Trump’s threat to ruin Iraq financially has a historical parallel

by Rashmee

Posted on January 19, 2020 / The Arab Weekly


It is outrageous to expect Iraq, which has suffered the loss of hundreds of thousands of lives and the destruction of its infrastructure and economy, to pay for its own occupation. When US President Donald Trump threatened to make Iraq pay for the sprawling US base west of Baghdad if it forced American troops to … Continue reading “Trump’s threat to ruin Iraq financially has a historical parallel”

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After the assassination…America and the ‘Dr Evil’ syndrome

by Rashmee

Posted on January 8, 2020


I’m with Gideon Rachman, the Financial Times’ chief foreign affairs columnist. He recently suggested that the US should cease to indulge in the “persistent fallacy “ of the “Dr Evil syndrome”. Basically, it runs to a very simple (and unrealistic) idea. This is the notion, that in real life, just as in a Hollywood film, … Continue reading “After the assassination…America and the ‘Dr Evil’ syndrome”

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Should data analysis help determine foreign policy decisions?

by Rashmee

Posted on November 5, 2019 / The National


In 1998, Madeline Albright, then president Bill Clinton’s secretary of state, described the United States as “the indispensable nation”. In 2019, Russia is said to be becoming an indispensable nation, particularly in the Middle East. And last week, a new Atlantic Council report titled Global Risks 2035 defined a “new bipolarity” — the result, it said, of … Continue reading “Should data analysis help determine foreign policy decisions?”

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In Syria, history is repeating itself

by Rashmee

Posted on October 27, 2019 / The Arab Weekly


What will be deemed normal in the Turkish-annexed part of Syria is likely to be just as arbitrary as in Russified Crimea. In Syria, other people’s history from lands near and far is repeating itself — not as farce but as a parody. Developments in Syria in 2019 are an ironic imitation of Iraq in … Continue reading “In Syria, history is repeating itself”

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America in the Middle East in 2019

by Rashmee

Posted on January 4, 2019


There is every chance America’s half-in half-out posture in the Middle East will create massive confusion this year. As of December 31, Donald Trump’s America was positioned as follows: ** It is scheduled to withdraw troops from Syria, but not any time quick. After a year-end lunch with President Trump at the White House, Republican … Continue reading “America in the Middle East in 2019”

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Iraq wants the Americans out. Yet again.

by Rashmee

Posted on December 28, 2018


Here we go again. The Iraqis want Americans troops out. Yet again. Remember 2011? The Iraqis were unwilling to negotiate a new US–Iraq Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) along the terms the Americans asked – with legal immunity for US troops. The Iraqis were unwilling to accept anything that infringed on their sovereignty and the US withdrew … Continue reading “Iraq wants the Americans out. Yet again.”

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Barbie wannabes and Iraqi women activists at risk

by Rashmee

Posted on October 7, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


Shimaa Qassem, a former Miss Iraq, started to receive death threats days after the drive-by killing in Baghdad of a social media star who had been a runner-up in that same beauty pageant. The killing of 22-year-old Tara al-Fares followed the gunning down in September of a women’s rights activist in Basra. That killing followed … Continue reading “Barbie wannabes and Iraqi women activists at risk”

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Funeral watch in the Middle East?

by Rashmee

Posted on September 14, 2018


Bloomberg carried a doleful piece last week. It was about the “funeral watch” – in and of the Middle East. Bobby Ghosh puts forward the view that rather than “demographics and technology”, the region will be changed by “human mortality”. Where all else has failed, not least revolution and foreign intervention, death will provide results. … Continue reading “Funeral watch in the Middle East?”

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It is the Iraq invasion that will define Kofi Annan

by Rashmee

Posted on September 2, 2018 / The Arab Weekly


The death of Kofi Annan, UN secretary-general during one of the organisation’s most tempestuous and spectacularly ineffectual phases, brings back bad memories. The Iraq invasion of March 2003 happened on Annan’s watch. Eighteen months later he had the guts — as well as the effrontery — to publicly admit it was “illegal.” He never explained why he hadn’t said … Continue reading “It is the Iraq invasion that will define Kofi Annan”

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Tis well to remember: The long shadow cast by France on Syria

by Rashmee

Posted on July 6, 2018


To many people, Syria spells no more than a long-running civil war, a dangerously internationalising multi-sided skirmish and the tiresome but troubling threat of ever more refugees. But British Arabist Diana Darke’s book, ‘The Merchant of Syria: A History of Survival’, is worth reading if only to re-focus on a few key points about Syria. … Continue reading “Tis well to remember: The long shadow cast by France on Syria”

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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