Category Archives: Uncategorized

Is Evacuating Syria’s White Helmets Little More Than a Token Gesture?

Every so often governments undertake acts of unarguable good. These moments are rare, and they are frequently small, justifiable less in terms of their large-scale consequences than their own morality or merit. But governments must still be induced to act in this way. And good ought to be recognised when it is done. Continue reading

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‘Business as Usual’ Brutality

When something happens which is deeply necessary and long-awaited, it is all too easy, even briefly, to give in to relief.

So it was when, last Friday, Britain, France and the United States joined together to strike the regime of Bashar al-Assad in response to the regime’s probable use of chemical weapons on the besieged city of Douma, in Eastern Ghouta. Continue reading

New Rebel Coalition Joins Syria’s Splintering War

The Syrian Liberation Front (JTS), a newly formed insurgent coalition in northern Syria, was conceived in and exists for war.

Formed by an agreement between the Islamist group Ahrar al-Sham and the more ideologically flexible Nour al-Din al-Zenki Movement, JTS was bolstered by defections from other, smaller Islamist factions. Continue reading

After the Fall of Its Caliphate, the ISIS Threat Goes Global

The capture of El Shafee Elsheikh and Alexander Kotey, two British men attempting to flee Syria for Turkey, was a brief moment for celebration. The men had formed part of a brutal Islamic State (ISIS) cell, dubbed ’the Beatles’, which had executed foreign hostages on camera and become the global face of the terror group. Continue reading

Fire and Fury, but Little Else

The biggest of the stories swirling about Donald Trump this week concerns, not a tweet (as is ordinary), but a book.

The president is famously unlettered, professing little time for reading; and others attest that Trump has little interest in any printed matter that does not contain his photograph. Continue reading

Iraqi Kurds See Fortunes Reversed after Referendum

In less than a month the for­tunes of Iraqi Kurdistan, its leaders and inhabitants have reversed.

Iraqi Kurds voted over­whelmingly in favour of independence and optimism appeared to reign. The referendum, however, brought complications and immediate repercussions and illuminated systemic problems within the Kurdistan Regional Gov­ernment (KRG), including political and economic dysfunction and general social malaise. Continue reading

Officially Incompetent

Western politicians failed in their response to the Arab Spring. National leaders saw and saluted the emergence of pro-democracy protests in 2011, but they did little more. When they acted, as in Libya, Western leaders did too little and thought not at all about the future; when they did not act, in Syria most notably, they ushered in a state of affairs where war crimes go unpunished, and dictators engaged in mass murder need fear no redress. Continue reading