Category Archives: International Affairs

Israel’s Constitutional Standoff

Israeli politics is rarely quiet, but recent events have taken the drama and volubility to another level. The country has faced 11 weeks of protests against the make-up of Israel’s governing coalition and reforms to the country’s judicial system. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets. Roads have been blocked. The Knesset and politicians’ homes in Jerusalem have been targeted. Israeli police have used mounted officers, stun grenades and water cannon to disperse demonstrators. 

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Tunisia’s New Dictatorship

Tunisia has become a police state. This has not happened overnight. But it is still a shocking reversal in democratic development.  

This is the country whose former dictator was overthrown in a few days in 2011. His was the first scalp claimed by the Arab revolutions of that year. But where the tyrant Zine El Abidine Ben Ali once went (apart from running away in disgrace), his latest successor, Kais Saied, longs to follow.  

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The Earthquake in Syria

Natural disaster always worst affects those who have already lost so much. And so it is in Turkey and Syria, where a double earthquake has killed more than 1,900 people. Across both countries, there are widespread scenes of destruction: apartment blocks reduced to rubble; gas supplies cut off in the middle of a freezing winter; survivors left to try and pluck their relatives from the rubble. 

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The Taliban Are Not Afghanistan

I cannot begin to count how many times, when talking to a policymaker, a journalist or an ordinary person in Britain, that they have tried to tell me that it’s pointless to oppose the Taliban in Afghanistan, because the Taliban are somehow ‘natural’ or ‘essential’ to the country. They believe that the Taliban are so innate to Afghanistan that they could never be beaten or marginalised. 

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The Tank Debacle

At long, long last, it might seem that things are coming to a head. After a year of phony excuses, ridiculous claims and constant back-peddling, some of Nato’s bigger nations are planning to give Ukraine some fairly modern main battle tanks. Not very many. And not exactly soon. But I suppose it’s the thought that counts.  

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