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.”

 

New government in Yemen plus cut in fuel prices

11 Egypt policemen killed in Sinai bomb blast

US army back in Somalia

Paris, Riyadh 'finalising' $3bn Lebanon arms deal

Sudan orders Iran to close cultural centres

Syria arrests pro-regime activists over criticism

Libya pro-Islamist figure presents rival cabinet lineup

Israel faces mounting criticism over Palestinian land grab

Saudi Arabia arrests 88 suspected extremists in 'anti-terror' drive

New UN chief for South Sudan faces ‘huge challenge’

US air strikes target senior Shebab officials in Somalia

‘Scourge of terrorism’ pushes Africa to intensify cooperation

Relatives of missing Iraq soldiers storm parliament in Baghdad

IS accused of 'systematic ethnic cleansing' in Iraq

UK announces tougher measures against Britons planning jihad

Algeria hosts new round of Mali peace talks

US launches new round of air strikes around Iraq dam

Turkey summons US charge d'affaires over Snowden claims

Turkey new PM promises peace with Kurds

Will UN Human Rights Council investigate IS abuses?

Iran convicts Ahmadinejad's vice president for embezzlement

Fierce clashes shatter uneasy calm near armistice line in Golan Heights

Turkey detains dozens of police in new nationwide raids

Libya loses control of Tripoli to Islamist-led militias

Thousands of Huthis defy UN in new show of strength

Iraq presses fightback against jihadist-led militants

Wounded Gazans need long-term care

Britain to go tougher on jihadist suspects

Libyan Islamist militiamen control US embassy compound

Israel shoots down drone over occupied Golan Heights

Yemen army suffers heavy losses in new wave of Qaeda attacks

Turkish army breaks silence on Kurdish peace talks

Islamic State offers grim inspiration to African extremists

Shebab target intelligence HQ in Somalia

Israel expropriates 988 acres of Palestinian land in West Bank

Iraq recaptures Amerli from Islamic State in biggest success so far

Saudi King calls for ‘strong and rapid action’ against jihadists

Jihadists distribute Yazidi women as spoils of war to fighters

Gulf countries resolve six-month dispute with Qatar

Egypt reduces Badie death sentence to life in prison

AU forces liberate former Shebab stronghold in Somalia

Philippines enters war in Syria!

Kurds put aside old rivalries to battle jihadists in Iraq

Iran says new sanctions cast doubt on US sincerity

US imposes new sanctions on Iran