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The Continuing Travails of Teflon Tony
Might his days be numbered? Probably not. He's one of those pols who can dance between the droplets of a hurricane force sh*t storm.

But we can live in hope. Enemies contiue to multiply and gather.

Quote:Tony Blair accused of conflict of interests in Middle East

Critics unite to demand his sacking as Quartet's envoy as evidence emerges of his private business interests expanding in region

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Tony Blair. Rumours are circulating in London and Cairo of plans by Blair to advise the Egyptian government under President Abdel Fatah al-Sisi. Photograph: John Alex Maguire/Rex Features

Iraq's latest bloody crisis and its links to the 2003 war brought Tony Blairback into the headlines this week, along with calls for him to step down as a Middle East peace envoy but new evidence has emerged that his private business interests in the ever-volatile region are expanding.
Aides to the former prime minister confirmed that he was actively considering opening an office in Abu Dhabi, capital of the United Arab Emirates, which is in the frontline of the struggle against political Islam. But a spokesperson denied suggestions by a leading Arab economist that he was being considered for a job advising Oman on its long-term development, after his controversial £27m consultancy project for the Kuwaiti government in recent years.
Retired diplomats and political enemies united to demand Blair be sackedas the envoy of the Quartet the UN, US, Russia and EU after achieving little to promote Israeli-Palestinian peace in seven years.
Blair's Middle Eastern activities cause some irritation in Whitehall, where officials say they are not always aware of what he is doing and exactly who he is representing in meetings abroad even though he is routinely briefed by British embassies. "He moves in mysterious ways," quipped one senior figure.
"The Blair organisation is like a sort of government with different departments doing different things," an ex-employee said. "His office is run on Downing Street lines. It's like he's never not been PM."
Aides said the Abu Dhabi office would be used for managing projects in Kazakhstan and Romania. But it will give him a presence at the heart of a strategic region. The former prime minister is close to the Abu Dhabi crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is often described as being obsessed by Islamists and has lobbied hard for a tough UK line against the Muslim Brotherhood. Blair already has a contract to advise Mubadala, one of Abu Dhabi's sovereign wealth funds.
Rumours are circulating in London and Cairo of plans by Blair to advise the Egyptian government under President Abdel-Fatah al-Sisi, the former field marshal who overthrew the democratically elected but unpopular Brotherhood president, Mohamed Morsi, a year ago.
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Blair has visited Cairo twice this year in his Quartet role. Alastair Campbell, his former communications chief, has also visited, and confirmed that he met "officials and politicians" to discuss "perceptions in the international media about Egypt in respect of concerns that are obvious".
Morsi's removal was followed by the killings of more than 1,000 Brotherhood supporters, mass death sentences and other human rights abuses as well as the widely condemned imprisonment of three al-Jazeera journalists after an often farcical and chaotic trial this week.
Middle Eastern sources said it was likely any work by Blair on Egypt would be done on behalf of the UAE, which with Kuwait and Saudi Arabia, in backing Sisi financially and politically. "It's pretty basic fact-gathering in support of a broader project helping the Egyptians," said one consultant.
Blair's spokesperson said: "Neither Mr Blair nor his organisations are making any money out of Egypt and there is no desire to do that."
Blair has, however, recently commissioned his own"briefing document" on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt, in parallel with a controversial wider review for David Cameron by Britain's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Sir John Jenkins. Aides said it was for Blair's sole use. It was not linked to the Tony Blair Faith Foundation, which researches Middle Eastern and other issues.
The UAE is running an energetic campaign highlighting the activities of the Brotherhood, using London-based advisers to bolster their demand that its activists should not be allowed to operate in the UK. "We hope that our friends will not help our enemies," one Emirati official said. The Brotherhood insists it is a peaceful organisation that abides by UK law.
Cameron spoke to Bin Zayed about Iraq, Syria and Libya this week a reminder of close relations with a key political and commercial partner. Britain's trade with the UAE is expected to reach £12.5bn by 2015. UAE investments in the UK amounted to £40bn by the end of 2012.
In another link between Abu Dhabi and London, Bin Zayed is advised by a low-profile former British soldier called Will Tricks, who "raised a lot of eyebrows" in Whitehall, according to ex-colleagues, when he left his MI6 posting in the UAE to work for the crown prince.
His comments on the Muslim Brotherhood and support for Sisi are stronger than anything said publicly by the UK government.
"Blair is a paid employee of Abu Dhabi because of his Mubadala contract," said Christopher Davidson, a Gulf expert at Durham University. "He should not be regarded as representing UK national interests."
Chris Doyle of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, said: "Tony Blair has to decide between his Quartet role as envoy to one of the most dangerous conflicts on the planet, his burgeoning media role in pushing for intervention in Iraq and Syria and his business interests across the globe including in the Middle East. These roles are incompatible and create a huge conflict of interest."
Blair's views on political Islam are no secret. "He's always taken a fairly strong view about not tolerating Islamic extremism and gets fed up with moderates for not acting, but he has become more right-wing on this," said a former diplomat. "The problem in Iraq was that he conflated extremism with Saddam Hussein."
Even some who admit that they share Blair's view of the Brotherhood as an extremist organisation say that does not mean endorsing repressive methods to crush it, as have been used in Egypt, where it has been proscribed.
Talk of his possible role in advising Sisi has provoked speculation and criticism. "He clearly is very experienced and has a tremendous amount of contacts so he can provide support to any vision that Egypt might like to adopt," said Samir Radwan, a former Egyptian finance minster. "But Tony Blair sometimes waffles. If he can abandon that, he can be effective. But whether his agenda will allow him to find a way out of the tension between the Muslim Brotherhood and the government, I don't know. That would be problematic but it doesn't make it impossible.
"Sisi himself left the door open to inclusion … what the situation needs is a catalyst. Can Tony Blair play that role? If he stops waffling, maybe. The caveat to all that is that Blair's credibility is very low in Egypt. If the Egyptian government comes out and says that Mr Blair has advised us, it would not sit well in the street because of what he did in Iraq."

And the following from earlier:

Quote: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

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'The impression of activity created by [Blair's] high-profile appointment has hindered genuine progress towards a lasting peace,' the letter says. Photograph: Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images

A group of former British ambassadors have joined a campaign calling forTony 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.
The letter, written before Friday's seventh anniversary of Blair's appointment as the representative of the "quartet" on the Middle East, says the former prime minister's achievement as Middle East envoy are "negligible" and he is guilty of seeking to please the Israelis. The quartet consists of the UN, the EU, Russia and the US.
The letter says: "We, like many, are appalled by Iraq's descent into a sectarian conflict that threatens its very existence as a nation, as well as the security of its neighbours. We are also dismayed, however, at Tony Blair's recent attempts to absolve himself of any responsibility for the current crisis by isolating it from the legacy of the Iraq war.
"In reality, the invasion and occupation of Iraq had been a disaster long before the recent gains made by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis). The sectarian conflict responsible for much of the war's reprehensible human cost was caused in part by the occupying forces' division of the country's political system along sectarian lines."
It added: "In order to justify the invasion, Tony Blair misled the British people by claiming that Saddam had links to al-Qaida. In the wake of recent events it is a cruel irony for the people of Iraq that perhaps the invasion's most enduring legacy has been the rise of fundamentalist terrorism in a land where none existed previously. We believe that Mr Blair, as a vociferous advocate of the invasion, must accept a degree of responsibility for its consequences."
The signatories say that Blair has failed to achieve any breakthrough as the quartet's representative, though they acknowledge his limited mandate that involves building the governance of the Palestinian Authority.
The letter says: "It is our view that, after seven years, Mr Blair's achievements as Envoy are negligible, even within his narrow mandate of promoting Palestinian economic development. Furthermore, the impression of activity created by his high-profile appointment has hindered genuine progress towards a lasting peace.
"Seven years on there are still over 500 checkpoints and roadblocks in the West Bank. The Gaza Strip, severely damaged by Israel's 2009 bombing, remains in a humanitarian crisis, with 80% of its population reliant on foreign aid for survival. Israel continues to build settlements that are illegal under international law. According to the Palestinian Authority's former Chief Negotiator, Nabil Shaath, Tony Blair has "achieved so very little because of his gross efforts to please the Israelis".
The letter is also critical of Blair's business interests. "Tony Blair's conduct in his private pursuits also calls into question his suitability for the role. Mr Blair has been widely criticised for a lack of transparency in the way he organises his business dealings and personal finances, and for blurring the lines between his public position as Envoy and his private roles at Tony Blair Associates and the investment bank JPMorgan Chase."
The letter is addressed to John Kerry, the US secretary of state; Sergei Lavrov, the Russian foreign minister; Ban Ki-moon, the UN secretary general; and Cathy Ashton, the EU's foreign policy chief.
The retired ambassador Oliver Miles, who noted in 2009 that two members of the Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war "are Jewish", said: "Tony Blair is the wrong man in the wrong job. The wrong man because he is identified with the war in Iraq; criticism has concentrated on his misreading of intelligence and his lies, but equally important was his failure to plan for the peace, with the result we see today. The wrong job because patching up the Palestine economy sounds good but avoids the real issue, the repression and misery of the occupation; that is what the quartet should tackle. Seven years on it's time to blow the whistle."
Crispin Blunt said: "It's time to end Tony Blair's personal calvary as quartet envoy following his disastrous statesmanship in office on the Middle East. His role as envoy was neutered politically almost as soon as it began, and is now a distraction from the increasingly desperate need for a comprehensive peace deal."
George Galloway said: "I have begun the process of parliamentary impeachment of Tony Blair. The House of Commons will vote on that later this year. His position is collapsing along with the state of Iraq he helped destroy. His tenure as Quartet envoy is now untenable"
A spokesperson for Blair said: "These are all people viscerally opposed to Tony Blair with absolutely no credibility in relation to him whatsoever. Their attack is neither surprising nor newsworthy. They include the alliance of hard right and hard left views which he has fought against all his political life. Of course he completely disagrees with them over the Middle East. He believes passionately in the two state solution but also believes that can only be achieved by a negotiation with Israel."
The spokeperson said of Blair's role as the Middle East envoy: "The truth, and anybody who knows anything about the situation in respect of Palestine knows this, is that transformational change is impossible unless it goes hand in hand with a political process. There was hope that this could progress with the recent US led talks which were underpinned by a hugely ambitious economic plan spearheaded by Mr Blair."
The spokesperson said of the criticisms of Blair's business interests: "Mr Blair has done no work for JP Morgan in the Middle East he is the chair of their International Advisory Council where he provides advice on global political issues."
The shadow is a moral problem that challenges the whole ego-personality, for no one can become conscious of the shadow without considerable moral effort. To become conscious of it involves recognizing the dark aspects of the personality as present and real. This act is the essential condition for any kind of self-knowledge.
Carl Jung - Aion (1951). CW 9, Part II: P.14

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