Category Archives: Middle East & North Africa

The Tunisian Spring and the Nobel Peace Prize

The ‘Arab Spring’ was triggered by the self-sacrifice of a Tunisian. Four years later Tunisia is the only country where the Spring’s early promise persists and, despite extreme pressures and many risks, political change is unfolding relatively peacefully. The new Nobel laureates, the National Dialogue Quartet, are an important part of the reason why. Here is some of the background. Continue reading

Syria: grasping the nettle of negotiation

Russia’s military intervention in Syria brings a dramatic new dimension to a protracted, brutal conflict. The war will go on, however, and nothing so far suggests it will end any time soon with victory for one side or another. If peace is to come about other than through exhaustion, then, it can only be by agreement. And that means everybody grasping the nettle of negotiation. Continue reading

Bombing ISIS won’t stop it

Britain has had a national minute of silence today to remember the victims – including 30 Britons killed – of the beachside massacre in Sousse, Tunisia, last week. Then it will be back to politics as usual, which means discussing when to bomb in Syria. God help us. Continue reading

Extremism, prevention, global inequality, ISIS and migration

Events in the Middle East continue to horrify and escalate in equal measure. Last week Jordan vowed all manner of action against ISIS in Syria for burning a pilot alive, this week Egypt bombed ISIS in Libya for beheading 21 Coptic Christians. At the same time, President Obama convened an international meeting on extremism with the emphasis on prevention and the idea took hold that ISIS would infiltrate people-trafficking boats in the Mediterranean. Arise TV in London were good enough to invite me to hold forth for a few minutes on both Obama and ISIS. We covered a fair amount of ground in 6 minutes:

 

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Jordan and ISIS: more bombing, less peace

Last week when ISIS burned the Jordanian pilot, Moaz al-Kassasbeh, and Jordan responded by hanging two prisoners already sentenced to death for crimes committed as part of al-Qa’eda, Arise TV in London asked me to comment. Here’s the part of The World programme I was on:

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