Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Tony Blair | ISIS | Morning Joe

Tony Blair: 'Right' for Obama to Assemble Coalition to Battle ISIS

By    |   Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 12:11 PM

President Barack Obama is "right" to assemble a broad coalition of nations to battle the Islamic State (ISIS), something that was lacking by the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Blair predicted the effort to eradicate ISIS would be a "long, hard battle" that would last "beyond this president" and would take "a significant period of time, a generation." He called it a battle against Islamic extremists who wanted not just to "wage war against Western civilization, but civilization itself."

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"The president's right to assemble the broadest coalition and to go after these people. I think you've got to do that," Blair said Tuesday. "You're building a coalition. You're addressing what, frankly, was a weakness of strategy post 9/11, post 2003."

The battle against ISIS was fought between people who wanted to gravitate toward "moderation and modernity" and those who wanted to focus on "extremism and reactionary politics," Blair explained.

"It's a fight between what I would call the open-minded people that want to be connected to the world, who share a lot of the thoughts that we share, and these radical Islamists who want to create a society that, frankly, is not compatible with the modern world," he said.

Blair said the opening for extremism happened when a regime fell out of power in a country and "the next battle begins" to install a new government, adding that because of recent Arab revolutions, "these regimes aren't going to stay in power."

Obama has a "great opportunity to unite the world" when he speaks Wednesday before the United Nations General Assembly, where he can detail the threat posed by ISIS, Blair said.

"It's a threat that concerns all of us. It's not about Christians versus Muslims. It's not about the West versus Islam. It's about everybody who believes in a world in which people try and live with each other across the boundaries of culture and faith and those people who want to use faith as a source of division and conflict," he said.

Middle East nations realized the need to get involved, Blair said, because "they now know this is their fight and they've got to be there." However, he said the problem was not isolated to just the Middle East, but also extended to the Far East and Africa.

A way to halt the long-term progress of extremist ideology would be through the education system, because the teachings young people were receiving in certain countries was "based on religious prejudice and not open-mindedness."

"Unless we also have a long-term plan to root out those education systems, these kids who are taught in madrassas a form of religious instruction, and you're preparing the next generation. You're incubating this problem in some of these education systems," he said.

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President Barack Obama is right to assemble a broad coalition of nations to battle the Islamic State (ISIS), something that was lacking by the U.S. after the 9/11 attacks, former British Prime Minister Tony Blair told MSNBC's "Morning Joe."
Tony Blair, ISIS, Morning Joe
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2014-11-23
Tuesday, 23 Sep 2014 12:11 PM
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