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Blair on Syria: "A murderous set of steps against his own people"

September 27th, 2012
01:29 PM ET

By Sonia Kennebeck

While world leaders gathered on Wednesday in the U.N. General Assembly hall to discuss the most urgent international issues, including the civil war in Syria, the conflict in that country reached another horrendous peak.

343 people were killed that day, according to an opposition group. This would mark the highest daily death toll since the beginning of the conflict in March last year.

Since then more than 30,000 people have lost their lives according to the opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights.

In the General Assembly hall leaders have yet to agree to a solution to prevent further bloodshed. But member countries China and Russia have been accused of aiding the Assad regime by refusing to agree to a resolution. And the U.S. accuses Iraq of allowing Iranian supplies to pass through Iraqi airspace.

Former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour that he believes Iraq should do what they can to prevent Iran from helping the Syrian government, but he contends that this is not the actual problem. 

“I think that thing that's prolonging the war in Syria is Assad and what he is doing is, frankly, a murderous set of steps against his own people.”

Blair says like many world leaders, one of his worries is what happens after Assad.

“If you look at what's happening in the Middle East as a whole, once you take the lid off these deeply repressive dictatorships, then you know, out come a whole set of different forces and they can pull in different directions. We've seen that.”

Mideast tensions ramp up at meeting

However, Blair was quick to add “that's not a reason for keeping the dictatorships. But it's a reason for a course, being anxious about what comes next.”

Blair says two things are important to establish for Syria: a unified opposition and a concept for a secure zone.

Syrian refugees, sick children wait

Not far from Syria’s borders, Blair serves as a representative of the Middle East Quartet. He plays a pivotal role in trying to bring the two parties back to the negotiation table in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict – a task which has so far been fruitless.

The peace process has come to a complete halt as Israel continues to build settlements and the Palestinian authority is now struggling financially.

But Blair has not given up hope.

“Sometimes people say, well, let's get rid of the Palestinian Authority. No!” Blair says firmly.

“’What then?’ is my question. This is an expression of frustration. I understand it. What we should do in the international community is give Abu Mazen and give the Palestinians a proper, credible process so that they can engage.”

Abbas slams Israel, seeks status upgrade Updated 3 hours, 18 minutes ago

CNN’s Ken Olshansky produced this piece for television.


Filed under:  Christiane Amanpour • Latest Episode
soundoff (2 Responses)
  1. Anonymouse

    What a mysterious man !

    September 27, 2012 at 3:29 pm | Reply
  2. Chukwuemeka Nwosu

    How do we see his sending troops into war without a reason?

    October 1, 2012 at 3:49 pm | Reply

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