First Published: 2009-11-20

 
Iraq war curse deals final blow to Blair's EU bid
 

Palestinian protester brands former British PM as 'terrorist' during his visit to West Bank.

 

Middle East Online

Iraqis are still paying the price of WMD lies and others

LONDON - Former British premier Tony Blair took a blow after being rejected as EU president, mainly due to his stained reputation after supporting and taking part in the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

The 56-year-old was at one stage frontrunner for the new European Union job, but was dropped in favour of low-profile Belgian premier Herman van Rompuy, chosen for the new EU job in Brussels on Thursday night.

Blair had left Downing Street in June 2007, but he earns handsome sums from clients including JP Morgan Chase and Zurich Financial, and commands huge fees on the global lecture circuit.

Not to mention his consultancy Tony Blair Associates (TBA), or his memoirs, which could be published as early as next year, if as expected his successor as British premier Gordon Brown is ousted in elections due by June.

All of which helps pay for the huge outgoings he and wife Cherie have taken on since leaving office -- including a vast mortgage on their main London home, bought for four million pounds (4.4 million euros, 6.6 million dollars) at the height of the global property boom.

Critics said the EU rejection was a payback for Blair's divisive role over the 2003 Iraq war, in which he backed US president George W. Bush's invasion of Iraq, splitting Europe down the middle.

The Times' political editor Philip Webster said Blair was the "big loser" of the horse-trading for the EU top jobs, which saw little-known figures named EU president and foreign policy chief.

"Yesterday was the day that his past caught up with him. His alliance with George Bush in the prosecution of the Iraq war was deeply unpopular with most EU countries," he wrote.

Meanwhile, a Palestinian protester confronted the former British Prime Minister on Tuesday as Blair visited the Palestinian West Bank city of Hebron.

Blair currently serves as Middle East peace envoy for the Quartet of the European Union, the United States, Russia and the United Nations.

His appointment has been criticized for his record in office, which includes launching the invasion of Iraq along with Bush.

As Blair toured a Hebron mosque, the protester approached him and called him a “terrorist.”

 

Kerry cites ‘some steps forward’ in Gaza truce efforts

Qatar emir in unannounced visit to Saudi

Is Tunisia returning to old regime censorship?

Libya government to hand over power to new parliament

Islamic State expands into tourism in Syria, Iraq

Mladenov pleads for UN help to end IS 'atrocities' in Iraq

Hamas hails suspension of Israel flights as 'great victory'

Lebanon army records first case of desertion to join Syria Nusra Front

Iraq gunmen kill female former candidate for parliament

Turkey hunts for nine intelligence officers in wire-tapping probe

Suspension of hostilities in Gaza to allow medical assistance

Assassination of famed Somali musician and lawmaker

Sisi defends Egypt in trying to broker Gaza truce

Syria welcomes nomination of Staffan de Mistura as new UN envoy

Iraq lawmakers stall presidential election as violence yields grim crop of bodies

Yemen president calls for unity

Etihad helps Jet Airways return to profit

HRW: Iraq air strikes wreaking awful toll on civilians

Kuwait revokes pro-opposition TV, newspaper licences

Twin suicide bombing shakes Libya's Benghazi

Car bomb rips through Baghdad checkpoint

Israel escalates merciless Gaza onslaught

Turkey detains dozens of senior police officers for 'spying'

Saudi Arabia ousts head of Syria opposition government

Maliki meets Sunni tribal leaders in new bid to gain support

Israeli envoy: Our soldiers deserve a Nobel Peace Prize

Rights group denounces Kuwait's revocation of citizenship

Kerry again places onus on Hamas to accept ceasefire

Britain finds evidence of effort to Islamise state-run schools

Fiercest fighting in months hits Eastern Damascus

Iraq slams Jordan for hosting 'unacceptable' meeting of Sunni critics

Erdogan sacrifices Gaza mediation in favour of anti-Israel diatribes

Israel hits Al-Jazeera Gaza office

Syria oil industry suffers huge losses because of war

UN calls for help to vaccinate Syria toddlers against polio

Erdogan has stopped talking to Obama

Israel confirms kidnapped soldier is dead

South Sudan rebels pledge to pull troops out fails

Rouhani: More negotiations only solution for nuclear deal

Israel identify 12 soldiers killed over the weekend

UAE pledges $41 million aid for Gaza reconstruction

Security Council condemns persecution of Iraqi Christians

Islamists lose in Libya parliament elections

Deadly clashes erupt in Benghazi

27 Israeli soldiers killed in Gaza assault