Iraq: A lost cause?

A US Marine in Anbar, conducting a security patrol around combat outpost Viking, Iraq, in 2009

As Hegel famously observed: “The only thing we learn from history is that we learn nothing from history.” Perhaps anyone involved in Western foreign policy in the Middle East should recite this every morning before they go to work, because right now we are sleepwalking into the mistakes of the past. On 16 March, the… Continue Reading ➤

Ripple effects: oil prices, politics and power

The Nigerian capital, Lagos. What impact will falling oil prices have on the country's economy?

Oil plays an integral part in the landscapes of the global and local economy. The price of oil holds great importance for the public’s fuel bills, for countries’ currencies and budgets and for the general health of the macro-economy. Since June 2014, the price of Brent crude has fallen by over 55%. The principal reason… Continue Reading ➤

Days of Dawn and Torment: Iran’s slow revolution

The President of Iran Hassan Rouhani at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, in January 2014

“The Ten Days of Dawn” or “Daheh-ye Fajr” is a phrase used throughout Iran to describe and celebrate the brief period between Ayatollah Khomeini’s return to Iran and the official date of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Some Iranians, however, have referred to the period as “Daheh-ye Zajr” or “The Ten Days of Torment”.  Two phrases that… Continue Reading ➤

Why We Must Intervene in the Middle East

The pro-Kobane protest in Trafalgar Square, 1 November. The town has been the focus of much of the recent fighting (Source: Garry Knight)

It was late one August evening and Parliament had voted to declare war on its own integrity. In refusing to come to the aid of the Syrian people, Britain became a nation of apathy, isolationism and cowardice, unwilling to stand for the principles of international law, the cries of Arabic suffering unintelligible to English ears…. Continue Reading ➤

Fawning over the Saudis is weak. But a working relationship is necessary

US Secretary of State John Kerry and Saudi King Abdullah in January 2014 [Source: US Department of State]

When King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia died of pneumonia last week at a ripe 90, the Western response was ridiculously gushing. Barack Obama cut short a visit to India of enormous geopolitical significance (especially for a President who has made pivoting towards the Asia-Pacific region – and away from the Middle East – the supposed… Continue Reading ➤