Oliver Miles, diplomat and Arabist who later criticised Tony Blair over the rebuilding of Iraq after the invasion – obituary

Oliver Miles, who has died aged 83, ended his diplomatic service as Ambassador to Greece; but he was at heart an Arabist, one of the great Foreign Office classical scholars who made a major contribution to British policy in the Middle East.

In retirement he was the originator of the open letter to Prime Minister Tony Blair in 2004 that criticised the failure of Britain and the United States to pursue the Israeli-Palestinian peace process.

The letter went on to condemn the attempts to rebuild Iraq after the invasion and overthrow of Saddam Hussein in 2003 as naive, without regard to the history and culture of the country, and “doomed to failure”.

The letter was signed by 52 former ambassadors….

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