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Saturday, September 09, 2006


Blair: Western leaders see the danger of Islamic extremism, but our public still does not.

Western leaders are increasingly aware of the global nature of the struggle against Islamic extremism led by Iran, but within Western public opinion "there is a big battle to be won."

This somber assessment was offered here Sunday by British Prime Minister Tony Blair, in an interview with Haaretz. The British leader, who just recently announced his intention to step down within a year, acknowledged that his own domestic political difficulties were closely tied with this "ideological battle" for British and Western hearts and minds.

Because I think amongst the leaders in Europe I think it is clear. Amongst the people in Europe and Western opinion there is a big battle to be won. I mean, I'm being just honest about this. And I think there is a desire not to face the fact that we are fighting a global struggle. There are all sorts of issues to do with America and whether people want to be associated with America. And I think there is sometimes a naivete about organizations like Hezbollah and the activities of Iran. I'm just being frank. I think there is a battle, and it is important that we take our case out and win that battle.

And one part of winning the battle is making the case as to why Israel is entitled to its security.

How can Israel fend off the erosion of its legitimacy, the proposed indictments of Israeli officers... academic boycott in Europe and in UK in particular?
The thing is: to give people a real sense of strategic clarity about the threat that we face. We may not succeed, but we should always strive.

With the recent arrests of suspected terrorists in the UK. These are people who grew up in the UK, in the welfare state, with no experience of any form of oppression or occupation. Did you ask yourselves what went wrong, what you did wrong?
Well, they become like that. It's not necessarily what have we done wrong, because part of the problem of what you have in Western opinion is that Western opinion always wants to believe that it's our fault and these people want to have a sort of, you know, grievance culture that they visit upon us and say it's our fault. And so we have a young British- born man of Pakistani origin sitting in front of a television screen saying I will go and kill innocent people because of the oppression of Muslims, when he has been brought up in a country that has given him complete religious freedom and full democratic rights and actually a very good job and standard of living. Now, that warped mind has grown out of a global movement based on a perversion of Islam which we have to confront, and we have to confront it globally.

And as I said recently in my L.A. speech, the first way to win a battle is to realize you're in a battle. That's part of the trouble: We don't yet really understand this is a global movement and it requires a global strategy to beat it.

Yeah, but you know in the end sometimes it takes people a long time to wake up. And sometimes these struggles go over a whole generation, almost. It's less important what my position is - but as you say rightly, I expect it indicates that we've got a big job to do.

Regarding Iran, do you agree with the comparisons to the 1930s that we often read about?
When you have the President of a country as powerful as Iran say those things, it may be very foolish of us to assume he doesn't mean them. And when he's also trying to acquire a nuclear weapon, then I think the warning signs are pretty clear... I think for a president of a country to say they want to wipe another country off the face of the earth and at the same time he's trying to acquire a nuclear weapons capability - if we don't get worried about that, future historians will raise a few questions about us and about our judgment.


Anonymous Lord Chamberlain said...

Send him the bom.

9/11/2006 08:33:00 PM  

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