Tony Blair believes the West is completely unaware of Mideast events
I got to know Tony – as he is called by the people around him – closely during the period following the overthrowing of the Brotherhood
On July 7 2013, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair wrote an article in UK paper The Observer, where he expressed his stance favoring the intervention of the Egyptian army to stand beside the people and overthrow the Brotherhood. Not everyone in Britain agreed with what he wrote. He was criticized by the media as well as British and Western politicians. However, the campaign that was waged against him did not deter the man from holding to his stance. He even went beyond that and visited Cairo for several times, and wanted to turn his stance from words into action. Due to his positions, Blair was subject to many campaigns attacking and discrediting him. It is needless to mention that he already is a controversial figure whose politics are not much loved by the British people. In contrast, it is quite clear that the man maintained his strong presence on the international level. No contemporary British politician managed to stay under the spotlight radiating controversy and influence as much as Blair did.
I got to know Tony – as he is called by the people around him – closely during the period following the overthrowing of the Brotherhood. The last time we talked, he tackled the reason why he was taking a stand against the group: “I think that some of us who supported the June Revolution feel that we took the right decision. Egypt was in a state of crisis, and I think that it was tumbling into the abyss. Millions of people had to go on the streets, because they knew what are the actions to be taken regarding this situation. Despite the various challenges, I believe that the state is now on the right track.”
I got to know Tony – as he is called by the people around him – closely during the period following the overthrowing of the BrotherhoodAbdel Latif el-Menawy
He added: “I am used to such criticism from the media, especially if you enjoy a wide experience; you should use this experience to tell the people what you are doing. What you say might seem to be futile. However, in my opinion, I saw and understood what was happening in Egypt. I saw the systematic acquisition of all the institutions by the Muslim Brotherhood, as a means to a certain goal and not to democracy. My job is to tell people to be aware and to keep their eyes wide open; it would not be easy for them if the situation stays the same”.
Tony believes that the problem is that the West is completely unaware of what is happening in the Middle East. He does not exempt himself from this ignorance, but after he left his post in the government and got involved in the peace process in the Middle East, he was able to understand the nature and complexity of the region.
Mursi is no Merkel
Perhaps one of the most important concepts that he understood is the belief of the West that the Muslim Brotherhood is similar to German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Party; this is ironic as it is completely the opposite. The West failed to understand that there is a huge gap between the reality of what is happening in the Middle East and the image that the west wants to see.
Tony, who considers himself a supporter for Egypt and President Sisi, believes that he has no choice in front of everyone, but to succeed. He says in this regard: “What I can do to Egypt and tell to the West is as follows: it is essential for our security that Egypt succeeds. If you look at the situation in the region, whether it is the Palestinian-Israeli case, ISIS activities or even the Libyan and Yemeni crises, you will find that none of these problems and crises can be resolved if the Brotherhood were in power instead of Sisi. The pillar of our security is the victory of Egypt. This victory is necessary to achieve the security of Western countries, given the importance of the role of Cairo in the crises witnessed in some countries of the Middle East”.
We will always endeavor to make, defend and support new friends. Friendly influential voices are rare at this stage, amid the events and bloodshed taking place in the region.
Abdel Latif el-Menawy is an author, columnist and multimedia journalist who has covered conflicts around the world. He is the author of “Tahrir: the last 18 days of Mubarak,” a book he wrote as an eyewitness to events during the 18 days before the stepping down of former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak. Menawy’s most recent public position was head of Egypt’s News Center. He is a member of the National Union of Journalists in the United Kingdom, and the Egyptian Journalists Syndicate. He can be found on Twitter @ALMenawy