Blairs Washington visit and the curious case of a disappearing
Gatenby, Possum News Network
27 May 2006
On Friday 26 May, just hours after Tony Blair and George
Bush began talks in Washington on the progress of their
occupation of Iraq, a curious article appeared on the BBCs website.
Headlined Iran FM begins first Baghdad trip, it was posted
at 0617 GMT. Penned by one Pam O'Toole, it painted a faux-objective,
strangely upbeat, picture of the Iranian foreign ministers impending
visit to Iraq.
This was all the more extraordinary because the US and British governments,
through compliant sections of the media including the BBC which
is now virtually the official mouthpiece of the Blair government
have been engaged in a propaganda campaign demonising the Tehran government
in preparation for an aerial assault on Iran.
short, the article was strikingly out of tune with the anti-Iranian
chorus which continues to insist that Tehran is almost incomprehensively
evil and the mainstay of most world terrorism.I picked up a link to
this article while browsing the rather selective 1st Headlines
site (http://www.1stheadlines.com). Within hours, it had disappeared
from the BBCs website, although OTooles articles appear
to be comprehensively archived there, some dating back to the late 1990s.
followed OToole career, but on the evidence of this article shed
have been right at home scribbling for the Stalinist regime of the old
USSR. To make this point a little clearer I couldnt resist adding
a few words (bold in square brackets) and deletions (struck through)
and with those changes her report could be something one might have
read in Pravda in the 1960s.
peoples Democratic Republic of] Iran's Foreign Minister,
[Comrade] Manouchehr Mottaki, is due in Iraq for talks with top
fraternal government of] Tehran is strongly opposed to the presence
of US [imperialist] forces in Iraq.
[Comrade] Mottaki's visit comes against a backdrop of increasing
sectarian violence in Iraq [fomented by imperialist agencies]
and [mutual] security issues are likely to be high on the priority
says all Iraq's problems stem from the presence of US [imperialist]
troops and wants them to withdraw.
it also fears that if [, due to imperialist meddling,] Iraq
fragments, it could cause regional instability [prejudicing mutual
economic and social progress].
relatively stable Iraq and may offer to use its influence
with [fraternal] Shia groups and parties to help achieve that.
want to discuss the continuing presence of [reactionary] Iranian
armed opposition group in Iraq, while Baghdad may raise Iran's recent
military operations against [Zionist puppet] Kurdish insurgents
along their joint frontier.
Tehran may again raise allegations that Western [imperialist]
military forces based in Iraq are helping to fuel unrest among Iran's
ethnic minorities across the border.
possibility of Washington and Tehran holding direct talks about Iraq
was touted recently [by the capitalist press], but now appears
[as a result of the intransigence of reactionary imperialist interests]
to have receded.
Progressive governments of] Tehran and Baghdad have strong cultural,
religious and economic ties.
officials say a secure, stable and
more independent Iraq will
be in the interests of Iran and other [progressive] regional
those were the days!
this stitched-up style is a dead certain indication that the writer
is working to a government script. The BBC story followed mainstream
media reports that British troops were in a militarily untenable position
in Iraqs south and that about half the force would shortly be
weeks there have been similar predictions from authoritative sources
that the US was also looking to draw down its ground troop commitment
article was almost certainly part of the stage management for Blairs
talks with Bush. It would not have gone unnoticed by the presidents
media minders. It certainly reads as if it were meant to send a public
signal to the American president that Blair wanted out of Iraq, wanted
no part of a bombing campaign against Iran, and was prepared to enter
negotiations with Tehran. Indeed the article underlined the fact that
Tehran controls the fate of the Green Zone government.
It is not surprising that Blair would want to emphasise this point by
making it public through the BBC. Britains military position in
Iraqs south is dangerously untenable. The safety of British troops
already depends on Britains accommodation with Tehrans Iraqi
was the ploy it didnt work. Blair backed down. Perhaps he unexpectedly
caved in to Bush before the article could hit the airwaves and the web.
On the night of Thursday 25 May, Blair looking weary and under
pressure after his visit to Iraq (to quote the Sydney Morning
Herald) stood beside Bush to insist that despite reports there were
no plans to withdraw US or British forces. In classic Stalinist style,
OTooles article, suddenly redundant, disappeared as if it
had never existed.
On Friday 26 May, the puppet Iraqi foreign minister, Hoshiyar Zebari,
said that Iran had the right to develop a peaceful nuclear program.
what blackmail Bush applied to get Blair to stay in Iraq. Who knows
what pressure he applied to the Japanese government to get them to extend
their small reconstruction role in al-Muthanna province after they had
all but officially announced their imminent departure. That decision
also meant that John Howard had no grounds for withdrawing the small
Australian contingent protecting the Japanese (who are not permitted
to get involved in any actual fighting). It remains to be seen whether
the new Italian Government will actually withdraw Italian troops in
line with their election promises or will simply indicate a gradual
draw-down then repeatedly delay it. Who knows what pressure Bush will
exert to get this result.
In any event, George screwed Tony again. British troops will remain
in Iraq, in spite of Blairs misgivings.
politicians of the Iraqi puppet government would certainly have welcomed
the withdrawal of the Coalition from the Southern provinces and the
handing of formal control to their sectarian militias and the police
and army units they own.Tehran will be angered by the Coalitions
failure to withdraw and in response it is likely to use its surrogate
forces to gradually apply more and more military pressure to the Coalitions
outnumbered troops in the South. Tony Blair has only himself to blame.