Tony Blair's Islamist obsession is a smokescreen to defend 'blood for oil' | Nafeez Ahmed

The ever-looming spectre of 'Them' distracts us from the deeper, systemic causes of the Crisis of Civilisation

Yesterday morning, Tony Blair - former Prime Minister and current Middle East envoy for the UN, US, EU and Russia - delivered one of the most Orwellian speeches of his career at Bloomberg London HQ, on the subject of 'Why the Middle East matters':

"When we consider the defining challenges of our time, surely this one should be up there along with the challenge of the environment or economic instability."

"First and most obviously, it is still where a large part of the world's energy supplies are generated, and whatever the long term implications of the USA energy revolution, the world's dependence on the Middle East is not going to disappear any time soon. In any event, it has a determining effect on the price of oil; and thus on the stability and working of the global economy."

"Underneath the turmoil and revolution of the past years is one very clear and unambiguous struggle: between those with a modern view of the Middle East, one of pluralistic societies and open economies, where the attitudes and patterns of globalisation are embraced; and, on the other side, those who want to impose an ideology born out of a belief that there is one proper religion and one proper view of it, and that this view should, exclusively, determine the nature of society and the political economy."

"Even the word 'communist' has been applied so liberally and so loosely to revolutionary or radical regimes that any government risks being so characterised if it adopts one or more of the following policies which the State Department finds distasteful: nationalisation of private industry, particularly foreign-owned corporations, radical land reform, autarchic trade policies, acceptance of Soviet or Chinese aid, insistence upon following an anti-American or non-aligned foreign policy, among others."

"... responsible for violently killing 12 to 15 million people since WW II and causing the death of hundreds of millions more as their economies were destroyed or those countries were denied the right to restructure to care for their people that is the record of the Western imperial centers of capital from 1945 to 1990."

"In the months since the coup more than 300 policemen and soldiers have been killed in terrorist attacks or clashes with protesters. Egypt's press has near-unanimously pinned blanket blame on the Muslim Brotherhood, which the government officially declared a terrorist organisation in December. This is despite evidence that the security people were targeted by more radical Islamist groups, and despite the killing of an estimated 3,000 civilians, most of them supporters of Mr Morsi."

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