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.”

 

5 killed in string of suicide bombings in Lebanon

Netanyahu lauds Israel’s deal with Turkey

Erdogan apologises to Putin over downing of Russia jet

One year on, Tunisia holds minute silence for beach massacre victims

Qatar uses high-tech solution to find perfect pitch

Deadly bombings target Yemen troops in ex-Qaeda bastion

NGOs press EU leaders on Africa migrant plan

Jordanian intelligence officials sold weapons for Syria rebels on black market

On British-Irish border, Brexit breeds worries for future

New lawyers of Gaddafi son urge ICC to drop case

Bahrain jails 5 people on charges linked to ‘terrorism’

Clashes continue at Al-Aqsa compound

Turkey allows German minister visit after air base row

UN chief tells Israelis, Palestinians 'stand firm against violence'

Brexit vote unlikely to curtail Gulf appetite for London property

Egypt cancels high school final exam after online leaks

Dozens killed as clashes intensify in Yemen

Sarraj says only united military can defeat ISIS in Libya

Jordan court charges 21 people with 'terrorism'

Iraq forces take ISIS last positions in Fallujah

Iran conceals heated military standoff in Kurdish region

Brexit vote lays bare depth of division across Britain

Young Britons vent anger at grey Brexit vote

Russia planes pound Aleppo as Syria regime forces closes in

Car bomb kills four civilians in Libya's Benghazi

US-backed Syria fighters edge further into ISIS border hub

Tunisia flaunts seaside security to bring back tourists

Britain and EU: A fraught divorce

Libya govt. forces repel ISIS counterattack in Sirte

Oil slides on British referendum result

Crashed EgyptAir black boxes to go to France for repairs

5,000 migrants rescued from rubber dinghies in Mediterranean

Britain votes to break away from EU, PM resigns

Turkey acquits British academic over 'terror propaganda' charges

24 jailed in Bahrain for forming IS cell

Iraq commander says forces control over 80% of Fallujah

Israel sentences 4 Palestinians to life

Turkey in new quest to patch up with regional foes

Defiant Bahrain moves to dissolve opposition bloc

Kurdish-Arab forces push into IS Syria bastion of Manbij

Yemen govt says rebels must withdraw before any transition

Turkey confirms new accession talks with EU

Saudi suspect found dead after gunfight in Shiite town

Suspended Kuwait sues IOC for damages

Erdogan lashes out at EU treatment of Turkey