As the UK’s Tony Blair extols incipient Iraqi democracy from inside the sheltered Green Zone, the security situation outside — in the “Red Zone” — further deteriorates, making a mockery of Blair’s optimistic prattle, the BBC’s Andrew North reports from Baghdad.


Tony Blair came to Baghdad at the weekend, to show support for the Iraqi government.

I covered the UK prime minister’s last visit in late May, when Prime Minister Nouri Maliki was putting the finishing touches to a government of national unity. The situation was bad, but there was hope it might start to turn things round.

Six months on, with possibly as many as 18,000 more Iraqis dead, it is hard to find many optimists now.

Both leaders looked like they were on auto-pilot, saying much the same things they’ve said before.

But as on previous trips, Mr. Blair did not really visit Baghdad. He stopped off for three hours on another planet called the Green Zone, the sprawling fortress housing the U.S. and British embassies and most Iraqi government ministries.


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