In a speech to be delivered in London today, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair will urge the West to forget Russian President Vladimir Putin’s stance on the Ukraine and join him in the fight against “radical Islam”. Blair will say in his speech that Europe and the US must cooperate with Russia in the face of a common goal “whatever our differences”.
The common goal, according to Blair, is to convince Putin to support the military regime in Egypt. Blair will state that it is the Islamists, and not Russia’s decision to annex the Crimea, that pose the greatest threat to world peace.
In his speech Blair, who sent British troops to invade Iraq and Afghanistan, will assert that these wars have made it difficult for any government to gain public support for any military action in the Middle East as demonstrated by current Prime Minister David Cameron’s attempt to intervene in the Syrian crisis.
In his speech, extracts of which were published in The Times newspaper, Blair is to say: “The threat of this radical Islam is not abating [and] it is destabilising communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalisation. In the face of this threat we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively.”
Blair will defend the military coup in Egypt against the legitimate president Mohammed Morsi and will say that the Muslim Brotherhood, whose activities are being investigation in the UK, did not only fail to manage the government, but tried to control the traditional institutions of the state.
Although he will recognise the erroneous ruling by a judge on more than 500 Islamic activists who were sentenced to death in the case of the killing of a police officer, he will ask critics of the interim government appointed by the military to show “a kind of sensitivity” after the killing of “hundreds of Egyptian police and soldiers”.
Blair will ask the West to support the new Egyptian leader as much as possible. This comes before the upcoming Egyptian presidential elections in which the coup leader Abdel Fattah Al-Sisi is expected to succeed.
At a time when the dispute over Ukraine has caused polarisation between Western countries and Russia, and the tense atmosphere of the Cold War returned with the annexation of the Crimea, Blair believes that differences must be put aside and will stress the importance of building alliances, reaching out and cooperating with the East, especially China and Russia.
Blair will call upon Western politicians to overcome their reservations and reluctance and to recognise that the different opinions and divergence within Islam is the basis of the problems afflicting the region.
The newspaper quoted one of Blair’s aides as saying that he is not calling for military action again in the region, but for a cohesive call from Western countries. “What is absolutely necessary is that we first liberate ourselves from our own attitude. We have to take sides. We have to stop treating each country on the basis of whatever seems to make for the easiest life for us,” the aide explained.
He added: “Underneath the turmoil and revolutions of the past few years is one very clear and unambiguous struggle between those with a modern view of the Middle East, one of pluralistic societies and open economies, where the attitudes and patterns of globalisation are embraced, and, on the other side, those who want to impose an ideology born out of a belief that there is one proper religion and one proper view of it, and that this view should, exclusively, determine the nature of society and the political economy.”