04 July 2014

Blair makes nice with Sisi—following in Margaret's steps?

Former British PM Margaret Thatcher's fondness for Chilean military dictator Augusto Pinochet was infamous. Pinochet was a mass torturer and murderer, but the iron lady was quite fond of him despite his peccadilloes. He was a favourite partner for tea.

Now it seems former PM Tony Blair also has a fondness for military dictators. He has agreed to become an adviser to Egyptian president, and former general, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi. Sisi is truly a rival for Pinochet when it comes to bloodletting, only in power for a year and already he has killed more than 2,500 protesters and imprisoned over 20,000. More recently his regime sentenced three journalists, including one Canadian, to long prison terms for ... well, for committing journalism.

Tony claims he will not make money out of the arrangement, yet he is acting on behalf of a program funded by the United Arab Emirates that has promised to deliver huge business opportunities to those involved. This nest of dictators—the Emirates and Saudi Arabia—are jolly good friends of the UK and faithful customers of British arms dealers.

But is it only commerce that attracts politicians like Thatcher and Blair to these political thugs? Does that macho military swagger turn them on? Or did Pinochet's butchery of leftists excite Thatcher's political passions and Sisi's butchery of the Muslim Brotherhood excite Blair's? In any case, it's an unhealthy attraction that has led both to the most unseemly relationships and makes mock of their democratic pretensions.

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