Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Middle East Category

Egypt’s Trial of the Century

  • March 26, 2014
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How many Egyptians does it take to kill one policeman?   Exactly 529, if they are members of the Muslim Brotherhood, according to Judge Saeed Elgazar.     That is the number of people Elgazar sentenced to death two days ago for the killing of a deputy police commander in the southern Egyptian city of Minya in August last year.

Capital punishment is a serious business, and no one can say the Judge reached this verdict lightly.     On the contrary, he took this momentous decision after two days of careful deliberation.   Given...

The UK and Syrian Refugees: from political pawns to political tokenism

  • January 29, 2014
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After weeks of vacillation, the UK government has finally agreed to resettle 500 of the ‘most vulnerable’ Syrian refugees.   Lord Snooty appears to have overruled Theresa May, who was reluctant to enter an ‘open-ended commitment’ to UNHCR’s call for European governments to resettle 30,000 refugees that might have undermined the Coalition’s ‘tens of thousands’...

The Gospel According to Saint Anthony Blair

  • January 26, 2014
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All hail.     For lo verily, the Prophet Anthony Blair, millionaire warmonger and late convert to Catholicism, hath descended from his spiritual retreat with Bono on Mount Davos and come amongst us,   bearing not tablets of stone, but a column in The Observer containing his proposals on how the world and the Middle...

Saudi Arabia’s Game of Thrones

  • January 05, 2014
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It was always one of the most glaring contradictions of the ‘war on terror’, that the United States declared its ‘war’ on states belonging to an ‘axis of evil’ that had nothing to do with the 9/11attacks, while continuing and even intensifying its strategic relationship with the two states that had most to do with...

Drowning Gaza

  • December 15, 2013
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At the beginning of this month a great   spoof of the Van Damme Volvo advert was posted on Youtube by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip.   In it a group of Palestinians are pushing two cars that have no petrol through the Strip, while one of them talks about the lack of electricity and...

Iran and the US: Friends at Last?

  • November 25, 2013
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In a period of pretty much unrelenting geopolitical gloom in the Middle East, the deal reached between Iran and the 5+1 countries is a positive development for various reasons.

Firstly, and most importantly, it lays the basis – however tentatively – for the diplomatic resolution of   a festering and extremely dangerous confrontation that has threatened...

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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