The city of Raqqa and its inhabitants have suffered enormously over the past half-decade. Most obviously, they have languished under the rule of the Islamic State group. Continue reading
The Assad regime has been in peril since the beginning of the Syrian revolution.
Cities, towns and entire governorates have been free of its authority for more than half a decade. It has lost control of great tracts of the country. And many people in areas no longer within its compass would do everything they could to avoid being ruled over by the regime ever again. They would fight back. Their recapture may be impossible, or at the very least inordinately costly. Continue reading
It is widely held that 2016 was a depressing year.
Much of this collective feeling can be attributed to less substantial events such as the deaths of many famous people, and the pall this seemed to cast over the year as a whole.
But there are more serious reasons for believing that what happened in 2016 leaves the world darker than it was before, and less optimistic when thinking about the future. Continue reading
Saudi Arabia is more, in many ways, than a country. It is also a potent symbol Continue reading
Much is made of the foreign fighters who flock to join the ‘caliphate’ Islamic State (IS) claims to have established in Iraq and Syria.
Although many foreign fighters are from Middle Eastern and North African countries, the international focus is on those from prosperous Western nations. These people are many things: a clear and present threat to national security, something of a rebuke to the societies from which they came, and also an important puzzle. Continue reading
Just like that, the US presidential election is upon us. After months of campaigning – after a turbulent primary process and an increasingly excruciating general election campaign – the results will soon be known. America will go to the polls, and its next president will be chosen. Continue reading
In the West, at the moment, internationalism seems to be in decline. Nations are closing in on themselves in trade and in political terms, and publics are increasingly turning to politicians and policies which promise to put the nation-state, not any idea of the common good, first. Continue reading