire-eating activists like you who do the damage. The Muslim world has always had to choose between the two forms of oppression, that’s the nature of the beast. We should offer tacit support to the beast that’s less likely to bite us – those same ‘corrupt dictators’ you agitate against.]
“The better idea is a modern view of religion and its place in society and politics. There has to be respect and equality between people of different faiths.”
[Splendid idea. There’s a problem though: there’s no such thing as ‘religion’. There are only different religions, of which some encourage people to erect tall buildings and some to fly planes into them. It would be unrealistic to expect Tony to think before mouthing bien-pensant twaddle, but the rest of us should realise that promoting ‘equality between people of different faiths’ can have only one practical effect: weakening the builders and strengthening the flyers.]
“We have to start with how to educate children about faith, here and abroad. That is why I started a foundation whose specific purpose is to educate children of different faiths across the world to learn about each other and live with each other.”
[But Mohammed was extremely well-educated about Christianity – he did spend several years studying it at Nestorian monasteries (in Syria, as it happens). That hasn’t prevented his followers from feeling ever so slightly hostile towards every religion other than their own.]
Give it a rest, Tone. Really, the best thing you can do at this stage is shut up. That’ll be your greatest contribution to peace in the Middle East. And to the cause of fighting nausea among normal people who have the misfortune of glancing at your articles.