What does Putin want in Syria?

Putin Syria article photo

The United Nations Security Council ushered in the new year by unanimously passing a resolution on a nationwide ceasefire in Syria, welcoming a Russian and Turkish initiative announced just six days after Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s forces regained control of Aleppo on 22 December 2016. Having spent much of 2016 riding a diplomatic rollercoaster after Turkey’s November 2015 downing of a Russian… Continue Reading ➤

Interview: Sir Jeremy Greenstock

Photo: Wikipedia

Sir Jeremy Greenstock is one of Britain’s most distinguished diplomats. He has spent much of his career occupied with the Middle East and US/Western European relations.  His diplomatic career culminated as the UK Special Envoy for Iraq from September 2003 to March 2004 following five years between 1998 and 2003 as the UK Permanent Representative… Continue Reading ➤

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 ➤

What next for Nigeria?

The Marina on Lagos Island in Nigeria's capital: the developed façade of a society undergoing profound change

Radios across Lagos, Nigeria’s most populous city with a staggering 21 million people, are alive with fiery political debate, catchy political jingles and celebrity endorsements. Election fever has hit the city, and the entire country; albeit over a longer period than first imagined. The election was actually due to take place under the auspices of… Continue Reading ➤

Jordan, Japan and control of the narrative

King Abdullah of Jordan at the World Economic Forum in Davos, January 2013 (Source: World Economic Forum)

The group calling itself the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) recently set First Lieutenant Muath al-Kasasbeh, a Jordanian pilot, on fire. He had been shot down over Syria on Christmas Eve, during a bombing raid on ISIS bases near the city of Raqqa. On February 3rd, the horrific footage of his execution was… Continue Reading ➤

The Egregious Folly of Western Intervention

A Kurdish march to raise awareness of the situation in Kobane in Lausanne, Switzerland, on 2 October 2014

Only fools rush in: this maxim – beautifully lyricized by Elvis Presley among others – is as relevant to the field of foreign policy as it is to love, of which there is, unfortunately, no better proof than Ingram Davidson’s piece ‘Why We Should Intervene in the Middle East’. Davidson argues that Britain should become… 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 ➤