Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Middle East Category

Gaza’s Groundhog Day

  • July 09, 2014
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After nearly a month of trying, Netanyahu and his hawkish government have got their war, and once again the Palestinians of Gaza have borne the brunt of it.     Last night Israel carried out 160 air strikes on the Gaza Strip, bringing Palestinian casualties to 25 dead and 70 wounded, including four women and three children.   So far the IDF has attacked 440 targets in Gaza as part of ‘Operation Protective Edge’, and there is a lot worse to come, as Israel continues to mass troops for   a ground invasion.

Operation Protective...

The Honourable Woman

  • July 08, 2014
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I tend to be wary of Western films and dramas about the Middle East.   Too often they tend to reduce Middle Eastern politics to easily digestable and simplistic tropes whose primary purpose is entertainment.

As Jack Sheehan has pointed out in Reel Bad Arabs, Hollywood has a particularly bad record when it comes to dealing...

One, two, three viva l’Algerie

  • July 03, 2014
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Algeria is not a country that has had much to celebrate recently.     In the 1990s, the Algerian government’s refusal to accept an imminent Islamist victory in national elections prompted a savage conflict between the ruling FLN and an array of Islamist groups.

An estimated 150, 000 Algerians died in a war of massacres and...

Netanyahu’s Blood Feud

  • July 02, 2014
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There is nothing that Benjamin Netanyahu likes better than a self-righteous act of retributive violence against Palestinian ‘terrorists’, and the murders of the three kidnapped Israeli teenagers have given him an excuse in spades.   From the moment these teenagers disappeared, Netanyahu blamed their disappearances on Hamas.   On June 13, the day after the...

Syria: The Strategy of Blood

  • June 28, 2014
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If the twists and turns of US foreign policy in the Middle East were ever presented to a Hollywood producer as a script for a movie or a tv drama, it would very likely be sent back for serious revision because of  its plot  contradictions and sheer implausibility.

Imagine your wannabe scriptwriter explaining that the US...

Egypt’s Comedy Hour

  • June 24, 2014
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Even the most brutal dictators and tyrants are comical, and every dictator is comical in his own way.   It’s not the kind of humour that really makes you laugh or go home with a warm glowing feeling. The comedy is generally low, often cruel, and invariably grotesque.

For example there is a story – which...

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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