We used to live in uninteresting times, as much as that can ever be said.
Things did not seem to happen. And if they did happen, they happened to other people. The rest of life and the business of living passed easily, dreamily, and the world was always at arm’s length. Continue reading →
As the final assault on the stronghold of the Islamic State (ISIS) in Mosul is in the works, important questions are going unanswered. Chief among them is: What will ISIS do in Iraq after Mosul falls? Continue reading →
The tragedy of what has happened in Syria has spawned numerous artistic renderings. This is only fit and proper considering the historic nature of what has taken place there – the strength of revolutionary sentiment, the extreme violence of the regime’s initial crackdown on protests, the biblical refugee crisis which has now drawn in neighbouring countries and created desperate, wrenching scenes in the Mediterranean and in mainland Europe. Continue reading →
Review – Salafi-Jihadism: The History of an Idea by Shiraz Maher
The advent of the Islamic State (IS) took much of the world by surprise. The suddenness of that group’s appearance, coupled with the rapid growth of territory under its control, was a shocking development. In addition, the brutality of IS, and the extent to which it revelled in cruelty which was invariably described as ‘medieval’, meant that it was, in many ways, an organisation which defied easy description. Continue reading →
Review – The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq by Emma Sky
The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq is a captivating book. The memoir of Emma Sky, a one-time opponent of the war to topple Saddam Hussein, deals with how she administered an Iraqi province in the aftermath of the overthrow of the Baath regime. Moreover, she spent much of the following years in the country, working closely with the American military – the same organisation she and many likeminded individuals opposed so vigorously in the run up to the war. Continue reading →