Arab Politics Category

Iraq and the West are haunted by history

Once again, Iraq is tearing itself apart. The country’s existence as a cohesive whole is now in more danger than it was at the height of the civil war in 2006/07, when the yearly civilian death count was over 20,000. Now, with a disintegrating Syria providing an ideal base for terrorism, Iraq is being threatened […]

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Two steps forward, one step back

Democracy is an illusive thing. A pure form of it has not existed since the glory days of ancient Athens – and even then women and slaves were excluded from the metaphorical electoral roll. The modern world’s democratic bastion – America – does not elect its President via direct universal suffrage, but a complicated electoral […]

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Sadness in Houla

All sorts has been going on. In the forefront of my mind recently has been the calamity in Houla, Syria, where dozens children were murdered by the army. The world is duly horrified and I believe The Times was right when it headlined the story ‘the tipping point’. The UN managed to get itself together enough […]

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Hope and dispair

The world was enthralled last December when democracy reared its head in the Middle East for the first time. It was like watching a film crescendo during January and February when the Presidents of Tunisia and Egypt were literally swept away by the full force of popular opinion. All the good news made us heady as events spread […]

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Tunisia’s elections

The Arab spring has just witnessed its first true success in the country where the protests started in December last year – Tunisia has held its first elections after 23 years of dictatorship under the now-ousted President Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali. There were worries that the elections would be mired by violence or vote-fixing, but […]

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Is Libya free?

On the face of it the answer to that question is a resounding yes. Dig a little deeper, though, and the conviction behind the answer wanes a bit. So let’s evaluate. Yes, Col Gadaffi no longer holds power. Therefore, Libya is free from the tyrant who ruled it by fear for the past four decades. He […]

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A new country

Over night Libya’s rebel army made the much-anticipated advance on Tripoli and we awoke to an almost-finished battle for the city. The rebels used a two-pronged approach, coming both from Ziltan to the West and Zawiya to the East, forcing Gaddafi’s forces to fight on two fronts. As of this morning the rebels were claiming […]

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