Yesterday Tony Blair spoke in Washington about the danger of Jihad. He says there is “an Islamist ideology that has to be confronted”. He speaks as if an ideology unites ‘anti-western’ terrorists and must be weeded out at all costs. The evidence tells us that this is simply not true.
The Institute for Economics and Peace informs those who pay attention to these things that IS/Daesh and al-Queda have been actively attacking each other since February 2014. Jabhat al-Nusra is the al-Queda franchise in Syria and it is opposed to IS/Daesh. In Afghanistan IS/Daesh declared war on the Taliban. The Pakistani Taleban is divided over whether to maintain links with IS/Daesh or al-Queda. These are factions responding opportunistically to the political and economic vacuum in war torn regions of the world. None of these factions may be particularly attractive to us but it is not true that they form a cohesive unified group.
The Tony Blair Faith Foundation released a paper this morning. The author addressed the question Why The Rise In Jihadi Violence in 2014? No mention at all is made of either of the two most widely accepted explanations for the rise of terrorism in the middle east, namely i) the invasion of Iraq and ii) of the reign of terror perpetrated by the Syrian government and others on their own people.
On Wednesday the Shadow Foreign Secretary, Hilary Benn, spoke in absolute defiance of his party leader, sighting ‘Labour values‘, ‘internationalism‘ and ‘moral duty‘ as reasons to wage yet more war in the Middle East. A few hours earlier, not long before a crucial vote in parliament, in cynical attempt to discredit the opposition, Cameron urged MPs not to vote alongside ‘terrorist sympathisers‘.
There are many who are not remotely ‘terrorist sympathisers‘ but who question the legality and the morality as well as the efficacy of ‘Blair’s war on terror’. There are many who feel that more war in the region simply stokes up the terrorist threat rather than reducing it.
Blair was appointed Middle East Peace Envoy in 2007. He resigned in June this year amid accusations of conflict of interest. Needless to say although he has made millions from his business interests in the MIddle East there has been no apparent progress towards peace. It now looks like David Cameron and Hilary Benn are hand-in-hand on the same road that Tony Blair set out on in 2003. It may not be an obvious alliance to suggest, but it is hard to exaggerate the tragic irony of the reality of the situation in which we now find ourselves.