Tony Blair visits Iraq


Listen to this Al Jazeera story in December 2006 about Tony Blair's surprise visit to Iraq.

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At the same time that Tony Blair was arriving in Bagdad on a surprise visit to show support for the Iraqi government this is what was going on elsewhere in the very same city: deserted streets, flaming cars and gun battles between US forces and Iraqi fighters. This is a city at war.

In another neighbourhood to the south a car bomb explosion wounded four civilians. And even before Blair's plane had touched down another mass kidnapping was taking place. Again, it happened in broad daylight in the centre of the Iraqi capital, again it was carried out by armed men in military uniform. But this time it was aid workers who were targeted.

Bunkered away in the Green Zone, the UK Prime Minister met with embattled Iraqi leaders and pledged his backing for Prime Minister Nouri Maliki. He also had this explanation for the violence:

Who is creating the difficulty in Iraq today? Who's creating the challenge? Who's creating the bloodshed? The people that are spilling the blood of the innocent in Iraq today are terrorists, are former supporters of Saddam, are everyone who doesn't want to see democracy in this country.

He also paid a visit to British troops in Basra and insisted that the UK would remain in Iraq until the job was done. But as he continues his whirlwind tour of the Middle East, Tony Blair is leaving behind a devastated country with an uncertain future.

Sebastian Walker, Al Jazeera.



this is what was going on elsewhere
Meaning what was happening in a different part of the city
Examples I did not know what was going on.
Particle On means continue


before Blair's plane had touched down
Meaning before the plane had landed
Examples The shuttle Discovery has touched down successfully in California after the first mission since 2003's Columbia disaster.
Particle down has its literal meaning of movement


it was carried out by armed men in military uniform
Meaning armed men did it
Examples So far, the Police have no information regarding the identity of the terrorists who carried out the attack.
Particle out means completing


Bunkered away in the Green Zone
Meaning protected in the safe area know as the Green Zone
Examples Immediately after the attacks VP Cheney was bunkered away.
Particle away means in a safe place