Tag Archives: NATO

NATO, Libya and when ‘support’ is nothing of the sort…

On 8 July, as part of their international conference in Warsaw, NATO leaders are set to agree a ‘support mission’ for Libya and the Mediterranean. Parts of what is proposed – including, in the words of NATO Deputy Secretary General Alexander Vershbow ‘supporting Libya in building its defence institutions…’ – are not, on the face of it, either negative or especially controversial (though even this proposal is weighed down with a litany of previous fault … Continue reading

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Not A Good Time To Be Turkish – Turkey, the Kurds, and the Syrian Civil War

              This is not a good time to be Turkish. Or, for that matter, a Kurd. Perched on the edge of one of the two defining conflicts of the modern age, to be either Turk or Kurd is today not only to be attacked by IS, and threatened by the overspill of other armed participants in the Syrian Civil War, but also to be at war – in effect … Continue reading

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The Desert of Lop. Chasing illusions in Syria*

‘The truth is this. ‘When a man is riding by night through this desert, then he hears spirits talking and will suppose them to be his companions… ‘Sometimes in the night they are conscious of a noise like the clatter of a great cavalcade of riders, away from the road; and believing that these are of their own company, they go where they hear the noise, and when day breaks, find they are victims of … Continue reading

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Reality check: Europe, Libya, refugees and the nature of truth…

The third section of this four-part blog, all of which was written on Saturday 23 January, deals with the United Nations’ proposal for a ‘Government of National Accord’ which is – as I point out – not a government, not ‘national’ in the sense of belonging to or being ‘Libyan’, and is not the focus of any ‘accord’ within Libya. Today (Monday 25th January), the Libyan House of Representatives (HoR) – one of Libya’s two … Continue reading

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Certainty: claims and rumour in Moscow and Ankara

                Last Friday, on the first leg of a journey to Turkey, I was drawn into a conversation about IS and most specifically the attack on Paris on Friday 13th November. As we (a middle-aged woman sat opposite me, a couple of roughly similar-age who sat in the aisle seats next to us, and I) about increased risk in the UK and whether it exists, as well as … Continue reading

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Doing good, and why it is ‘good’ to do it

Last summer, I discussed the situation in Syria with a young Syrian man who was working to deliver aid to the people of Aleppo. We spoke via Skype on a Thursday afternoon, concluding our conversation at 5.30pm UK time, (7.30pm Syrian time), and promising to speak again on Saturday (the Syrian ‘weekend’ being Friday, the day on which people attend Mosque).

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Legal process, and other distractions

I oppose the death penalty. As a result, this was never likely to be a celebratory blog. In the event, it is a deeply critical one. Yesterday (29 July 2015), a court in Tripoli, Libya sentenced to death nine former officials of Muammar Ghaddafi’s regime, including his son Saif Al-Islam, former intelligence chief Abdullah Al-Senussi, foreign intelligence gatherer Abu-Zeid Omar-Dawarda, and the dictator’s last Prime Minister Al-Baghdadi Ali al-Mahmoudi. The sentence is to be carried … Continue reading

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Crisis Management: Shutting the Door on the Mediterranean

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.

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