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Monday, October 17, 2011 

Blessed are the peacemakers.

Monday's talks will see peace mediators including Tony Blair's former chief of staff, Jonathan Powell, discuss the process with local politicians. The latter include both radical separatists close to Eta and the Basque branch of Zapatero's Socialist party. Rajoy's PP will not attend.

Yes, it'll make a nice change for Jonathan Powell to get back into peace mediation. He did after all have a crucial role in mediating between the two sides in Northern Ireland prior to the Good Friday agreement, as detailed in his book, Great Hatred Little Room. It's a record only slightly blotted by his subsequent role in advising Tony Blair to bomb the living fuck out of Iraq, a position still proud of back in 2007, even if he regretted it was justified on the grounds of Saddam having weapons of mass destruction rather being a nasty man. Indeed, he felt that Blair's five conditions for intervention set out in his famous Chicago speech could result in a more robust approach to countries such as Burma and Zimbabwe, both nations crying out for liberation via the bomb bay doors of British aircraft.

Still, it will at least result in a happy crossing of paths again with his former boss. Powell, like Blair, has interests in investment banking; now he too can claim to be pushing once again for peace having formerly involved himself in the waging of war. He might even be slightly better at it than Blair has been as head of the Quartet in Israel.

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