Scottish Daily Mail

PEACE ENVOY OR CYNICAL PROFITEER?

-

SO CLOSELY intertwine­d are Blair’s moneymakin­g and political interests that it is often hard to distinguis­h between the two.

When he negotiated a deal in November 2009 for phone lines in Gaza to be installed by Palestinia­n company Wataniya — which is owned by a client of J. P. Morgan — in what capacity was he working?

Was he acting only as Middle East envoy? Or is it possible he was acting in his role as a consultant to J P Morgan (which he flatly denies)?

Blair’s efforts to persuade Israel to release the necessary share of the radio spectrum for the Wataniya deal to go ahead were extensive. He lobbied the Israeli government for more than a year and finally, we can reveal, he even wrote to the then U.S. Secretary of State, Hillary Clinton, telling her it was a ‘major project, which if successful would entail the largest investment in the Palestinia­n economy to date’.

Why did he do this? Could it be that he wanted her to put pressure on the Israeli government to agree to the deal?

The more Machiavell­ian interpreta­tion sees Blair serving his paymasters’ interests — and indirectly his own.

As James Wolfensohn told us: ‘For Tony Blair to say, “I would like to talk to you about the peace process” is a very different entry point from saying, “I would like to get an oil concession in the east of your country for a client” or, “I would like to become an adviser to your country”.’

So, whose hat was Tony Blair wearing when he negotiated the mobile phone concession?

The same question can be asked about another of his claimed major successes: the lobbying of Israel for approval of an offshore gas extraction deal for Gaza.

This, too, benefited a corporate client of J. P. Morgan — British Gas — and Consolidat­ed Contractor­s Company (CCC), a big, privately owned constructi­on firm, which is a client of . . . Tony Blair Associates.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from United Kingdom