As the Middle East descends deeper and deeper into a vicious cycle of death and destruction, the Reverend Tony Blair has stepped once again onto the world stage as international envoy for the Middle East, representing the "Quartet" of the European Union, Russia, United Nations and United States. In this new role, Blair has the strong backing of the US President George W. Bush, who is the key player. In other words, Blair will bend the knee as always to US imperialism and its interests.
The only small problem for Blair's newfound role is that he is one of the most hated figures in the Middle East next to George Bush and Ehud Olmert, the Israeli Prime Minister. After all, he invaded Iraq, failed to call for a ceasefire during Israel's bombardment of Lebanon last summer, and is regarded as a puppet of US foreign policy. For Blair, the Iraq war was a "blood price" worth paying. But this is not a major obstacle as he is regarded with "awe" by the despotic ruling elites of the Middle East, such as Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Egypt, Kuwait and other Gulf states, including the US stooge Mahmoud Abbas. The masses are only so much small change in this great game.
But Blair is a man of religious conviction, a true fundamentalist. He plans to foster interfaith dialogue by means of his newly-established global foundation to be run apparently from offices at the Â£3.5m Connaught Square. This Blair Foundation comes with the papal imprimatur. When the prime minister met Pope Benedict XVI last May, they discussed how interfaith dialogue between moderate religious leaders can help with conflict resolution.
"It is a pity that Mr Blair did not think more deeply about issues of religious strife before he went and bombed Baghdad," said Labour MP Ian Gibson. "Now he wants to be vicar to the world? It is ridiculous."
Gordon Brown, the new prime minister, is also deeply unhappy with the appointment. Despite his Old Testament credentials, he wants to be given the chance of being George Bush's doormat.
Blair, who has blood on his hands after a decade in power, has let it be known of an interest in the Middle East question, like someone displaying an interest in stamp collecting. He intends to soap the rope for the Palestinian masses by feeding the illusion that their national aspirations can be resolved under capitalism, while dropping a wink to the Israeli ruling class that nothing will be done to threaten their interests.
It was none other than former US president Jimmy Carter, that mealy-mouthed preacher, who hypocritically lambasted Blair for participating in George Bush's Iraq adventure. But Carter's pacifism didn't stretch as far as the US war in Vietnam which he supported to the bitter end. But the Republicans and Democrats alike were supporters of the Iraq war. They all linked their fate to Bush's war chariot. Even today, the Democrats continue to vote millions of dollars for the war in Iraq.
They would like to get out from this mess, but they sink deeper into the morass. Even the British ambassador to Afghanistan is saying that British troops will still be there thirty years from now. However, Blair has warned the west not to lose the will to win the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, as he hit back at those who claim the Iraq war has gone wrong because of a lack of planning.
Jay Garner, the former US general appointed two months before the invasion to head reconstruction in Iraq, believes the country is on the brink of a genocidal civil war and its government will fall apart unless the US changes course. But the situation is going from bad to worse.
In desperation, and since the "surge" is not having the desired effect, the US military is now arming and funding Sunni gangs to help them fight other Sunni gangs as well as pitting Sunnis against Shias. This can only fuel the civil war that most observers expect to erupt with full fury as American and British forces pull back. And that's in addition to arming the largely Shia forces of the Iraqi army. One way or another, Americans are giving Iraqis more weapons with which they can kill each other. "Whom the Gods would destroy, they first make mad."
The imperialist intervention in Iraq and Afghanistan had nothing to do with "democracy", which is simply used as a ploy, and everything to do with oil and the west's strategic interests. When Hamas won the elections in January 2006, they refused to recognize it and imposed a blockade. With a million dead and 1.5 million Iraqis fleeing to neighbouring states, mainly in Syria and Jordan, the situation is reaching a point of no return.
There can be no solution on the basis of capitalism and imperialism, only war, destruction and misery. The whole of the Middle East is a cauldron of death and destruction, instigated by the imperialists, eager to grab the oil reserves and spheres of influence. Despite all the "agreements" and "road maps" of the last 40 years, nothing has been resolved. The Palestinian Authority now consists of two artificial statelets. As we predicted, the so-called United Nations has completely failed.
Neither can religious fundamentalism offer a way out. Only the working class of the region can put an end to this nightmare. Only the overthrow of the reactionary Arab ruling cliques, which are subservient to imperialism, as well as the Israeli ruling class, can lead to a solution. Only the overthrow of capitalism and the establishment of a socialist Federation of the Middle East can answer the national and social aspirations of the Arab masses, including the Palestinians. Within such a Federation will be established a socialist federated state of the Palestinians and the Israelis. Only then can the carnage be ended. It is clear that imperialism's envoy can only prolong the suffering.