Tag Archives: Lebanon

Iran’s Protestors Deserve Our Admiration

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. 

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The Macron Doctrine

Five years ago, Emmanuel Macron was elected president of France. He stood for office on a platform of radical change and a departure from the status quo.

He promised to reinvent the French state, revitalise its economy, and change the country in social terms. In foreign policy, Macron’s stated policy was no less bold.

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Riyadh Despairs, So It Talks to Iran

There’s no need to be surprised by reports that envoys from Saudi Arabia and Iran have been negotiating in secret in Baghdad. Nor by the fact that the negotiations have been vigorously denied. Nor that the Saudi crown prince now has uncommonly constructive things to say (and on the record) about his country’s possible future relationship with Iran.

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Jordan’s Coup That Wasn’t

The Kingdom of Jordan has had an uncharacteristically eventful weekend. It is a stable country by reputation: a reliable ally and friend. But for a few hours at least, it seemed as though King Abdullah II was about to be deposed. The state’s Jordan News Agency was at sixes and sevens, tweeting and then deleting a number of contrasting updates to the situation. As is often the case when something happens in a country few in the Anglosphere take little notice of, panic quickly reigned and then subsided just as quickly.

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The Hezbollah Murders

Earlier this month, Lokman Slim, an activist and writer, was murdered in Lebanon. He was found in his car, shot five times. As an unprompted assassination of a nonviolent man, this act was formally deplored by many and greatly condemned. After Slim’s death was confirmed, there was an outpouring of anguish from beyond Lebanon. In life Slim was a witty critic of Hezbollah, a fixture of his country’s public sphere, and a source and a friend to many.

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Syria’s War, on Drugs

If modern war often seems like a racket, that may be because in some respects it is. Wars are now rarely fought between states. Instead, parties to contemporary conflicts are often scattered armed groups, operating without the constitutions and defined rules of engagement which bind the militaries of nations.

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Dictatorships and the Virus

The coronavirus, which originated in China late last year, has begun its definite spread across the globe. Each day brings news of new infections, and new countries in which symptoms of the virus have been observed. But one surprising locus for the diffusing virus is now Iran, far from China. Continue reading

Leaked Documents Show Iran’s Influence over Iraq

It has long been known that Iran exerts significant power and possesses long reach in its neighbouring countries.

After the deposition of Saddam Hussein, and the subsequent withdrawal of the United States in 2011, Iran’s influence in Iraq became dominant. Continue reading

Extraordinary Violence and Iraq’s Protests

When they started at the beginning of October, protests in Iraq were attributed to general malaise in government and, crucially, the dismissal of Lieutenant-General Abdel-Wahab al-Saadi, a popular counterterrorism officer who had notably fought against the Islamic State. Continue reading