The tone of this year’s Munich Security Conference – the Davos of global security – was captured by the Munich Security Report’s theme: ‘Boundless chaos, reckless spoilers, helpless guardians.’ The front page headline on The Security Times, a conference special edition from the stable of Die Zeit, featured a box of matches and urged an appropriate response: ‘Don’t do stupid stuff.’ Continue reading
French reaction to the November 13 attacks in Paris that killed 130 people and injured over 300 has turned the War on Terror into a war on ISIS. France has stepped up its bombing raids on ISIS, aiming, President François Hollande has said, to ‘destroy’ the organisation. Alongside these quickly decided military measures, other kinds of response have received much less attention. Continue reading
One year on from the Global Summit to End Sexual Violence in Conflict, the senior UN official on the issue, Zainab Bangura, has said in an interview with AFP that Yazidi and other young women abducted by ISIS in Syria and Iraq are being traded “for as little as a pack of cigarettes.” Continue reading
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:
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:
The West is a couple of weeks into the latest air campaign in the Middle East, targeting the group we know among other names as ISIS. It is too early to see an outcome on the ground. The first test of its success is Kobane on northern Syria’s border with Turkey. As the fighting goes on, it seems the bombing could not halt ISIS’ continuing advance to the town though there are claims it has started to have an impact on the street-to-street fighting. Amid the uncertainties on the ground, three questions remain relevant.
Or at least, who cares enough to try to start thinking anew? The region is burning. Apart from the parties to the conflicts who want to win, nobody seems to have any idea of what to do. Continue reading