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Tony Blair to warn West: Take sides against radical Islam

- The Washington Times - Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair is expected to issue a stark warning to the United States on Wednesday to choose sides and draw lines in the fight against radical Islam, the Guardian reported, citing an advance copy of his speech.

Mr. Blair is due to issue his remarks in London, the Guardian reported: "The important point for western opinion is that this is a struggle with two sides. So when we look at the Middle East and beyond it to Pakistan or Iran and elsewhere, it isn't just a vast unfathomable mess with no end in sight and no one worthy of our support. It is in fact a struggle in which our own strategic interests are intimately involved — where there are indeed people we should support and who, ironically, are probably in the majority if only that majority were mobilized, organized and helped."

He then cautions about the need to "take sides," the newspaper reported.

"What is absolutely necessary is that we first liberate ourselves from our own attitude," he will say, the Guardian reported. "We have to take sides. We have to stop treating each country on the basis of whatever seems to make for the easiest life for us at any one time. We have to have an approach to the region that is coherent and sees it as a whole. And above all, we have to commit. We have to 'engage.'"

Mr. Blair's aides clarified that the former prime minister wasn't calling for a widespread revolution, but was rather only asking that the West become more involved in Mideast struggles, like the one waging in Syria, the Guardian said,

On radical Islam, Mr. Blair was blunt.

"The threat of this radical Islam is not abating," he is expected to say, the Guardian reported. "It is growing. It is spreading across the world. It is destabilizing communities and even nations. It is undermining the possibility of peaceful co-existence in an era of globalization. And in the face of this threat, we seem curiously reluctant to acknowledge it and powerless to counter it effectively."

Mr. Blair also says spending on certain nations with ideologies that run counter to more democratic cultures is counterproductive, and that includes Egypt, the Guardian said.

His remarks include: "[The] Muslim Brotherhood government was not simply a bad government. It was systematically taking over the traditions and institutions of the country. ... [There must be] some sensitivity to the fact that over 400 police officers have suffered violent deaths and several hundred soldiers have been killed."

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