There is a Rumi quote for every moment, including the time of coronavirus

by Rashmee

Posted on March 27, 2020


There is a Rumi quote for every moment. For these times we live in: “Be patient  where you sit in the dark. The dawn is coming.” Truly, Rumi transcends timezones and the times. I saw this over the course of just one fortnight. Days ago, in Washington, D.C. there was this: And at a Tube … Continue reading “There is a Rumi quote for every moment, including the time of coronavirus”

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Coronavirus or not, Europe uses Albania to show it’s business as usual

by Rashmee

Posted on March 25, 2020


The European Union (EU) is trying business as usual, pandemic or not, and it’s using a hot-button issue – accession talks for Albania and North Macedonia – to do so. On Tuesday (March 24), EU foreign and Europe ministers discussed (by videoconference)  a proposal to open talks with the two Balkan countries. It was an … Continue reading “Coronavirus or not, Europe uses Albania to show it’s business as usual”

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Erdorgan waves his refugees trump card in Europe’s face

by Rashmee

Posted on February 28, 2020


Today (Friday, Feb. 28), Turkey’s president Erdogan has been speaking to US President Donald Trump, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron about the situation in Syria. The sub-text of any conversation with the Europeans is: Or else. Or else, we’ll release the refugees we hold into Europe. Mr Erdogan’s party, the Justice … Continue reading “Erdorgan waves his refugees trump card in Europe’s face”

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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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Nato is not threatened by Macron’s call for strategic clarity but by the values gap with Turkey

by Rashmee

Posted on January 20, 2020


I’m with Peter Ricketts on NATO. The man who served as the UK’s permanent representative  to the defense alliance from 2003 to 06, has said (paywall) that Emmanuel Macron’s doubts deserve a sensible and measured response. That is entirely true. Instead of rebukes from Donald Trump and Angela Merkel, Mr Macron’s attempt to force attention … Continue reading “Nato is not threatened by Macron’s call for strategic clarity but by the values gap with Turkey”

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It’s going to be a year of ‘conscious uncoupling’

by Rashmee

Posted on December 22, 2019 / The Arab Weekly


All bets are off on what lies ahead in 2020 but it probably won’t be a sober and well-judged 3M strategy on the part of the West. As 2019 hastens to an end, its defining patterns are clear.  The year was marked by two rancorous relationships: between China and the United States and between Turkey … Continue reading “It’s going to be a year of ‘conscious uncoupling’”

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Russia has fair-weather friends and allies in the Middle East

by Rashmee

Posted on November 30, 2019


Former Israeli foreign minister Shlomo Ben-Ami recently attempted to set everyone right on a crucial question: Is Russia the Middle East’s new hegemon? His answer was somewhat surprising. Russia is not the region’s new hegemon, he concluded. Never forget that its economy is the size of South Korea’s and its military capabilities significantly less that … Continue reading “Russia has fair-weather friends and allies in the Middle East”

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On Thanksgiving, I give thanks for a thoroughly British thing – the National Health Service

by Rashmee

Posted on November 28, 2019


Really and truly. Family and friends will gather round the turkey and the Vegan Wellington this evening in a nicely American celebration. But when we get to the Pumpkin Pie, I’m probably likely to give thanks for a thoroughly British thing – the National Health Service (NHS). On Wednesday, November 27, Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn … Continue reading “On Thanksgiving, I give thanks for a thoroughly British thing – the National Health Service”

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Trump has threatened sanctions on Turkey if it goes too far but he hasn’t defined too far

by Rashmee

Posted on October 12, 2019


Turkey continues to push into Kurdish territory in Syria and the global criticism is rather confusing. Especially from the Trump administration – it gave Turkey the green light in the first place but now threatens sanctions if it goes too far. Neither Donald Trump nor his secretary of state, the oleaginous Mike Pompeo, have defined how far … Continue reading “Trump has threatened sanctions on Turkey if it goes too far but he hasn’t defined too far”

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The Trump effect was underway long before Trump. But now, it is empowered

by Rashmee

Posted on October 4, 2019


Israel, India, Britain…The grim rollcall of countries where long-standing norms of political behaviour are increasingly disregarded, and where elected leaders attack the tools that keep democracy vibrant and true. Stanford political scientist Larry Diamond has described some of these tools as follows: judicial independence, a free media, a deeply engaged civil society, universities, the civil service, … Continue reading “The Trump effect was underway long before Trump. But now, it is empowered”

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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