Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Middle East Category

Tangled Web: the US and Saudi Arabia fall out

  • October 23, 2013
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Watching John Kerry trying to mollify Saudi Arabia isn’t a particularly edifying spectacle, but then the relationship between these two countries has never been one to warm the heart.     On the one hand you have a superpower that claims to believe in freedom, democracy, religious tolerance, human rights and the rights of women, and which regularly fights wars on behalf of all these values.

On the other you have an utterly repressive and reactionary dynastic monarchy which believes in none of these things,   and which routinely uses money and religion to...

Saudi Arabia Stamps its Foot

  • October 22, 2013
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The House of Saud is angry with the United Nations.     So angry in fact, that it has taken the historic step of turning down the opportunity of a two-year rotating seat on the Security Council.     This is an unusually dramatic and public move from a state that has generally preferred to...

All Quiet on the Humanitarian Front

  • October 18, 2013
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It’s long been one of the recurring paradoxes of ‘humanitarian war’   that Western governments are willing to project military power far beyond their borders in order to save dark-skinned bodies from the dictators and regimes that oppress them, yet remain generally antipathetic to the presence of these same bodies in their own national territory.


Exit Obama, Pursued by a Bear

  • September 11, 2013
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For the time being at least, it looks as though Russian diplomacy may have saved Barack Obama from stumbling into the biggest mistake of his presidency.     Until Monday night,   his administration was locked into a spectacularly amateurish and dishonest diplomatic offensive that appeared to leading inexorably towards a military assault on Syria...

Last Flight of the Liberal Bombardiers

  • September 09, 2013
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Liberal interventionism is a serious business that requires tough, decisive men who are ready for the long haul, not sissies or whimps.   No matter how many disasters unfold, no matter how many times the outcome of these interventions departs from their original predictions and expectations, such men must always ready for the next one,...

Hello America: The President Would Like Your Permission to Bomb

  • September 04, 2013
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Americans may be reluctant to get involved in another Middle Eastern war, but the US political elite is not going to allow public opinion get in the way of another righteous intervention.   Because foreign policy, national security and reasons of state are serious matters that require serious leaders,  with wisdom, judgment and insight, and an...

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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