Tony Blair has moved beyond parody in his latest attempt to absolve himself

Even if you put aside the most obvious flaw in his argument, that the invasion of Iraq and its appallingly bungled aftermath clearly upset the stability of the region

Share

Please forgive me. I know we should ignore his latest attention-seeking outburst, like a kind parent might turn their back on a child prone to temper tantrums. But it is hard when he pops up to pollute the airwaves and defile acres of newsprint with silly statements. So, once again, we must focus on our former prime minister Tony Blair, who has moved far beyond the point of parody with his latest attempt to absolve himself of guilt over the terrifying events in Iraq.

As a group that even al-Qa’ida thinks too violent runs rampage through Iraq, exploiting the region’s chaos in its drive to recreate a repressive medieval caliphate, Blair pens a 2,848-word essay, claiming it is “bizarre” to blame the crisis on his 2003 invasion. Incredibly, he still argues that Saddam Hussein might have used weapons of mass destruction, despite the crushing evidence he had given up such devices. As Blair blames everyone but himself for the current carnage and bloodshed, he even claims to speak “with humility”.

These are the delusional and self-serving ravings of a man who just a year ago bragged that Iraq was a better place for the removal of Saddam. As he flits around the world giving speeches on democracy, while receiving huge cheques from despots, the former Labour leader seems to have lost touch with reality. No doubt, he sees himself as some kind of Churchillian figure whom history will prove right, yet experts and former diplomats were not short of evidence yesterday as they tore apart his arguments.

Even if you put aside the most obvious flaw in his argument, that the invasion of Iraq and its appallingly bungled aftermath clearly upset the stability of the region, there are many layers of hypocrisy in his approach to the Middle East.

Consider for a start who funds Isis, the group threatening Baghdad and accused of all those hideous atrocities, along with some of the other Islamic militants in Syria. There is evidence that significant finance flowed from and through Kuwait, an initially supportive regime turning a blind eye to donations in its desire to see President Bashar Assad overthrown. Curiously, millions also flowed from this same oil-rich state into Blair’s companies.

Then there is Saudi Arabia, whose malign presence lurks behind so many of the problems that Blair raises in his proclamations on freedom and modernity. This nation is, of course, run by a theocratic absolute monarchy that represses women, is ruthlessly intolerant of other religions and sects, and spends vast sums promoting a corrosive hard-line brand of Islam which gave birth to al-Qa’ida. The Saudis have also been accused by Iraq’s government of funding their fellow Sunnis in Isis.

Yet Blair never seems to criticise them. Indeed, it was noticeable in his last significant intervention that he seemed to be merely promulgating the Saudi vision. Perhaps this is not surprising: even during his time in office, he was so in thrall he halted a landmark bribery case, demeaning the most basic principles of British justice.

Or look at Egypt, where Blair once borrowed a holiday home from his despotic friend Hosni Mubarak, before hailing him as “a force for good” as the blood of protesters demanding democracy started spilling in Tahrir Square. Now he backs a general who led an army coup against an elected government, praising him for rescuing the nation, despite the deaths of 1,600 dissidents and jailing of 10 times that number. These include not just Islamists but many liberal and left-wing activists. Human rights groups are saying that the current regime is the most brutal in Egypt’s post-colonial history.

When I visited Cairo for the stage-managed election last month, even coup supporters told me Blair’s support for their cause could backfire. “Everyone knows he was a friend of Mubarak, and then there was the Iraq war on top of that,” said one prominent politician. “If Blair says something is black, most Egyptians think it is white.” He laughed when I told him voters felt much the same in Britain.

Blair backs democracy until it delivers results of which he disapproves – and then he jumps back into bed with despots while pontificating about oppression. Even yesterday, this shameless man talked about the problems of leaving dictators in office, yet he lends fig-leaf respectability to tyrants he advises, such as Paul Kagame in Rwanda and Nursultan Nazarbayev in Kazakhstan. And still he writes about Afghanistan, where 453 British troops have lost their lives; they were once told their mission might leave without firing a shot.

Never an apology. Never any sign of awareness, trapped on his self-harming journey to wealth and global vilification. Never any reflection on the blood spilled, nor the struggle of those really fighting for human rights. Blair is a messiah in his own mind, reviled by most others.

Perhaps it would be kinder if the media did ignore his strange desire to shred the little that is left of his reputation.

Twitter: @ianbirrell

React Now

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Executive - Software

£20000 - £25000 per annum + 55,000 OTE + benifits: h2 Recruit Ltd: Software Sa...

Argyll Scott International: 2x Service Desk Analyst

£20000 - £22000 per annum: Argyll Scott International: Service Desk Analyst Re...

Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton; £400p/d

£400 - £420 per day: Langley James : IT Project Manager; 6 month FTC; Brighton...

Day In a Page

Read Next
The Uber app allows passengers to hail a taxi with a smartphone  

Who wouldn’t like a sharing economy? Well, me, for one

Mary Dejevsky
David Cameron spoke about immigration at a press conference in Ipswich  

David Cameron’s big problem is that he has been listening to the wrong people

Alan Johnson
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
There's a Good Girl exhibition: How female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising

In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

Festively fragrant: the best women's perfumes

Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund

The Ox celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition
Billy Joe Saunders vs Chris Eubank Jnr: When two worlds collide

When two worlds collide

Traveller Billy Joe Saunders did not have a pampered public-school upbringing - unlike Saturday’s opponent Chris Eubank Jnr
Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Drifting and forgotten - turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: Turning lives around for ex-soldiers

Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

Putin’s far-right ambition

Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU
Tove Jansson's Moominland: What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?

Escape to Moominland

What was the inspiration for Finland's most famous family?