Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Blair new Middle East envoy...

When the Israeli government was bombing Lebanon back into the stone age last Summer Tony Blair kept his mouth shut out of respect for his friend George Bush. After all, Bush was rushing cluster bombs to the Israeli's in support of their efforts. Is it any wonder that many in the Arab street have a deep suspicion of Tony Blair and his motives.

In my view the appointment of Blair as special envoy to help the Palestinians makes little sense. His reputation is tarnished because of his advocacy of the war in Iraq and his silence in the face of the Israeli bombing of Lebanon. His chances of success are slim.

It doesn't take a PhD in political science to understand that what is needed to address the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is someone who is viewed as even-handed. Tony Blair does not fit the bill.


It looks like the mandate given to Blair is very limited. His primary focus will be helping the Palestinians deal with pressing humanitarian problems. He will not be negotiating a resolution of the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians.