Blair on Egypt and Saudi Arabia
I haven’t commented much on Tony Blair’s speech last week, “Why the Middle East Matters“, partly because I don’t understand his argument about Egypt – that the international community should give “Egypt and its new president as much assistance as we can”. I didn’t agree with him last year, and I am doubtful now. I know very little about Egypt, but Kyle Orton’s critique of the speech seems to make a lot of sense.
One more thing. My esteemed colleague Patrick Cockburn, who undoubtedly knows a lot about the Middle East, was rude about the speech in last week’s Independent on Sunday. That is not surprising, but I found it peculiar that he accused Blair of “regurgitating the official line of Saudi Arabia and its Gulf allies”.
Even I recognised the implied criticism of Saudi Arabia in the speech:
Consider this absurdity: that we spend billions of dollars on security arrangements and on defence to protect ourselves against the consequences of an ideology that is being advocated in the formal and informal school systems and in civic institutions of the very countries with whom we have intimate security and defence relationships.
I thought he might also be referring to Pakistan, but something interesting seems to be going on here. The speech was praised by Abdulrahman al-Rashed, the general manager of Al Arabiya News Channel, which was set up by the Saudi royal family as a rival to Al Jazeera, owned by the Qatari ruling family.
If anyone would like to explain, my email address is email@example.com.Tagged in: egypt, saudi arabia, tony blair
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