Tag Archives: Syria

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

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

March into madness – European chaos, and a tentative Syrian ceasefire

February 29 2016 was not the greatest day in European history. Fewer than two months into the new year, and just six months since the last time a European government’s police fired on unarmed men, women and children at its border, desperate people fleeing violence and terror had, once again, cast the world’s richest political bloc into political, legal and practical chaos. In its West, police fired teargas at refugees at the Jungle camp, near … Continue reading

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

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

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

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

Posted in Home | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

 Money, mayhem and murder: Syria and a week of ‘progress’

‘…the anguish of each belongs to us all…’ Primo Levi, The Girl of Pompeii             ‘We need a no-fly zone. We need it to survive… People are thinking about managing the conflict, not ending it.’ Marcelle Shehwaro, Kesh Malek (Aleppo-based NGO) The first week of February 2016 may turn out to have been the most important for Syria since the start of the state’s civil war in March 2011. Sadly, … Continue reading

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

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

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

2015 and 2016: The international refugee crisis and the failure of Europe

It’s the morning of New Year’s Eve, and you’re in a car with three aid workers and a driver, heading from Izmir to buy blankets from a town three hours’ drive away. It’s freezing. Literally. There is snow in the air, and ice on the wind. In Izmir itself, a city not known for cold weather, people have stepped out of their apartment blocks, offices or cafes, stopped, stared and shrugged at the snow, buttoning … Continue reading

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

Libya and Syria, and the definition of ‘agreement’

When is a political agreement not a political agreement? When it is neither political, nor an agreement. As jokes go, it may not be the best you’ll hear in the next few days (though in the UK, at least, the standards of Christmas cracker gags vary wildly enough that it might), but despite many representations to the contrary, it’s a pretty accurate description of Libya’s last eight days.

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

Eternal warfare: the Syrian campaign nobody wants

To be honest, I’m not really entirely sure why I am writing this. It’s not to insult/castigate/howl at our political class. Though it’s tempting, and I engaged in a bit of it last night when the Commons vote on Syria was announced, it would do little good, now.

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