Where do Syria and Assad go from here?

The war in Syria has been drawing to a slow, violent end for almost two years now. Since Russia started to increase its military support for the Assad regime in September 2015, there has almost been an inevitability that the government forces would hold out and eventually reclaim most of the country. This was accentuated by the deafening silence from most Western nations as rebel held Eastern Aleppo was levelled by the Russian air force. To the ‘moderate’ rebels groups, …

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Britain’s Postwar Wars

The list of wars involving the UK since 1945 is long and chaotic. Looking at some of them especially the most recent does suggest some themes which are not especially encouraging when one considers the prospect of British involvement in Syria. In the early post war period most of the conflicts Britain was involved in were either against expansion of communism (Greece and Korea) or else imperial entanglements. Greece and Korea had fairly clear objectives and the prospect of functional …

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Stopping Islamic State in Iraq: parallels with Vietnam

The ongoing disaster that is Iraq continues. When the Americans (with British help) invaded Iraq in 2003 I must confess to feeling it has the potential to become another Vietnam. As time has gone on that appearance has strengthened centrally in that like Vietnam the Americans would have been wiser not to invade and having made that error the best way to compound it was to leave. The spectacle in Vietnam involved refugees and poor treatment of the old South …

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Decommissioning advice for Damascus?

Is a de Chastelain-type decommissioning process soon to hit Damascus? Will our own international  peacemakers rush over to give advice? But which side would they advise?  Al-Assad or the Russians and their nominees?  It took the good general 10 long years and a lot of guile from Gerry Adams, as that connoisseur of IRA strategy Ed Moloney recalled.  Barack Obama should ask the Clintons what he’s letting himself in for. Off the hook perhaps?. Ten years is two and a half presidential …

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