Tony Blair has called out for the west to actively assume responsibility in stabilizing the Middle East. Following the militant insurgency in Iraq, the former prime minister of Britain said that military action by western governments was necessary to stop the unrest in the region. Speaking on a morning show of a UK-based TV channel, Blair said that intervention by the west was in the best interests of the western people.
The bloody insurgency in Iraq, carried out by members of the Islamic State in Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) was because the West failed to launch any military action in Syria, Blair said. It was not because of the western intervention of 2003, when governments sent troops to topple the infamous leader Saddam Hussein, according to the former prime minister.
Blair shares his views on intervention options by the West
Prior to the interview on the morning show, Blair had written an essay on the Middle East, Syria and Iraq urging governments of the West to rethink their strategy towards Syria. With a civil war impending in Iraq and the jihadi group marching towards capital city Baghdad, Blair wrote that the troubled nation was in “mortal danger.” The west must support Baghdad in restoring peace and beating the insurgent forces.
Blair linked the Iraqi crisis to Syria. Though the ISIS agents originate in Iraq, Blair said, they were trained during the Syrian war. The whole takeover was planned across the Syrian border. The war in Syria enabled the group to rebuild, refinance and re-arm.
The unrest in Iraq began with ISIS agents invading and seizing power in Mosul. Located north of Baghdad, Mosul is the second largest town of Baghdad. Militants posted graphic pictures of torturing and killing captured Iraqi soldiers. A video of the group beheading a man has also allegedly been posted.
The best policy, according to Blair
The west must choose to intervene in Syria and Iraq, Blair said. Maybe not as much as it did in Afghanistan or previously in Iraq. Sending ground troops may not be necessary. However options like drones and air strikes, used successfully in Libya must be considered. The jihadis would fight the west if not stopped early, warned Blair.
Blair’s remarks were criticized by Clare Short from the Labor Party. A former International Development Secretary, Short,said that extremist views in the Middle East were fueled by “friends of Blair and the West,” viz. Saudi Arabia. Both London and Washington D.C. have indicated that they would send troops to Iraq to help the Iraqi government maintain law and order in the nation, and protect Baghdad from the ISIS agents.