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.


Rebels evacuate Syria's Eastern Ghouta

Sarkozy says life ‘living hell’ since corruption allegations

Turkey’s largest media group to be sold to Erdogan ally

Hezbollah leader says debt threatens Lebanon disaster

Exiled Syrian doctors treat refugees in Turkey

Saudi, US must pursue 'urgent efforts' for Yemen peace: Mattis

US, Jordan launch new counterterrorism training centre

Two Hamas security force members killed in raid on bomb suspect

Turkey gives watchdog power to block internet broadcasts

EU leaders to condemn Turkey’s ‘illegal’ actions in Mediterranean

Ahed Tamimi reaches plea deal for eight months in jail

UN launching final push to salvage Libya political agreement

Conditions for displaced from Syria's Ghouta 'tragic': UN

Sisi urges Egyptians to vote, denies excluding rivals

Rights Watch says Libya not ready for elections

Saudis revamp school curriculum to combat Muslim Brotherhood

American mother trapped in Syria’s Ghouta calls out Trump

Syria workers say French firm abandoned them to jihadists

Grim Nowruz for Kurds fleeing Afrin

Sarkozy back in custody for second day of questioning

'Saudization' taking its toll on salesmen

Syrian rebels reach evacuation deal in Eastern Ghouta town

Israel confirms it hit suspected Syrian nuclear reactor in 2007

UN says Turkey security measures 'curtail human rights'

Netanyahu says African migrants threaten Jewish majority

US Senate votes on involvement in Yemen war as Saudi prince visits

What a ‘limited strike’ against Syria’s Assad might mean

Erdogan tells US to stop ‘deceiving’, start helping on Syria

IS controls Damascus district in surprise attack

French ex-president held over Libya financing allegations

NGO says Israeli army violating Palestinian minors’ rights

Human rights chief slams Security Council for inaction on Syria

US warns Turkey over civilians caught in Syria assault

Saudi crown prince keen to cement ties with US

Abbas calls US ambassador to Israel 'son of a dog'

Erdogan vows to expand Syria op to other Kurdish-held areas

Kurdish envoy accuses foreign powers of ignoring Turkish war crimes

Morocco authorities vow to close Jerada's abandoned mines

Israeli soldier sees manslaughter sentence slashed

Turkey insists no plans to remain in Afrin

Cairo voters show unwavering support for native son Sisi

Forum in Jordan explores new teaching techniques

Gaza Strip woes receive renewed attention but no fix is expected

Kurds, Syrian opposition condemn Afrin looting

36 jihadists killed in Egypt’s Sinai