Notes From the Margins…
Posts for Middle East Category

The ‘international community’ fails to get its way in Syria

  • February 05, 2012
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So the UN Security Council resolution on Syria has been vetoed by Russia and China.   Despite various amendments intended to mitigate Russian anxieties that the resolution would be used as an eventual trigger for direct external intervention in the ongoing Syrian conflict, the Russian envoy to the UN Vitaly Churkin insists that

‘Some influential members of the international community unfortunately… have been undermining the opportunity for political settlement, calling for a regime change, pushing the oppositionists to power.’

Western diplomats and their Arab allies are predictably incandescent.  The US ambassador to the UN...

Governments who love too much

  • February 01, 2012
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It’s a great comfort in these troubled times to see that some governments still care when other people are suffering, and that unlike Neville Chamberlain, their compassion, empathy and humanitarian concern will even extend to ‘  a quarrel in a faraway country  between people of whom we know nothing.’

Yesterday representatives of some of the world’s...

All They are Saying is Give War a Chance

  • January 24, 2012
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Yesterday’s decision by EU foreign ministers to impose an embargo  on Iranian oil has brought the world one step closer to the war that Israel and elements within the US political establishment have long sought.   If Iran carries out its threat to close the Strait of Hormuz, then it will initiate a potentially...

Obama: president of the United States of Israel

  • January 23, 2012
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Somewhat bizarrely there are still those who argue that Barack Obama is not just the lesser of two evils, but some kind of brave, progressive politician genuinely trying to do the right thing in a difficult political climate.   Anyone who believes this should check out the following video produced by the White House...

Thucydides in Hormuz

  • January 16, 2012
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There have been few periods in history like ours, in which one state or group of states have been able to make war on whoever they want, secure in the knowledge that their own countries are effectively immune to retaliation,  and regardless of whether the objects of military force have made any directly aggressive...

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...

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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