23 April 2006
Blair versus the Foreign Office
Further to my recent posting about the split between Tony Blair and Jack Straw over a possible attack on Iran, more news has come out which should strengthen the anti-war case.
The Foreign Office has presented Straw with its legal advice, stating that any such attack would be illegal under international law. Prior to the invasion of Iraq the FO also advised that the attack would be illegal, and that advice was accepted by the Attorney General, but later reversed by him. This led to the resignation of the Foreign Office's deputy legal adviser, Elizabeth Wilmhurst.
This time around the FO is taking no chances: "There is now a clear paper trail of legal advice," as one insider put it. Furthermore, the advice is believed to cover more than just an opinion on the legality of any attack. It also warns against the use of British airspace, military advisers and even argues that any verbal support that Blair might offer the Americans could be construed as legitimising an aggression against Iran.
Coming hard on the heels of the news that Bush offered Blair the option of withdrawing from the attack on Iraq at the last minute in 2003, an option which Blair refused to take, this latest set of leaks must surely leave Bush's man in London weaker than ever.
In fact, it looks as if the British state is slowly wrapping Blair in a mesh that will not allow him any wriggle room should the USA go to war with Iran. His days in Downing Street are surely numbered.