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2003-02-26

British Labour Mps Set to Deliver Prime Minister Tony Blair His Most Serious Challenge Yet: An Interview with Dilip Hiro

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British Prime Minister Tony Blair tonight faces what the London Guardian calls the most dangerous challenge yet to his six-year reign.

Parliament is set to vote on Blair’s aggressive policy against Iraq.

Members of Parliament from Blair’s own Labour Party are under orders to support the government, and the government is expected to win.

But backbench organizers say over 150 MPs are prepared to vote against Blair. That would be by far the largest revolt of the Blair era.

Anti-war sentiment is very strong in Britain. On Feb. 15th, over a million people marched in London ­ a city of only 7 million people. And several major British newspapers and tabloids are outspoken against the war.

Well today we’re joined in our firehouse studios by Dilip Hiro, a Middle East analyst based in London. Dilip Hiro is the author of more than a dozen books on the Middle East and writes regularly for the London Observer, and Guardian and is a frequent commentator on the BBC.

But Hiro’s influence is extending to the other side of the Atlantic: He regularly contributes to the Washington Post, CNN and The Nation.

This week in an opinion piece called 'Not so Fast,' Washington Post columnist William Raspberry wrote:

“This is hard. So soon after very nearly swooning over Colin Powell’s report to the United Nations Security Council, I find myself thinking the once unthinkable: I don’t believe him.

“It’s not that I think the secretary of state — the one member of the president’s inner circle I thought we could count on to be straight with us on Iraq — is lying. But I’m starting to think that his interpretation of facts and circumstances assumes so many things and ignores so many others that it comes to the same thing.

"Whence my change of heart? For one thing, I’ve had time to digest that tour de force performance of earlier this month. For another, I’ve been listening and reading (particularly Dilip Hiro’s book 'Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm'). And finally, I’ve found it impossible to see how Powell’s allegations and speculation — even if they are all true — lead so ineluctably to war."

Guest:

  • Dilip Hiro, author, "Iraq: In the Eye of the Storm" and "War Without End: the Rise of Islamist Terrorism and Global Response". (Three decades ago, he also wrote the book 'Black British, White British: A History of Race Relations in Britain').

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