They just got a different tool to use than we do: They kill innocent lives to achieve objectives. That's what they do. And they're good. They get on the TV screens and they get people to ask questions about, well, you know, this, that or the other. I mean, they're able to kind of say to people: Don't come and bother us, because we will kill you. Bush - Joint News Conference with Blair - 28 July '06

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Just hot air? Bush and Blair refuse to call for ceasefire


Tony Blair and George Bush defied the growing anger across the world yesterday by seeking a UN resolution that fell far short of a ceasefire to end the killing of Lebanese civilians.

Speaking after talks at the White House, Mr Bush announced that on Monday the UN Security Council will discuss the creation of a multinational force to patrol a buffer zone on the southern Lebanon border. Mr Bush said the US would be tabling a UN Security Council resolution next week to seek an end to hostilities "as soon as possible" but it failed to meet the demands for a ceasefire in an open letter in The Independent yesterday, signed by 42 leading figures in the arts, business and politics.

Heightening fears that the war in Lebanon is being used as a proxy war between the US and Iran, Mr Blair said Iran would be mistaken if it thought the war was an opportunity to step up its pursuit of a nuclear weapon. " They risk increasing confrontation," he said.

Cabinet ministers warned that Mr Blair's refusal to stand up to Mr Bush would hasten his own exit from power. "This whole episode is very damaging for Tony," said one cabinet source. "They can cobble together a resolution but it won't be a solution to the violence. Tony thinks there is an arc of Islamic extremists like the Fascists in the Second World War. But this war is acting as a recruitment sergeant for the extremists." The source was dismissive about Mr Blair's attempts to influence the President. "The only special relationship the US has is with Israel. This is all driven by internal US politics. I don't know why Tony hasn't told Bush we have internal political pressures too."

Both Mr Bush and Mr Blair refused to discuss a ceasefire. Mr Blair was expected to claim their talks were a breakthrough but their commitment to a peace plan was in danger of being dismissed by their critics as window dressing and hot air last night. Read more