The Islamic State (IS) has been militarily defeated in its attempt to create a ‘caliphate’ in Iraq and Syria. Its de facto capitals of Mosul in Iraq and Raqqa in Syria were wrested from the terror group after long, grinding campaigns fought by local forces with extensive international assistance.
After the rapid capture of Tal Afar and a pocket around Hawija from IS last year, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that the war against IS was over, that it had been won. Continue reading →
Heart-rending images come out of the Syrian war with such regularity that one would almost be forgiven for becoming inured to their horror. This is how global callousness sets in, and there are reasons for it.
Once again, Tony Blair is in the news. A merry-go-round of stories swirls around the former British prime minister. Many of them are luridly drawn, some nonsensical. A new story concerns the perpetual question of Blair being prosecuted for the Iraq war. 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 →
The mass data leak which has been christened the Panama Papers is one of the largest in history. It contains enormous amounts of information, much of which concerns the financial arrangements of powerful and famous people. Many of them are politicians, even national leaders. The response in the press, and from the publics of many countries, has been correspondingly outsized. Continue reading →
The defence of tyranny is becoming almost fashionable. Once unimaginable, at least outside certain circles, it has become almost the mark of self-described ‘realists’ to advocate tactical co-operation with individuals and regimes that have perpetrated atrocities. The threat of other forces – perhaps religiously inspired terrorists, or additional dictators with more expansionist tendencies – is deemed to merit these instances of dealing with the devil. Continue reading →
The world owes a great debt to Jeffrey Goldberg. His new contribution to the understanding of foreign policy is a vast and wide-ranging interview, published in The Atlantic, with US President Barack Obama. It is an undertaking which allows the president, soon to be out of office, to explain at length his views on foreign affairs and his programme for the world at large. This setting out of the ‘Obama Doctrine’ is both fascinating and salutary. Continue reading →