Monthly Archives: April 2016

Libya: undermined by the world’s mistakes on IS

It is unnerving, sometimes, just how swiftly irony operates. Last week, I criticised the international community for its continued freeze (now into its sixth year) of Libya’s sovereign investment fund, which has prevented every single democratically-elected government in Libyan history (a total of three, to date) from rebuilding after a war in which NATO played a part in smashing its infrastructure into rubble. It also noted that a new ‘government’ – the ‘Government of National … Continue reading

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Death on the Mediterranean: the EU, and the avoidable loss of lives at sea

Overnight last night (Sunday 17 and Monday 18 April), as many as 500 people (the minimum estimate by Monday evening was 400, the survivors claimed it was 100 more) drowned in the Mediterranean between North Africa and Italy. It took the death toll on the Mediterranean this year to more than 1,200, and the total since January 2015 to more than 5,000 people. That is, in 16 months, five thousand men, women and children have … Continue reading

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The Pope, and the shaming of Europe

It’s not especially easy to praise the Pope. First of all, the fact is that statistically-speaking, most of the world believes he worships a figment of his imagination, the wrong god, or the wrong aspect of the right god. Then you are faced with the inescapable history of the church, including its part in the conquering and occupation of regions of the world which are now – not coincidentally – in the most urgent need … Continue reading

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Bombs, threats, cash and bullets: Libya’s third illegitimate government

On Monday 10 April, the German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier tweeted that he had called Libyan politician Fayez al-Sarraj, to congratulate him on his bravery in entering Tripoli. al-Sarraj was in London. In fairness, al-Sarraj, who arrived in the UK on Saturday 8 April on a ‘private visit’ and is not set to attend any ‘official meetings’ may argue he deserves a holiday, after a fraught five months which culminated in a chaotic last three … Continue reading

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The Turkey Deal: Immorality, impossibility and the EU’s lowest moment

On Sunday (3 April) I was asked to take part in a debate on Al Jazeera about whether the ‘closing’ of routes used by refugees to cross from Turkey to Greek islands would lead to a greater number of people entering the EU from Libya. In the event, I couldn’t make it. I was in Liverpool to help launch a writers’ festival (Page to Stage) and the local BBC had no studios free for use … Continue reading

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