Tony Blair: Putin can’t use Iraq as justification for Ukraine

LONDON: Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair reflective and defiant in turn as he ponders the impending anniversaries of two events that are said to define the best and worst of his decade in power.
Monday marks 20 years since Blair and US President George W Bush launched an invasion Saddam Husseinof Iraq, without UN authorization and despite some of the largest protests ever seen in Britain.
To many critics, the war was seen as a reckless misstep when no weapons of mass destruction were found, and hampered the West’s ability to resist the rise of dictators. in Russia and China.
But Blair rejected the notion that Russian President Vladimir Putin profit by challenging a weakened West on its own Invasion of Ukrainestarted in 2014 and lasted until last year’s full invasion.
“If he doesn’t use that excuse (Iraq), then he will use another,” Britain’s most successful Labor leader, now 69, said in an interview with AFP. and the European news agencies ANSA, DPA and EFE.
Blair noted that Saddam initiated two regional wars, defying multiple UN resolutions, and launched a chemical attack on his own people.
In contrast, Ukraine has a democratic government and poses no threat to its neighbors when Putin invades.
Speaking at his Tony Blair Institute for Global Change’s office in central London, Mr Blair said: “You can at least say we’re getting rid of an autocrat and trying to introduce democracy.
“Now you can argue about all the consequences and so on.
“His (Putin’s) intervention in the Middle East (in Syria) is to support an autocracy and reject a democracy. So we should treat all propaganda activities. with the disrespect it deserves.”
The aftermath of the Iraq war is said to have hampered Blair’s efforts as the international envoy to negotiate peace between Israel and Palestine, after he left office in 2007.
Through his institute, Blair maintains offices in the region and says he is “still very enthusiastic” in promoting peace in the Middle East, even if it seems “quite far-fetched right now”.
But while there can be no solution in Ukraine until Russia realizes that “aggression is wrong,” he said the Palestinians can draw lessons from the undisputed culmination of his term: peace in Northern Ireland.
Under the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement, pro-Ireland fighters agreed to lay down their arms and pro-British unionists agreed to share power, after three decades of sectarian conflict that has left some 3,500 people dead network.
Blair, then Irish prime minister Bertie Ahern and US presidential envoy Bill Clinton spent three days and nights negotiating the final phase before the deal was signed on 10 April 1998.
Today, the territory is mired in a new political stalemate.
But a recent deal between Britain and the European Union to regulate post-Brexit trade in Northern Ireland has cleared the way for US President Joe Biden to visit on the 25th anniversary of the deal.
Reflecting on the pro-Ireland fighters’ strategic shift from bullet to ballot box, Blair said “that’s what I often say to the Palestinians: you should learn from what they’ve done”.
“They change their strategy and look at the results,” he added, denying he favors Israel but only realizing the reality of how to negotiate peace.
“There was a lot of controversy and no objection,” he added, referring to his tumultuous time at 10 Downing Street from 1997 to 2007.
“I think the undisputed thing is probably the Good Friday Agreement.
“Everything more or less fell apart when I arrived in Belfast and we had to rewrite it and come to an agreement… it was probably the only truly successful peace process in this period of time, in the last 25 years. .”


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