By-elections to the House of Commons are exciting. Especially when held in the middle of a parliamentary term, they can shake governments, give rise to novel protests, or reflect local quirks. They can embody all the vitality and magic of democracy, with previously sure winners surprisingly defeated and new, unlikely voices given national platform.
If one thing typifies the Syrian civil war and all its quotidian brutality, it is the prevalence of siege tactics. Like the war, sieges are protracted and grinding. They are more brutal than other forms of fighting, aping civil conflicts. And, as in sieges, in Syria the most horrific crimes can occur out of sight of the rest of the world, likely out of mind. Continue reading →
The battle for Raqqa has been declared won. The eastern Syrian city, once de facto capital of Isil’s self-proclaimed caliphate, has been captured by the primarily Kurdish Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF). Continue reading →
The situation on the Korean peninsula has not been good for a long time. But the ceasefire agreed in the 1950s, following years of open warfare, seems more strained now than at any moment in recent memory. Continue reading →
The war in Yemen is far away. But it is never far from significance. A British ally, Saudi Arabia, is leading an Arab coalition engaged in intervening in the country. This intervention is primarily directed against Houthi rebels, who have received material and moral support from Iran. British special forces are in the country; a supply of British arms plays an undeniable role. Continue reading →
Emmanuel Macron’s achievement is immense. His rise to the French presidency was remarkable to watch, transforming from an unknown former economy minister into Europe’s youngest head of state, and the youngest French leader since Napoleon. Continue reading →