Tony Blair

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The Quartet's Special Envoy to the Middle East

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"The absolute priority is to try to give effect to what is now the consensus across the international community -- that the only way of bringing stability and peace to the Middle East is a two-state solution."

"We believe as passionately in security for Israelis as we do in justice for Palestinians."

"The British Labour Party was in power when the State of Israel was born. It would be fitting for Labour to be in power when the Palestinians achieve self-determination."

You are Tony Blair, the longtime Special Envoy to the Middle East of the Quartet (United States, Russia, the European Union, and the United Nations), an aggregation formed after the Madrid Conference on the Middle East in 2002.

From your birth on May 6, 1953 in Sedgefield, your parents took pride in your education. Your early education took place at the Durham Choristers School. Following this, you attended Fettes College, Edinburgh, and Oxford University. It was at Oxford where your future in politics was molded as you studied law. In the field of law, you specialized in employment and industrial law after passing the bar in 1976.

Your political career started in 1983 when you were elected MP for your constituency. Two years later in 1985, you were promoted to the opposition frontbench as a spokesman on Treasury Affairs. Once again you held the position for two years until 1987 when you were promoted to deputy spokesman on trade and industry, with special responsibility for consumer affairs and the city. Following a one-year stint in this position, you became shadow secretary of state for energy and led the labor party opposition to electricity privatization. In 1989 you moved on to become shadow secretary of state for employment. During this time you fought diligently for trade union rights. The next move in the government ranks came in 1992 with the appointment as shadow secretary of state for home affairs. In addition, you were elected to the National Executive Committee of the labor party in September of 1992.

Unaware of what the future would hold in terms of your position in British politics, you made some valuable decisions while serving as chairman for the commission for constitutional reform. These included being active in the development of a positive approach to the European Union and maintaining close ties with the Clinton Administration and the United States. "Our aim should be to deepen our relationship with the US at all levels. We are the bridge between the US and Europe. Let us use it." In 1994 you made the big step up when you were elected leader of the Labour Party. Three years later that you reached the summit with your election as Prime Minister of Britain.

With your patriotic viewpoints and your strong will to succeed, you made it your goal to bring England to the front of European politics: "I believe in Britain because, at its best, it does stand for the right values and can give something to the world." Focusing on the improvement of England's image as a dominant world player was a priority. In a speech at the Madrid conference, you expressed your support for NATO enlargement when you stated: "Our priority was a manageable and limited enlargement, involving credible candidates with reliable democratic credentials and a real ability to contribute to collective security.’ It was this type of thinking that has carried over to your views concerning the Middle East region.

In a speech given in July of 1997, your Foreign Office Minister of State, Mr. Derek Fatchett, expressed the views of the English government towards the Middle East. He expresses the belief in the idea of 'land for peace' established under resolutions 337 and 425. Your stance is that of a neutral party with a great desire to support both sides in an effort to reach final status negotiations for peace. This was made apparent by this comment by Foreign Minister Fatchett: "The Israelis must stop building and other actions aimed at pre-empting the final status talks, and the Palestinians must provide the security cooperation which is their plain duty. The provisions in the Hebron agreement for parallel advances in implementing the Interim Agreement and in Final Status talks must come into it too." You are in full support of the Madrid and Oslo agreements and will not hesitate to condemn any violations of them. Throughout the struggle for peace, you have remained impartial and you have made the commitment to continue in this manner.

After the September 11th terror attacks against the United States, you have been a stalwart ally of the United States. You have sent troops to Afghanistan, and supported America’s quest to remove Saddam Hussein as the leader of Iraq. With little international support and widespread criticism in Western Europe, Britain became a major partner in the War in Iraq and continues to be the United States’ major ally in the war on terror. Unfortunately, the unbridled support you have given to the Bush Administration has led to spiraling popularity for you at home. Your approval rating has dipped to new lows, though you are Britain’s longest serving Prime Minister in two generations. The media and critics have accused you of being Bush’s ‘puppet’ and ridiculed you for being an apologist for the Bush administration.

You have stood up for your decisions and have repeatedly stated that it was based on your convictions and for no other reason. Furthermore, you have pushed the Bush administration to place peace in the Middle East on the agenda at the highest priority. In order to deflect criticism and unpopularity, you have been a strong proponent for a more active role in achieving peace between Israel and Palestine. You have unequivocally denounced the suicide bombings that have ruined the lives of many Israelis and supported Israel’s right to defend itself. Moreover, you criticize the Israeli military for its provocative measures against the Palestinian population and its settlement policies.

Since Bush’s reelection and the death of Yasir Arafat, in addition to Prime Minister Sharon’s disengagement plan to unilaterally withdraw from the Gaza Strip and Northern West Bank, you have been pushing for a return to the negotiating table. As a result, you have planned a peace summit to be hosted in London to bring the parties together in March 2005. The Israeli-Palestinian conflict resonates strongly within Britain’s large Muslim population and being a strong proponent of the peace process has the potential of deflecting anger and unpopularity as a result of the Iraq War and the alliance with the United States. You advocate a stronger, more active role for the United Nations, United States, Britain, and European Union to press both parties to make concessions and go back to the negotiating table.

In 2007, you resigned your post as Prime Minister in favor of your longtime colleague, Gordon Brown. Soon afterwards, you were tapped to take on the challenge of serving as the Quartet's Special Envoy to the Middle East, replacing the American former World Bank Chairman, James Wolfensohn. You held the position until 2015, when you were briefly replaced by Kino DeBoer. DeBoer held the post for just over a year, and has not been replaced. Because of your stature on the world stage, we're keeping you in this position for the simulation.

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