Thursday, November 28, 2013

Mbeki: Blair plotted military intervention to remove Mugabe

David Smith
November 28, 2013.

Former SA president Thabo Mbeki says his country was asked by the UK for help with a military plan to remove Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe.

Britain's former prime Minister Tony Blair and former president Thabo Mbeki during a press conference inside Downing Street in 2006. (AFP)
Tony Blair and former South African president Thabo Mbeki clashed on Wednesday over claims that Britain had been prepared to use military force to overthrow Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe.

Mbeki alleged that the former British prime minister pressured him to join a "regime change scheme" as Zimbabwe plunged into a political and economic crisis in the early 2000s. But the claim was strongly denied by Blair's office.

Both the UK as its former colonial power, and South Africa, its most powerful neighbour, have long played an intimate role in Zimbabwean affairs. But their leaders were divided on how to act when it descended into chaos following the violent seizures of white-owned farms. Blair, who had made a triumphant military intervention in Sierra Leone, was determined that Mugabe should step down whereas Mbeki was ready to accommodate him.

"The problem was, we were speaking from different positions," Mbeki said in an interview on al-Jazeera. "There were other people saying, 'Yes indeed there are political problems, economic problems, the best way to solve them is regime change. So Mugabe must go'. This was the difference. So they said, 'Mugabe must go'. We said, 'But Mugabe is part of the solution to this problem'."

Mbeki made reference to a retired British general, thought to be Lord Guthrie, who was chief of the defence staff during the first Blair government. In an interview in 2007, Guthrie recalled that "people were always trying to get me to look at" toppling Mugabe by force, though he did not mention Blair by name.
 Read the rest here.
Comment: Blair of course denies what Mbeki has said.  But judging on his invasion record I believe Mbeki.

Blair is an old-style colonial war criminal who must be brought to book for his crimes against humanity.


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