Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Arab Spring Category
Through a Stratfor darkly

Through a Stratfor darkly

  • March 09, 2012
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In western democracies the public has long become accustomed to looking at foreign policy through a rose-tinted lens, in which the actions of our governments always appear to be motivated by moral principles and humanitarianism.

We see politicians like Blair, Hague, Cameron and Sarkozy appear on television with furrowed brows to express their horror and outrage at atrocities and war crimes committed by Saddam, Gaddafi, Assad or whoever is the dictator of the moment.

We hear Cameron excoriating the ‘criminal regime’ in Syria and declaring that Assad has ‘blood on his hands’ and Sarkozy describing the...

John McCain wants to bomb…again

  • March 06, 2012
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Republican Senator John McCain is one of those American politicians who rarely comes across a war he doesn’t like.   During a 2000 Republican debate,  he advocated a new variant on the Reagan Doctrine which he called ‘rogue state rollback’  and declared that if he were president

I would arm, train, equip, both from...

Our Man in Riyadh

  • January 13, 2012
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Today, David Cameron makes his first state visit to that beacon of democracy and human rights Saudi Arabia.     According to the BBC’s ineffable ‘security correspondent’ Frank Gardner

 …the trip is important for both Mr Cameron and his Saudi hosts.   He says Saudi Arabia has been rattled by both the overthrow of its...

Amnesty’s ‘Year of Rebellion’ report

  • January 10, 2012
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Amnesty International’s new report: The Year of Rebellion: The State of Human Rights in the Middle East and North Africa is an extraordinarily moving and also salutary document, which provides a broad overview of the tumultuous events that shook the Arab world in 2011.

Reading it I was struck by various things:

1) The courage, creativity and...

Libya – another intervention unravels?

  • January 05, 2012
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There’s an interesting analysis by Tony Karon on Time‘s Global Spin blog of the emerging chaos in post-Gaddafi Libya.   Karon writes of Tuesday’s gunbattle in Tripoli between rival militia factions, of armed gunmen terrorising towns and neighbourhoods, of tribal and factional competition that may yet lead to civil war in a country where...

In the sewer with Colonel Gaddafi

  • October 22, 2011
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Does anyone feel that dragging a wounded man, albeit a dictator from a sewer, and then beating and shooting him in the head is an essentially vile act that has  nothing to do with law or justice?

Not Hilary Clinton, who quipped in an interview with CBS News on Gaddafi’s death that ‘ We came,...

About Me

I’m a writer, campaigner and journalist.  My latest book is The Savage Frontier: The Pyrenees in History and the Imagination (New Press/Hurst, 2018).  The Infernal Machine is where I write on politics, history, cinema and other things that interest me.

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