What Da’esh wants

“We should not be drawn once more into a long and costly ground war in Iraq or Syria.  That’s what groups like ISIL want. They know they can’t defeat us on the battlefield.” This columnist has a policy of referring to the group variously known as ISIL, ISIS, Islamic State or Da’esh by the latter […]

How to radicalize Muslims

Hasna Aitboulahcen was an attractive and fun-loving young woman: a rebellious tomboy since childhood. She enjoyed wearing cowboy hats, jeans and tee-shirts. She liked clubbing and drinking alcohol. Though a Muslim, she never wore the all-concealing burqa and among the many images of her online there are few, if any, of her wearing the hijab, […]

Plus ça change…

By an extraordinary coincidence, I came across two cartoons today that despite decades between them seemed joined at the hip.  The first (I’m told) has been knocking about on the internet, and is claimed by some to have been “leaked” from a secret archive in the KGB (or whatever initials the Russians are using these […]

The West goads an insulted Russian bear.

This year NATO has intercepted more than 100 Russian military aircraft – triple the amount in 2013. Last week a surge in Russian military activity occurred across north-western Europe. The Swedish Defence Force reacted to reports that an unidentified submarine, believed to be Russian, was spotted near Stockholm. Concurrently a series of missions across international […]

Hypocrisy: official foreign policy of Britain and France

I am horrified by the state of Britain and Frances’ foreign policy. Two days ago David Cameron responded to the terrorist attack in Algeria thusly: “It will require a response that is about years, even decades, rather than months,”  I’m in my mid-twenties. As an adolescent and now adult I have known nothing but war. […]

Reimagining Neo-conservatism

Like many commentators, this columnist has been both right and wrong in the past, but there is one thing of which he remains very proud. In the early stages of discussion around the invasion of Iraq, this columnist argued that the Arab world was ready for democracy. Democratic reforms sometimes sweep whole regions, such as […]

Osama Takes His Secrets to the Grave

It is not fun but sometimes necessary to be the party pooper. Killing Osama has undoubtedly cheered America, and temporarily boosted the President’s poll ratings. (That it is only temporary, I treat as a given. Foreign victories earn no gratitude from the electorate: see George H W Bush’s second term for more details. It is […]

Party Like It’s 1989

This is the Arab world’s Berlin Wall moment. The reaction of the American President is to say “we are witnessing history unfold”. Americans did not elect him to be a witness to history, but to be a participant. The administration has veered between outright support for Mubarak to gentle hints that he might go some […]

Carry On in Cairo

By the time you read this, it is unlikely that Hosni Mubarak will still be the President of Egypt. Good. At least, let’s hope so. There are two oppositions in Egypt, as in most Arab countries. There is a middle class, educated, and liberal group that wants democracy and for Egypt to be much freer […]

The Tunisian Domino

It has been argued that the Roman Republic fell as a result of the ‘Punic Curse’. At the close of the second Punic War – against the Phoenician city of Carthage – Rome signed an eternal alliance with its former enemy. Later, Rome betrayed the alliance and utterly destroyed Carthage. Not only was the city itself […]