Questions on Israel's role

Published February 7th, 2010 - 02:50 GMT

The pernicious role of Israeli self-serving and dissembling diplomacy on critical issues in Middle East security is dangerous, as your report of the Britain-Israel Communications and Research Centre exposes (M Star, February 3).
Indeed, there was one striking revelation embedded in Tony Blair's oral evidence to the Iraq inquiry last Friday which has been widely overlooked.
Responding to a series of questions by Baroness Prashar on Mr Blair's now notorious one-to-one meeting with George W Bush at the president's ranch in Crawford, Texas, in April 2002, from which Blair excluded from attendance his three closest political advisers - head of government communications Alastair Campbell, chief of staff Jonathan Powell and senior foreign policy advisor Sir David Manning - Blair said, perhaps unguardedly: "I think, in fact, I remember, actually, there may have been conversations that we had even with Israelis, the two of us, whilst we were there.
"So that was a major part of all this. But the principal part of my conversation was really to try and say: 'Look, in the end we have got to deal with the various different dimensions of this whole issue.'"
In a meeting so sensitive that Blair excluded his three closest confidants either unnamed Israelis were in attendance or else they were in direct contemporaneous communication with two would-be war leaders.
Who were these Israelis? What role did they play in the meeting? And why did none of the Chilcot panel ask any follow-up questions after Blair made this admission of their involvement in this key meeting that Blair's own ambassador to Washington at the time told Chilcot is where Blair and Bush signed a pact to depose Saddam?
If Blair is to be recalled by Chilcot to clarify conflicting evidence, as is reported, he should surely be pressed to explain what role these mysterious Israelis played in the Crawford confab.
We know according to recent reports that senior Israeli politicians are currently lobbying furiously for the international community to face down Iran over its atomic aspirations. Did Tel Aviv indulge in similar pressure when Saddam's Iraq was perceived as the regional nuclear threat eight years ago?
Dr David Lowry
Stoneleigh, W. Midlands

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