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Drawbridges

            From the palaces – parliamentary and aristocratic – of Europe, the meeting rooms – governmental and academic – of the New World, and from the gardens of Asia. From the universities and stables of Africa, and the burja and commissariats of the Middle and Far East, a new sound can be heard. It is the sound of chains and gears rattling and clanging across the night. The sound of
Last Tuesday (26th May) a group of armed men stormed a session of one of Libya’s two powerless Parliaments. Shortly afterwards, that Parliament’s Prime Minister, Abdullah Al-Thinni, was fired on while he travelled by car through the city of Tobruk. It is unclear whether the same people were responsible for both attacks. (more…)
Last time, we took a look at the UK government’s refusal to consider saving lives in the Mediterranean a priority, and its proposed alternatives to it. In this blog, I propose to suggest how it has arrived at this inhumane and uninspired position and – if not explicitly – make a plea that it might change its outlook before making a costly, unreasonable, dangerous and cruel mistake. (more…)
Foreign policy isn't easy. One cannot always predict with accuracy the outcome of a decision made in Whitehall or Brussels, and we should not be too quick to judge people’s failings – even if drafting and enacting sensible policy is their only job, for which they are paid handsomely. Having said that, the least we should expect from our elected representatives is that they should avoid the obviously ridiculous – policies which are not just
One of the two illegitimate governments of Libya has signed a one-year PR deal with a political lobbying firm based in Washington DC. The Tobruk-based House of Representatives (HoR) government, which is recognised internationally, but was earlier this year declared illegitimate by Libya’s highest legal body, the Supreme Court* has appointed Qorvis MSLGROUP to ‘provide strategic advice and assistance on public relations issues’ at a cost of US$1m. (more…)
On Tuesday, I posted a piece in which I described the EU’s response to more than 1,300 people drowning in the Mediterranean as being similar to it ‘emerging from a cave, clutching a half-brick’. At that point, there were still two days before the EU was to announce its final decision. My expectations were low, and today those expectations have been entirely vindicated. (more…)

Enemies of the State

While the world’s focus in the last two weeks has correctly been on the fates of people passing through Libya, within the state something sinister is beginning. Early last week, two embassies in Tripoli, the nation’s capital, were attacked with bombs and firearms. Bombing Embassies is nothing new in Libya: six months ago, for example, the diplomatic mission HQs of Egypt and the UAE were bombed in Tripoli (though the attacks took place while both
What the world needed was a subtle, considered approach to a complex and emotionally fraught situation. What the EU has brought to the table instead is a sledgehammer and a net. In the last eight days, 1,300 people have drowned in the Mediterranean, a situation correctly described as ‘Europe’s Shame’ by newspapers across the globe. (more…)
In the last week, 1,100 people have drowned in the Mediterranean. There are no circumstances under which that fact can be ‘massaged’ into acceptability. No situation in which one can rationalise away the mass drowning of human beings, perhaps by asking questions about who they were, and what they were doing on the boats that led them to their deaths. (more…)

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