Author Archives: admin

(Thessaloniki, 29/09/17) A Tale of Two Cities: Referenda in Catalunya and Erbil

This week began with an internationally-condemned independence referendum took place in a regional capital in an intensely strategically-important part of the world, which the national government allowed to go ahead. It is set to end with an internationally-supported (or in the least positive responses, indifferently-greeted) independence vote, which the national government has used its police forces, and has the full support of both the national and regional court, to try its hardest to prevent. In … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

A Spectre is haunting Europe; but not the one you may think

The official end of the EU’s refugee relocation programme, begun in September 2015, came at midnight last night, 26 September 2017. Despite setting its own target – of 160,000 refugees to be moved from Greece, Italy and Turkey to other EU member states (106,000 in total from Italy and Greece: 66,400 from Greece; 39,600 from Italy) – and giving itself two years to meet the target, only 28,782 people have actually been moved from Italian … Continue reading

Posted in Blog | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

War, Refugees and International Law

I have never visited Dadaab refugee camp. But I have worked with people who work there, and with aid organisations who worked to provide services and opportunities to the 350,000 people effectively trapped in the Kenyan camp between war in their home states (in most cases, Somalia) and a largely indifferent international community. And wherever you work, in refugee and internally-displaced people’s* camps all over the world, those who have been – to live, work, … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Children in need: and the UK government’s efforts to keep them out

In the event, the second amendment, detailed below, was successful – albeit with a few codicils attached… The piece which follows was written by me on Tuesday 26 April, hours after the UK government voted to refuse to allow 3,000 unaccompanied refugee children to enter the country. It was featured on 10 May as the lead story at Refugees Deeply, the in-depth online resource focussed on the international refugee situation for journalists and all other … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Tagged | Leave a comment

The atrocity at Kammouneh

 It is one of many shocking and horrific developments of Syria’s bitter, five-year, multi-sided civil war that the killing of dozens of people and injuring of dozens more in an airstrike is almost commonplace – and almost certainly too ‘normal’ to write about. But the slaughter Thursday afternoon (5 May) of at least 30 people in an airstrike in Idlib province, Syria, which also injured more than 50 others, stands out even against the routine atrocity of … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Change Direction; or (Why) We really need to talk about Libya

On Thursday 21 April, I appeared as the opening guest on the BBC political discussion show This Week. I was there a an ‘expert’ to talk about Libya, and discuss the North African state and its current situation with the show’s host, Andrew Neil, and co-hosts Michael Portillo and Ken Livingstone (if you haven’t seen it, you can watch it here). It was a privilege to be asked (I hope never to become so jaded … Continue reading

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

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

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

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

Posted in Home | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment