If Blair feels the need to give such public assurances, well, we should all know what this means. Where are the public assurances from Bush and Rumsfeld and Powell by the way?
Blair Says U.S. Has No Plans to Attack Syria, Iran
LONDON (Reuters - 4 April) - British Prime Minister Tony Blair said Friday the United States had absolutely no plans to attack Syria and Iran, which have been warned by Washington over their alleged involvement in Iraq.
In an interview with the Arabic service of BBC World Service Radio, Blair also said it was every bit as important to make progress in resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as it was to oust Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.
Last week, Washington accused Syria of allowing shipments of military equipment to cross the border into Iraq in defiance of a U.S. warning. It also said it was concerned by the presence inside Iraq of hundreds of Iraqi Shiite Muslim forces, trained and financed by the Iranians.
The warnings sparked fears the U.S.-led war in Iraq might spread to other countries in the Middle East, but Blair said those fears were unfounded.
"There is no question of 'who next?' We are in Iraq for a particular reason," Blair said. "This is not a war against Iraq, it is a war against Saddam.
"They (the Americans) have got absolutely no plans to attack those two countries. What they were saying is that it is important that neither country assist those forces loyal to Saddam."
He told people to stop "looking for conspiracy theories -- Iraq one day and a whole series of countries the next."
Asked if he had enough influence in Washington to curb any move to attack Syria and Iran, Blair -- Washington's closest ally in its self-declared war on terror -- repeated his assurance to the Arab world.
"I know of absolutely no plan to do that," he said.
"There are concerns about support for terrorism in certain of these countries, that is true. But I have always thought we can try and deal with these issues in a different way."
Blair has made strenuous efforts to develop ties with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, believing he is a crucial figure if the Middle East peace process is to be revived.
Blair has visited Damascus and hosted Assad in London in an attempt to build bridges while Foreign Secretary Jack Straw has visited Tehran three times.
The prime minister said the Iraqi war was inextricably linked with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
"I think what we need to do is look at this in two dimensions," he said. "The first is the issue of Iraq. ... The second dimension however is to bring greater stability to the Middle East.
"My own judgment is that the single most important thing we can do is to bring some hope to the situation between Israel and Palestine.
"I believe it is every bit as important that we make progress on that as we get rid of Saddam."