PDA

View Full Version : Ambassadors' letter to Blair



Trooth
27 Apr 04,, 21:47
Ambassadors' letter to Blair

Here is the letter sent by more than 50 former British ambassadors to Tony Blair, urging him either to influence US policy in the Middle East or to stop backing it:


--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

We the undersigned former British ambassadors, high commissioners, governors and senior international officials, including some who have long experience of the Middle East and others whose experience is elsewhere, have watched with deepening concern the policies which you have followed on the Arab-Israel problem and Iraq, in close co-operation with the United States.

Following the press conference in Washington at which you and President Bush restated these policies, we feel the time has come to make our anxieties public, in the hope that they will be addressed in Parliament and will lead to a fundamental reassessment.

The decision by the USA, the EU, Russia and the UN to launch a "Road Map" for the settlement of the Israel/Palestine conflict raised hopes that the major powers would at last make a determined and collective effort to resolve a problem which, more than any other, has for decades poisoned relations between the West and the Islamic and Arab worlds.

... But the hopes were ill-founded. Nothing effective has been done either to move the negotiations forward or to curb the violence.

Britain and the other sponsors of the Road Map merely waited on American leadership, but waited in vain.

Worse was to come. After all those wasted months, the international community has now been confronted with the announcement by Ariel Sharon and President Bush of new policies which are one-sided and illegal and which will cost yet more Israeli and Palestinian blood.

Our dismay at this backward step is heightened by the fact that you yourself seem to have endorsed it, abandoning the principles which for nearly four decades have guided international efforts to restore peace in the Holy Land and which have been the basis for such successes as those efforts have produced.

This abandonment of principle comes at a time when rightly or wrongly we are portrayed throughout the Arab and Muslim world as partners in an illegal and brutal occupation in Iraq.

The conduct of the war in Iraq has made it clear that there was no effective plan for the post-Saddam settlement.

All those with experience of the area predicted that the occupation of Iraq by the Coalition forces would meet serious and stubborn resistance, as has proved to be the case.

To describe the resistance as led by terrorists, fanatics and foreigners is neither convincing nor helpful.

Policy must take account of the nature and history of Iraq, the most complex country in the region.

... The military actions of the Coalition forces must be guided by political objectives and by the requirements of the Iraq theatre itself, not by criteria remote from them.

It is not good enough to say that the use of force is a matter for local commanders.

Heavy weapons unsuited to the task in hand, inflammatory language, the current confrontations in Najaf and Falluja, all these have built up rather than isolated the opposition.

... We share your view that the British government has an interest in working as closely as possible with the United States on both these related issues, and in exerting real influence as a loyal ally.

We believe that the need for such influence is now a matter of the highest urgency.

If that is unacceptable or unwelcome there is no case for supporting policies which are doomed to failure.

The signatories are: Brian Barder; Paul Bergne; John Birch; David Blatherwick; Graham Boyce; Julian Bullard; Juliet Campbell; Bryan Cartledge; Terence Clark; David Colvin; Francis Cornish; James Craig; Brian Crowe; Basil Eastwood; Stephen Egerton; William Fullerton; Dick Fyjis-Walker; Marrack Goulding; John Graham; Andrew Green; Vic Henderson; Peter Hinchcliffe; Brian Hitch; Archie Lamb and David Logan.

Also: Christopher Long; Ivor Lucas; Ian McCluney; Maureen MacGlashan; Philip McLean; Christopher MacRae; Oliver Miles; Martin Morland; Keith Morris; Richard Muir; Alan Munro; Stephen Nash; Robin O'Neill; Andrew Palmer; Bill Quantrill; David Ratford; Tom Richardson; Andrew Stuart; David Tatham; Crispin Tickell; Derek Tonkin; Charles Treadwell; Hugh Tunnell; Jeremy Varcoe; Hooky Walker; Michael Weir and Alan White.

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/uk_politics/3660837.stm

Confed999
28 Apr 04,, 01:03
We believe that the need for such influence is now a matter of the highest urgency.
So are they authorizing more help, or just complaining because things aren't being done the way they think they should be?

Trooth
28 Apr 04,, 01:16
So are they authorizing more help, or just complaining because things aren't being done the way they think they should be?

Mostly the latter, but a little of the former i think.
They are saying that if Blair has any influence on Bush, he should use it to try and get the US's approach altered. They definitely think that the US is being too heavy handed.

Blair is rumoured to be considering deploying more British troops. I don't think the letter is particularly against that, more it is concerned over the role that the troops are playing.

Unfortunately for Blair, there are some pretty top middle east hitters in the list. There is also a feeling that the foreign office is having its hands tied by number 10. The expertise in the middle east is in the foriegn office, not Downing Street.

Confed999
28 Apr 04,, 23:58
Mostly the latter
I wish politicians would quit that. In the same amount of space those people could have outlined their plans, and maybe got something done.

Kelu
04 Aug 04,, 04:16
I wish politicians would quit that. In the same amount of space those people could have outlined their plans, and maybe got something done

Safe and straight that is, I was thinking on a quirky reply but then read that, and thought .. Yeah .. what a point ..

Trooth
04 Aug 04,, 21:31
You are forgetting that there is no point outlining plans if you don't have a forum to do it. What theya re saying is that those outlining the plans were not drawing on the exerptise available.

Confed999
05 Aug 04,, 01:03
those outlining the plans were not drawing on the exerptise available.
You said it in one line, they could have too. I just want these politicians to quit playing games and say what they think should be done, and not to complain constantly about things that cannot be changed.

Trooth
05 Aug 04,, 01:12
Everything can be changed. AT the time things were more in a state of flux then they are now.

However you have allow for politics. As a letter Blair can choose to respond to it or to take on board its comments. If in place of the open letter there was a 100 page treatment of the Iraqi situation, Blair has to dismiss it. Its the way politics work. You can't force anyones hand. They have to fight back otherwise they are perceived as weak.

Confed999
05 Aug 04,, 01:26
Everything can be changed.
The past cannot be changed, I should have been more clear. ;)

However you have allow for politics.
You know how that one guy thinks everything is Whitey's fault? I think nearly everything is politics fault. It's like how you hear politician "X" tell us he has a plan to save the universe, but he doesn't tell us what it is, ever. Politics is contradicting, it seems, instead of being a compromise. Sometimes this is good, but usually it's not. Personally, I think if a person knows the answers, that person should tell us all, so we can finnish saving the universe.

Ray
05 Aug 04,, 04:39
Whitey?

Ironduke
05 Aug 04,, 04:51
Whitey?
Deregatory term for whites in general used by blacks. Comparable to "the man".