Probably photoshopped but you get the hang
‘Poor fellow. He lost his job because of me ‘
– George W Bush, 2007, on the then British PM, Tony Blair’s ouster.
Bush was rueing having pressured Tony Blair into going along for the deeply unpopular 2003 invasion of Iraq, which ultimately led to his ouster as PM. Bush later felt so sorry for him that, immediately afterward, he got him the job of ‘Middle-East Peace Envoy’ for the Quartet (US, UN, EU & Russia). It was a job at which, for half the time he played ‘absentee diplomat’ and in the other half, he flew around the world on the Quartet’s expense, devoting his entire time on his lucrative personal business dealings with the Saudis, JP Morgan and Abu Dhabi, with panache.
Finally, this week, Obama had John Kerry give Blair his marching orders. Good riddance, said The Guardian. A senior US State Department official said,” It has been clear that Blair in the Middle East was at best a passenger and at worst, a liability.
Had Blair shown some inclination toward actually working for the Middle-East peace process, this wouldn’t have looked like such a bad idea. After all, negotiating peace in a region that has been in turmoil since before most of us were even born, needed a senior statesman and Blair did have the credentials – the Northern Ireland negotiated settlement happened in his watch.
Besides, it must be said that the diplomatic community can be very unforgiving when peace efforts fail, but in Blair’s case there really has been no effort. It was just a ‘payback’ appointment that was meant to enable him to jet around in five star luxury and settle down to the life of a multi-millionaire wheeler-dealer. This kind of patronage happens everywhere. In India, a retiring Home Secretary, Cabinet Secretary or Army Chief is rewarded with governorship of a province, while a retiring politician may get to be Vice-President, a brainless position that does nothing but bleed the Indian exchequer.
If one looks at Blair’s appointment from the Arab perspective, this was the same man who led his country into three conflicts in the Middle-East, against Muslims, in Muslim nations – Iraq(1991), Afghanistan(2001) and Iraq(2003), the third being blatantly criminal and illegal, one that plunged the entire region into chaos and suffering and unleashed a tsunami of refugees and terrorist attacks on innocents and is still ongoing, getting worse by the day. It is therefore a no-brainer that the Middle-Eastern nations have always viewed his appointment as Peace Envoy as something that was grotesquely perverse.
Back in 2003, at the peak of the Iraq invasion fever, George W Bush had once famously said,” Yes, you can fool some of the people all the time and that’s what we intend to do.” Maybe Tony Blair overheard him, because he did exactly that, deceiving the British public into believing the WMD story.
Tony Blair never did have peace in the Middle-East on his agenda when he took the job. He was there to further his own multi-million dollar consultancy business, a glaring conflict of interest situation that was overlooked for eight long years. He only did two things, both inappropriate, actions that any peace negotiator would know not to do – cozy up to one side (the Israelis) and disparage the Palestinians, aggravating the already fragile situation there.
With his farcical Peace Envoy garb Blair turned out to be merely an opportunist who milked the system for what it was worth and nothing more. No one knew, when he turned up in the Middle-East ostensibly to carry out his peace initiative, whether he was there as the peace envoy or the managing partner of Tony Blair Associates or the CEO of Tony Blair Faith Foundation, while tax-payers all over Europe and America footed the bill for his expenses and salary.
But hey, not all is lost for Tony Blair. The other day, all of a sudden, there appeared a silver lining. His secretary rang to say that a man named A. B. Al-Baghdadi had sent a card, thanking the Right Honorable ex-PM for being such a dear all these years and screwing up the Middle-East Peace Process, right and propah. Quite understandably, the card didn’t have a return address.
She said, Mr. Al-Baghdadi followed the card up with even a phone-call, though he profusely apologized for not being able to remain on the line for too long. He said he was so popular with his fans across the Atlantic, that they were likely listening in. He effusively praised Mr. Blair, going so far as to say that without the Right Hon’ble, he and his people would never have achieved what they have been able to, so far. He even sang ‘for he’s a jolly good fellow’, though it sounded like ‘hee aye jally goo fayloah’.
“He wanted to know, Sir, now that you are footloose and free, whether you would like to take up a contract as their envoy to the UN and maybe get them a seat in the Security Council. Mr Al-Baghdadi hurried to reassure that as a policy, they don’t behead envoys who are under contract but just in case he changes his mind, he has emailed a form you need to fill.”
“What does the form say?” asked the Right Hon’ble Blair, eager, already planning a trip to Zurich. His bank vault there needs widening.
“Oh nothing much, Sir. Just says ‘Organ Harvest Consent Form No.666’ on top.”