The cat i' the adage

"The growth of knowledge depends entirely on disagreement" Karl Popper (1902 - 1994)

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

A lesson Blair is unlikely to forget

In one of the biggest blunders of his premiership, Tony Blair was persuaded to visit Damascus to chum up to Boy Assad. This was shortly after 9/11.

All did not go well:

The Prime Minister had to endure a lecture from President Assad, the new Syrian leader, who defended Islamic suicide bombers as "resistance fighters" and condemned civilian deaths in Afghanistan.

Mr Assad, 36 years old and British educated, insisted that Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, and the other extremist groups harboured by Syria were no different to Gen de Gaulle and the French resistance who were sheltered by London during the war.

The Prime Minister had hoped to win at least tacit support for the air campaign against Afghanistan, but was forced to listen as the Syrian president heaped criticism on the killing of Afghan civilians.

Assad is in our thoughts again as the disastrous consequences of his policy in Lebanon rebounds on him. I should be surprised if Mr Blair was losing too much sleep over the fate of his friend.


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