The Spectator

Good Friday for the Middle East

Good Friday for the Middle East
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So Tony Blair is off to the Middle East as peace envoy - not for the US, but for the "Quartet" of UN, EU, America and Russia. His decision to accept this role, and so soon, is more eloquent than any of the (many) farewell speeches he has made. First, it shows that he regards the Good Friday Agreement as his greatest achievement, and his sleepless capacity to make people talk to one another as his greatest talent. Whether the smoke-filled rooms of Stormont will prove to be the same as the conference chambers of Tel Aviv, Damascus and Ramallah is another matter. Second, Mr Blair's new job reveals a desire if not quite to atone for what has happened in the region on his watch then at least to pursue unfinished business. Well, he wasn't going to leave all that be, now was he? Third, it confirms my longstanding suspicion that Mr Blair's revenge on Mr Brown would be to try to upstage him on the global stage. The Blair Accords? The Great Blair Peace Deal of Jerusalem? Catchy, isn't it?