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Tony Blair, War Crimes and the Plot to Remove Jeremy Corbyn

By   Follow Me on Twitter     Message Mark John Maguire       (Page 1 of 1 pages)     Permalink

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In 2 weeks time the long awaited Chilcott Report into the Iraq War is widely expected to savage ex British Prime Minister Tony Blair. Blair and others have done their best, it seems, to delay the report, but its publication is now imminent. A cross-party group of MPs is preparing to press for Tony Blair to be prosecuted for War Crimes. Of even greater concern, though, amongst Blairite supporters and many Tories and establishment figures, Jeremy Corbyn as leader of Her Majesty's Opposition, has made clear that he will request that the Prime Minister establish a Tribunal to investigate Tony Blair for War Crimes. It is against such a background that the Blairite faction of the Labour Party is making desperate attempts to remove Corbyn in advance of the Chilcott Report's publication. If Corbyn should indeed succeed in making such a request of the Prime Minister, it will be difficult for Cameron to refuse and it will be without precedent in British history that a Prime Minister should be subjected to scrutiny for such serious offences. Indeed, there will have been nothing comparable in Europe since the Nuremburg Trials after World War II.
In the past 3 days, in a highly coordinated and preplanned series of actions, Shadow Labour Ministers and spokespersons have resigned on an hourly basis and tweeted "letters of resignation" with the intention of creating maximum media impact and building pressure on Corbyn to resign. The timing and ostensible reason has been given as the somewhat flimsy claim that Corbyn was not sufficiently robust in support of the Remain Campaign in the EU Referendum - but this can hardly be given much credence: a majority of Labour MPs have never supported Corbyn and have privately fumed that the Labour Party as a whole selected Corbyn to lead them. It is nothing new that Corbyn's election as their leader has rankled with them ever since and that they have lacked a sufficient reason to seek his removal: their seizing upon an apparent failure to show sufficient enthusiasm for the "Remain" case has given them the thinnest of pretexts.
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But their timing and the desperation exhibited is driven by an almost feverish fear that their erstwhile leader Tony Blair may be propelled another step down the road to facing trial in the Hague for crimes against humanity. In this the Blairites have the support of senior Tories: the outgoing Prime Minister David Cameron told Corbyn on 29th June in the House of Commons "For Heaven's sake man, go!" to general astonishment, echoing the words of Leopold Amery MP to Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain during the Norway Debate in 1940. It was unique in that Cameron -himself now in the role of caretaker Prime Minister - was demanding that the leader of the Opposition resign and it points to the desperation mounting to remove Corbyn at this critical moment. His reason for making this extraordinary demand is prompted by growing concern amongst senior politicians and Whitehall Civil Servants that Cameron could be placed in a position where he is asked by the official Leader of the Opposition to institute War Crimes investigations against a previous British Prime Minister. Whitehall is alarmed at the precedent it may set and the impact it may have on future Prime Ministers and policy making if acts taken by them and by their Ministers subsequently lead to their investigation and even prosecution for such serious charges. Of course, there is a fear that it may also lead to investigations of other UK Ministers, Generals and Civil Servants involved in many of the actions which led to invasion of Iraq.
Jeremy Corbyn is currently under enormous pressure on all sides to resign. He undoubtedly has enormous popular support within the Labour Party, but it may well prove impossible for him to resist the pressure or to survive on the basis of popular support alone. Yet it is important that he does so if the millions of victims of the Iraq War and its aftermath are to receive justice. No Western leader has ever faced a War Crimes charge or stood in the Dock at the Hague: the UK is desperate that it should not be the first to do so. The next 2 weeks and the fate of Jeremy Corbyn are crucial in whether Blair does indeed take another step towards the Hague.

 

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I was educated at the University of Manchester, Swansea University and the Polytechnic of Wales, where I studied History, Philosophy and Intellectual and Art History (MA). I have lived and worked in Ireland, Germany and Holland and the UK as a (more...)
 

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