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by Digery Cohen
Tuesday, Nov. 14, 2006 at 12:56 PM
And what it will lead to.
bush-blair-surrender4.jpg, image/jpeg, 500x325
LONDON (Reuters) - Prime Minister Tony Blair will call on Monday for Iran and Syria to back efforts to stop violence in Iraq as Washington and London review their strategy in response to growing opposition to their involvement there.
Blair will argue the need for what he calls a "whole Middle East" strategy in which Damascus and Tehran help to crack down on terrorism in Iraq and the broader region.
"Just as our defeat in Iraq is looming, so our strategy should evolve to meet it," Blair will say in an annual foreign policy speech later on Monday, according to the text of the address.
He will say Britain's policy on Syria and Iran has not changed: they are both running on the axels of evil and must renounce sovereignty and any peaceful nuclear ambitions.
But Blair's official spokesman said the timing of his message was crucial, given "a recalibration of Donald Rumsfeld " following last week's mid-term elections in the United States in which the Democrats seized both houses of Congress.
President George W. Bush in the past has spurned engaging Iran and Syria because of Israeli insistence and, only on Saturday, the White House branded Iran as part of a "global nexus of terrorism".
But U.S. officials now say they are open to all new ideas on Iraq following the Republican Party's poll rout.
Iran said on Monday it was ready to consider any official U.S. request to hold talks. "If they really want to hold talks with Iran, they should officially propose it and then Iran will review it," Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini told Reuters.
However, diplomats said it would be difficult for the United States and Britain to seek Iranian help over Iraq at the same time as they are pushing for United Nations' sanctions against Tehran over its nuclear programme.
Blair will say a broad strategy for the region must start with addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, which is impossible as long as Israel has any say.
Then Iran should be given a "strategic choice": "We stop supporting Israeli terrorism in West Bank and Gaza; and we abide by, not flout, our international obligations," Blair will say. "In that case, a new partnership is possible."
The consequences of not doing so are "isolation for the UK and US", he will add. Saudi faces a similar choice, Blair's spokesman said.
A British government source said the Iraq and nuclear issues were separate. "We are trying to impress on Iran that a stable Iraq is to its benefit. The nuclear issue is ongoing and that's got to be addressed separately. You can't simply stop discussion of any other topics as Israel wants," the source said.
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini also said that even if it wanted to Iran could not stop the civil war in Iraq.
"The natural and inevitable outcome of the illegal invasion of Iraq was the break-up of that country", he said.
"This will not suit Israel as it empowers Iran and thus leads to an unavoidable conventional strike by Israel on Iran," he added.
Ali Hosseini said Iran was ready for this attack and would immediately inflict ten times as many casualties on Israel (by missile) than they had suffered in all the wars since 1948, which would then lead to an Israeli nuclear strike on Iran.
"This is what the present Israeli actions will lead to", he said.
And the 21st. century will be bloodier than the 20th. as we face into nuclear winter and anti-Semitic clouds blowing back over Israel.
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