Tony Blair has been advising the Saudi government through the platform of his Tony Blair Foundation that has reportedly been pocketing the $11 million that KSA has generously decided to pay for his help.
Saudi Arabia has sought the advice of the former Prime Minister of UK for crown prince Mohammed bin Salman’s modernization program. To that end, it has entered into the aforementioned deal with the Tony Blair Foundation, which has been euphemistically described as “an institute of global change”.
The office of Blair has vehemently denied that the former premier has received any payment for his role. Instead, the office insists, all money goes to the Tony Blair Institute, a “not for profit” organization.
Wherever the payments may be channelized to, it is clear that Blair has kept his advising role a hushed affair. There is no mention on his website of his deal with the kingdom. However, one article posted on the website goes to lengths to extol the virtues of the crown prince’s venture to bring a more “moderate” Islam to his country.
This is not the first time that Blair has advised governments or organizations on war. After Iraq, he was the UN’s Middle East convoy from 2007 to 2015. During this period, he also advised the governments of Kuwait, Kazakhstan, and Mongolia. He has maintained that his role as the UN’s envoy has not conflicted with his role as advisor to these countries.
This is also not the first time that he helped Saudi Arabia or forged a lucrative deal with the country. In 2010, he helped PetroSaudi, a Saudi oil company, break into the Chinese markets. Blair used his influence as the former UK premier and a UN envoy to court the Chinese officials.
PetroSaudi, which is co-owned by Saudi Prince Turki bin Abdullah, paid the former Labour Prime Minister £41,000 plus a 2 percent commission for his services.
The revelations of Blair’s role in Saudi Arabia comes at a time when the UK is being criticized over its role in intensifying the crises in Yemen. According to reports, the country’s sale of arms to Saudi Arabia increased by almost 500% since Saudi Arabia began its invasion of Yemen.
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