There may be room for experienced optimists yet in the Middle East

by Rashmee

Posted on March 9, 2021


/ POLITICS & AMERICA A former Israeli prime minister once said that in the Middle East, a pessimist is simply an optimist with experience. It’s a clever but dispiriting observation. I wonder what he would make of recent indications that Turkey’s president may be ready to mend ties with Arab countries and thereby turn its … Continue reading “There may be room for experienced optimists yet in the Middle East”

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Hubris and humility: Remembering Ozymandias, ‘that colossal wreck’

by Rashmee

Posted on January 21, 2021


Just the other day Donald Trump was likened to Ozymandias, the Greek name for the legendary Egyptian pharaoh, at least in the sense that Mr Trump’s sketchy legacy was obviously crumbling in his last weeks in office. The Economist said its cover was meant to convey as much, even as it mentioned Ozymandias and Mr … Continue reading “Hubris and humility: Remembering Ozymandias, ‘that colossal wreck’”

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The war for Libya is not what it seems

by Rashmee

Posted on July 15, 2020 / The Focus


The war for Libya is getting hot again. The country’s eastern-based parliament has said it would “welcome” Egyptian military intervention in the civil war. The Libyan Parliament’s green light for outside meddling is supposed to be an attempt to end yet another country, Turkey, meddling in its affairs. Turkey has been supplying military hardware as … Continue reading “The war for Libya is not what it seems”

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Libya arms embargo is a ‘joke’, said a UN envoy. But it’s peace-making that is a farce

by Rashmee

Posted on February 26, 2020


Now that European foreign ministers have agreed on a new Mediterranean naval mission to enforce the widely breached UN arms embargo on Libya, it’s worth thinking what it might really mean. The mission, which will replace Operation Sophia that was derailed last year, is still to be finalised. A senior UN official recently called the … Continue reading “Libya arms embargo is a ‘joke’, said a UN envoy. But it’s peace-making that is a farce”

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What is it about north African countries and leaders in cages?

by Rashmee

Posted on August 24, 2019


Sudan’s former dictator Omar Al Bashir made a second court appearance today (Aug. 21)  four months after widespread protests forced him from office. He peered out through a black metal cage as his trial for corruption continued. It was reminiscent of another ousted north African leader’s trial. That of Mohammed Morsi, ousted by the Egyptian … Continue reading “What is it about north African countries and leaders in cages?”

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The Long Arab Spring? A guide to Sudan and Algeria

by Rashmee

Posted on June 4, 2019


The gloves have come off in Sudan. Sudan’s  Transitional Military Council (TMC) has indicated it intends to be not particularly transitional. TMC head General Abdel Fattah al-Burhan  said in a statement broadcast on state television that they had decided to “stop negotiating with the Alliance for Freedom and Change and cancel what had been agreed … Continue reading “The Long Arab Spring? A guide to Sudan and Algeria”

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Japan rises on the world stage as a force – for good

by Rashmee

Posted on April 19, 2019


Today, April 19, Japan sends two senior members of its Self-Defense Forces (SDF) to Egypt. That is significant, almost a rites-of-passage experience for Japan. Unlike most other countries, Japan doesn’t strictly have an army, just the SDF. The April 19 deployment is the first time SDF personnel will have been despatched on a mission not … Continue reading “Japan rises on the world stage as a force – for good”

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The lessons of Sudan and Algeria: Democracy has to be forced like a hyacinth bulb

by Rashmee

Posted on April 13, 2019


I think what’s clear from the continuing protests in Sudan and Algeria is that ordinary people do not believe in springtime or a budding democracy. They know that democracy has to be forced to bloom – a bit like a hyacinth bulb meant to be in full flower at Christmas. The bulb has to be … Continue reading “The lessons of Sudan and Algeria: Democracy has to be forced like a hyacinth bulb”

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Out of its own league? The Arab League

by Rashmee

Posted on March 30, 2019


The Arab League is meeting in Tunis – to general indifference. Few – perhaps even within the 22-member body – can see or explain the point of it any more. But it’s all too easy to call for something to be dismantled. It’s far harder to put an entity together. The Arab League does, at … Continue reading “Out of its own league? The Arab League”

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Shed a tear or two for the funny business underway in El Sisi’s Egypt

by Rashmee

Posted on February 16, 2019


It’s funny (in a profoundly sad way) how little the world is talking about the new constitutional amendments in Egypt. While Donald Trump’s America is apoplectic about the democratic deficit in Venezuela and Iran, state capture, as South Africans called it in a different context, is underway in Egypt. The military is restored as Egypt’s … Continue reading “Shed a tear or two for the funny business underway in El Sisi’s Egypt”

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Rashmee has lived and worked in several countries in the past decade, including Afghanistan, India, Haiti, Tunisia, the UAE, US and UK