Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Tony Blair should be sacked as Middle East envoy, say former ambassadors

Former UK prime minister is tainted by Iraq war and his achievements for quartet are negligible, signatories of letter say.

Nicholas Watt, chief political correspondent
The Guardian, Monday 23 June 2014

A group of former British ambassadors have joined a campaign calling for Tony Blair to be removed from his role as Middle East envoy after his recent attempt to "absolve himself" of responsibility for the crisis in Iraq.

The letter, organised by the makers of George Galloway's film The Killing of Tony Blair, says the 2003 invasion of Iraq was to blame for the rise of "fundamentalist terrorism in a land where none existed previously".

The signatories, led by Blair's former ambassador to Iran Sir Richard Dalton, describe the former prime minister's achievements as Middle East envoy as "negligible".

Other former diplomats to sign the letter are Oliver Miles, who was ambassador to Libya when diplomatic relations were severed in 1984 after the killing of WPC Yvonne Fletcher, and Christopher Long, ambassador to Egypt between 1992-95.

Other signatories include former London mayor Ken Livingstone, the human rights barrister Michael Mansfield QC, the former Liberal Democrat peer Lady Tonge – who resigned her party's whip in 2012 after declaring that Israel would not last forever – the former Tory prisons minister Crispin Blunt, George Galloway, the Green MP Caroline Lucas and the Daily Telegraph columnist Peter Oborne.

A spokesperson for Blair dismissed the letter on the grounds that it had been drawn up by an "alliance of hard-right and hard-left" whose members are "viscerally opposed" to the former prime minister. READ MORE.......