Tony Blair – once restricted to economics – now upgraded

It’s not for the time he’s put on the job — the Quartet’s Middle East envoy Tony Blair is a real absentee.

If he’s here, at the Quartet’s quarters in The American Colony Hotel in East Jerusalem once a month, that’s a lot.

It’s not that the problems here aren’t urgent.

But, as a seasoned politician, Blair doesn’t want to waste his “image” on just spinning his wheels for nothing.

But now, the U.S. is hard up. The Obama Administration’s efforts have not “yielded fruit”, crushing everybody’s hopes.

And, just as there have been calls over the past year-and-half or so for Tony Blair to resign as Quartet representative [and for the UNSG to resign as well], there have been calls on the past couple of months for George Mitchell to resign.

But, that would be to admit defeat — and that won’t happen, at least not quite yet.

So, now there is new idea: a decision for Blair + Mitchell to work together.

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton announced yesterday in Washington that “Consistent with Prime Minister Fayyad’s plan for a future Palestinian state, Tony Blair, as the Quartet representative, will intensify his partnership with Senator Mitchell in support of the political negotiations”, as we also reported here.

While I wondererd if it were an upgrade, or a downgrade — I’d say it’s an upgrade, because from the time of his appointment (immediately after leaving his post as Prime Minister of the U.K.) until now, Tony Blair was restricted to dealing with “economic” improvement of the Palestinian situation, a battle in which he has declared victory numerous times.

Now, with this new announcement from Washington, Blair is now upgraded to working in support of “the political negotiations”, mainly but not exclusively in efforts to revive direct Israeli-Palestinian talks.