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Opinion: Blair perpetuates the West's original sin

As special envoy to the Middle East, Tony Blair spreads fear of the Muslim Brotherhood.

One voice of the West has me worried. Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair holds the position of "Special Envoy of the Middle East Quartet." The Quartet comprises the United Nations, the United States, the European Union and Russia as they are involved in mediating the Israel-Palestine conflict. Blair’s comments this past weekend in a BBC interview make it clear that official thinking is still trapped inside the West's fear and ignorance.

As opposed to those who led the spontaneous uprising in Egypt, "the Muslim Brotherhood is very well-organized," Blair said. "It's very disciplined and very strategic " Then he added, ominously, "And there are links between the Muslim Brotherhood and other people in the region." It was quite clear he didn't mean they had links to cousins working in the oil fields of Bahrain. He meant Al Qaeda and Hamas.

Last week, even as U.S. President Barack Obama was calling for a transition from the Mubarak regime to begin, Blair was on CNN praising the Egyptian strong man: "I've worked with him on the Middle East peace process between the Israelis and the Palestinians so this is somebody I'm constantly in contact with and working with and on that issue, I have to say, he's been immensely courageous and a force for good.”

The protesters in Tahrir Square and around the country seem to be focused on re-building Egypt, not the Arab Nation. It feels as if they may be trying to redeem themselves from that terrible error of 65 years ago. Blair doesn't seem ready to take a similar leap of faith. If he doesn't see this is a new beginning perhaps it would be best for him to stand down as a representative of democratic powers. And if he won't, the Obama administration should tell him forcefully to return to private life so that someone who is not tainted by the West's original sin can take his place.

More about the unrest in the Middle East:

The altered aura of the Arab state Everything you need to know Egypt: Four ways forward


 

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/worldview/110207/tony-blair-egypt-muslim-brotherhood-pan-arabism