As England’s football team prepare to face Iran in the first match of their World Cup campaign, the backdrop is already miserable. Football’s most prestigious tournament is taking place in the wrong season in a deplorable state where workers have died in the construction of stadiums. To make matters worse, the Three Lions’ first opponents are in the midst of a brutal crackdown back home on those who have dared speak out in opposition. Hundreds have died; thousands more have been locked up.Continue reading
Iran’s protest movement appears to be coming to a head. It’s been going on for two months, ever since the country’s ‘morality police’ beat a young woman visiting Tehran, Masha Amini, into a coma from which she never recovered earlier this year. The reason these thugs gave for dragging her into their van was that she was wearing her mandatory hijab incorrectly. Ever since, Iranians of all ages, across the country, have been on the streets, protesting for ‘women, life, freedom’.Continue reading
It is an immense irony, as the great orientalist Bernard Lewis was fond of remarking, that Israel – the most vibrant and enthusiastic democracy in the Middle East – has to put up with the world’s worst electoral system. Its governments frequently collapse. Perhaps they do it philanthropically, to allow citizens once again the pleasure of going to the polls.
Israel’s longest serving leader, Benjamin Netanyahu, is back. His return confirms once again an iron clad rule of Israeli politics: never write Bibi off. A few years ago, his opponents briefly thought they had vanquished him for good.Continue reading
It’s the season for diplomacy in the Middle East, even for the most distasteful of leaders. Joe Biden paid a visit to Saudi Arabia in July, against his own inclinations, because of the need to lower oil prices. American and European diplomats still scramble hopelessly to reach a new nuclear deal with Iran.Continue reading
As Iranian munitions have hurtled through the air at the front line in the Donbas, and as Iranian suicide drones have smashed into Ukrainian cities, Tehran has denied everything – unconvincingly. The most recent was Iran’s foreign minister, Hossein Amirabdollahian, who said on Saturday: ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran has not and will not provide any weapon to be used in the war in Ukraine’. With the piety beloved of hypocrites everywhere, he went on: ‘We believe that the arming of each side of the crisis will prolong the war’.Continue reading
Iran’s protestors are showing immense courage. That is a given. But the reasons why are worth spelling out.
Not only do they have the bravery to demonstrate against a theocratic dictatorship which has veiled women against their will for over forty years; they also protest in the full knowledge that the regime has already killed many thousands of activists in Iran and across the Middle East.Continue reading
Ukraine is awash with foreign-made weapons, something that is true of both sides. While Ukraine uses American-made rocket systems, French, German and British artillery pieces, and anti-tank weaponry from across the globe, Russia is resorting to foreign suppliers of its own. This means artillery shells from North Korea and, increasingly, drones from Iran.Continue reading
Queen Elizabeth II, who reigned over the United Kingdom and fourteen other commonwealth realms for 70 years, was buried following a state funeral on 19 September 2022.Continue reading
We are living at the beginning of a new age: An age of wars fought by drone. The war in Ukraine has already suggested the outlines of this drone era. But these are early days.Continue reading