Tag Archives: Saddam Hussein

Fire and Fury, but Little Else

The biggest of the stories swirling about Donald Trump this week concerns, not a tweet (as is ordinary), but a book.

The president is famously unlettered, professing little time for reading; and others attest that Trump has little interest in any printed matter that does not contain his photograph. Continue reading


Saleh’s Downfall Is Hardly the End of an Era

The death of former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh dem­onstrates a lot about the nature of the coun­try’s civil war. Saleh was killed by Houthi rebels, with whom he had previously been al­lied and against whom he publicly turned two days before. Continue reading

How the Iraqis Won at Tal Afar

It was a swift victory, one all the more remarkable for being so unexpected.

After the fall of Mosul, which had taken many months and cost innumerable lives, the attention of the Iraqi state and the international coalition, and the watching world, fell on Tal Afar. It was one of the Islamic State’s last major urban territories in Iraq. Continue reading


Why Nazis Love Bashar al-Assad

This week’s march, entitled ‘Unite the Right’, by a collection of neo-Nazis, white supremacists and other right-wing extremists in Charlottesville, Virginia, has thrown the United States into turmoil. Continue reading


Prosecuting Blair Over Iraq Would Be a Victory for Dictators

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


The Moderation of Muqtada al-Sadr

The name Muqtada al-Sadr used to inspire fear. His brand of Shia sectarianism contributed greatly to the turmoil following the deposition of Saddam Hussein in 2003. His militia, the Mahdi Army, fought against the United States and the forces of the reconstituted Iraqi state. It also engaged in street violence and intimidation. Continue reading


Of Tyranny and Violence

The people disappeared in Syria’s military prisons do not have graves, but they do have names. They may not have been accorded funeral rites, but they have faces and stories and their families have memories of their presence. The war which has destroyed much of Syria can be localised: to a family, to a single person, to a face. And within the wider war lurk stories of cruelty and barbarism which affect individuals but whose effects spiral outwards. These specific instances of savagery become institutionalised. Continue reading