Mockingbird: Harper Lee’s expression of American change

Harper Lee in 1962, , two years after Mockingbird was published (Source: Jbarta)

The news that Harper Lee was publishing a second novel was greeted by a roar of ecstasy in the literary world and beyond. The BBC described it as launching a ‘‘trade frenzy’’, while the Bookseller magazine anticipates Go Set a Watchman to be ‘‘as big as it gets for new fiction’’, and was told by… 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 ➤

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 ➤