The son of former British Prime Minister Tony Blair, Nicholas Blair, hopes to trade on the family name as a soccer agent for Middle Eastern players at a time that the policies with which his father is identified appear to be crumbling on the streets of Cairo and other Arab capitals.
Nicholas Blair has registered as a soccer agent with the Football Association in England.
Blair, 25, reportedly established Magnitude Football together with Gabriel Moraes, a university friend. The two are believed to be scouring the Middle East for budding Arab soccer stars.
The younger Blair may have chosen an inconspicuous moment to target the Middle East.
Events in the region over the past months have left core policies associated with Tony Blair, already identified with the controversial Iraq war, in shambles.
Blair, the current Middle East peace negotiator for the Quartet which groups the United States, the European Union, the United Nations and Russia, has seen hopes dashed for a resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
A combination of Israeli intransigence, Palestinian weakness and a disclosure that the Obama administration has all but abandoned the principles for peace adopted by the Quartet has all but given the peace process a death knell.
Soccer fans in Egypt are playing a key role in shaking the 30-year rule of Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak to its core in mass anti-government demonstrations in Egyptian cities.
The protests in Egypt and elsewhere in the Arab world that earlier this month toppled.
Tunisian President Zine Abedine Ben Ali put a serious dent in Tony Blair’s support for authoritarian regimes in the Middle East in the belief that Western interests were better served by stability than by democracy in the region.
The Middle East Nicholas Blair hopes to scour is, even with the fate of Mubarak still hanging in the balance, a very different world from the one in which his father was a prominent personality with unrivaled access to the chambers of power.
Middle Eastern rulers are rattled by the events in Cairo as well as the mass protests in Amman, Algiers and Sana’a and rumblings of protest in Saudi Arabia, Syria,Kuwait, Libya and Sudan.
Irrespective of whether the toppling in in Ben Ali and the protests in Egypt spark a domino effect across the region, Middle Eastern leaders will have to be seen to be more in tune with the popular mood.
Britain is among several European nations that cautioned Mubarak in recent days not to employ violence to resolve the crisis engulfing his regime.
Nicholas Blair may well find that the new mood in the Middle East is one that further tarnishes the Blair name and could reduce the goodwill the soccer agent hopes to derive from it.
James M. Dorsey authors The Turbulent World of Middle East Soccer blog