Tag Archives: Germany

German Stinginess Is Betraying Ukraine

Bafflement is not quite the right word. Instead, Ukrainian officials and their allies now see Germany through a confused form of anger. Things had started out well. Within days of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine in late February, and in seeming response to international condemnation, Germany had done the following, against type:

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Is America Really Back?

When, on Tuesday, the American secretary of defence Lloyd Austin announced that 500 more American troops would be sent to Germany, a tacit intention of his speech was to convince observers that a terrible thing had been averted in the nick of time.

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Thailand’s Monarchy in Crisis

The protesters who have been in the streets of Thailand for much of the last year are ranged against powerful forces. They oppose the authoritarianism of the country’s political leaders and the absurdity of its monarchy. First among the demonstrators’ enemies is the state, determinedly resisting their demands for greater democracy. Second is the army – loyal to the king and willing to injure and indeed to kill in defence of the status quo.

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Misunderstanding Turkey and Islamism

Understanding Turkey since the dissolution of the Ottoman empire has proven difficult for westerners. The decaying magnificence of the Ottoman years was a vivid adornment to past debate. Nineteenth century diplomatists like David Urquhart defended the Sublime Porte as a reasonable counterbalance to Russia, and publicity-minded moralists like Gladstone decried Ottoman atrocities, all while the empire became more visibly moribund and threadbare. Continue reading

Assad’s People, Accused of Torture, Begin Trial in Germany

This week, Germany began attempts to prosecute two Syrians who, prosecutors allege, committed crimes against humanity on behalf of the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Continue reading

Germany’s Attempted Extradition Sends Strong Message to Syria

When Germany announced last April that it was seeking the arrest of Jamil Hassan, head of Syria’s feared Air Force Intelligence Directorate, many dismissed it as a well-meaning piece of theatre. Continue reading

The European Union Sanctions Syrians Linked to Regime Reconstruction

The European Union has announced, last week, the extension of sanctioning of some people affiliated with the regime of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, noting that these ‘prominent businessmen are making large profits through their ties with the regime and are helping to finance the regime in return’ and were ‘supporting and benefiting from the Assad regime’. Continue reading

Criminalising the Assad Regime

As the Syrian war reaches its terminal stages, open conflict has given way to a PR war.

The regime of Bashar al-Assad, backed by its Russian and Iranian allies, desires legitimacy and recognition. Assad is unlikely to receive it. His enemies wish to make it clear that, though the regime looks unlikely to fall, its essential character and its crimes exclude it from the community of nations. Continue reading

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