Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Needy War Criminal Tony Blair refuses to go away

A smart crook who gets away with a crime would move on to other things.  Call it stupidity or an example of what Freud termed the repetition compulsion, but War Criminal Tony Blair refuses to fade away.


 Mehdi Hasan (Huffington Post UK) explains:

I wanted to begin this piece with the sentence "Tony Blair is back". But, of course, our former prime minister has never really been away. Not for him a quiet life of self-portraits and coin tosses. Blair, unlike his ol' partner-in-crime George W. Bush, has spent his 'retirement' agitating for military action against Syria, calling for regime change in Iran, dodging citizen's arrests over his illegal invasion of Iraq and making the case for Tory-style austerity at home. Oh, and don't get me started on all those awkward rumours about the former PM and the former Mrs Murdoch.
This morning, the ex-Labour-leader-turned-Middle-East-peace envoy turned up at Bloomberg's HQ in London to deliver a keynote speech on the threat from Islamist extremism. It was a classic from the Blair-as-liberal-hawk meets Blair-as-expert-on-Islam genre; a collection of half-truths, belligerent threats, sweeping statements and ill-informed generalisations.

AP briefly covers the speech and notes, "Blair’s political legacy in Britain is tarnished by his decision to lead the country into the divisive invasion of Iraq in 2003."  No he can't escape the past.  He seems to think the world has forgotten or is so in need of his help that they'll overlook his past.   Kounteya Sinha (TNN) notes Blair called for the United Kingdom and the United States to join with Russia to combat what he termed "radical Islam."

The Daily Mail states, "Tony Blair today admitted that his military intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan has made the West less inclined to tackle radical Islam."  Did he?  Did he mention Iraq?

In his speech, he did mention Iraq -- four times.

1) "We have been through painful engagements in Afghanistan and Iraq."

2) "But wherever you look – from Iraq to Libya to Egypt to Yemen to Lebanon to Syria and then further afield to Iran, Pakistan and Afghanistan – this is the essential battle."

3) "We change the regimes in Afghanistan and in Iraq, put soldiers on the ground in order to help build the country, a process which a majority of people in both countries immediately participated in, through the elections. But that proved immensely difficult and bloody."

4)  "In saying this, it does not mean that we have to repeat the enormous commitment of Iraq and Afghanistan."

Four times and nothing of value.  Four times and no accountability.  He felt the need to offer his overview on
five countries specifically but Iraq wasn't one of them.  Egypt, Syria, Tunisia, Libya, Yemen and Iran, Blair wanted to discuss.  Iraq?  He wasn't so keen on the topic.

That's strange because he could have talked about Iraq and noted today's one year anniversary.

It was exactly one year ago that the April 23rd massacre of a sit-in in Hawija took place with Nouri al-Maliki's federal forces storming in on the peaceful protesters.   Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   AFP reported the death toll eventually (as some wounded died) rose to 53 dead.   UNICEF noted that the dead included 8 children (twelve more were injured).

That bloodbath captures modern Iraq where, if you speak out, Nouri will have you killed.  If your parents speak out -- as 8 children learned last year -- Nouri will have you killed.

That's the state of Iraq where thug Nouri is attempting to go for a third term as prime minister.

Again, Tony Blair didn't reflect on Iraq.  He chose five countries and Iraq wasn't one of them.

He had nothing to say that the world needed to hear. But his yacking may have been intended to serve as a distraction, preventing people from focusing on other things.  Jack Sommers (Huffington Post) reports:

A former minister in Tony Blair's government has said the report of the official inquiry into the Iraq War must be published immediately, after prolonged delays.
Former MP Lord Morris, who served as attorney general between 1997 and 1999, said the delays in publishing the findings of the Chilcot Inquiry were "a national scandal" and said there was "a real danger" it would still not be public by the 2015 general election.

Matt Chorley (Daily Mail) adds:

Mr Brown launched the inquiry by Sir John Chilcot in June 2009, soon after becoming Prime Minister.
The inquiry last took evidence from a witness three years ago.
There is mounting speculation that the process of declassifying documents, including Mr Blair’s correspondence with President George W Bush before the war, has stalled.
Last week Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg expressed his frustration at the lengthy delays and suggested Mr Blair is to blame – a claim denied by the former prime minister’s office.
Today Lord Morris, who spent two decades on the Labour frontbench, warned there is ‘now the real danger is that the publication will run into the 2015 election’.

We noted here long ago that Labour was going to have to draw a line between themselves and Tony Blair for the 2015 elections.  We noted here this month that some in Labour were saying the public break needed to come now.  Morris is testing the waters.  Others will likely follow.  And we noted all of that before David Axelrod went to work for Ed Miliband.

Iraq has its own campaigning taking place.  Alsumaria reports four homes were blown up in Sulaiman Bek, including one belonging to a candidate with Ayad Allawi's coaltion.   All Iraq News notes an attack on "some cars carrying leaflets [. . .] for Deputy Premier, Salih al-Mutleq" in Tikrit.  In Nouri's Iraq, that's how you know it's campaign season.

Parliamentary elections are supposed to take place in seven days.

In other violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports security sources say they killed 9 suspects in Saqlawiyah, Baghdad Operations Command announced they killed 5 suspects, a Mada'ain sticky bombing killed 1 person, and a Dorah roadside bombing killed 1 person and left two more people injured. Alsumaria reports an attack on a Sulaiman Bek police station left seven police members injured, All Iraq News notes 1 police member was shot dead in Tikrit and a Dijail bombing left 1 boy dead and four other people injured.

The following community sites -- plus Jake Tapper,, Ms. magazine's blog, Tavis Smiley, Iraq Inquiry Digest, Bat Segundo and Pacifica Evening News -- updated:

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