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Middle East

Radicalisation: The Law is in Your Hands

in Middle East/UK/World by

Radicalisation: the buzzword of security councils and foreign ministers around Europe and America. From Jihadi John to Kadiza Sultana, the names that plaster our front pages are starting to pose increasingly complex moral questions to which we must somehow find legal responses. It is on all of us to take a vocal stance on these issues because these crimes are new. UK law will have to try and catch up with new ideas of justice, freedom, security, responsibility, vulnerability, and rights. If we don’t start asserting our own ideas on the issues then huge legal changes will go on behind the scenes and it will be too late for us to guide them. You have more power over the progress of British ideals now, as…

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Putin’s Unlikely New Friendship

in Europe/Middle East/World by

A few days ago, after visiting a local Chinese restaurant, I received an ominous message from a fortune cookie: ‘An unexpected friendship will turn out to be permanent.’ Of course, I interpreted the prediction as applying to me, despite the fact that it is not specified. However in an unexpected twist in the tale of modern international politics, the anonymous writer may have for once made a successful foretelling. A few days ago, Turkey’s foreign minister announced deepened defensive cooperation with Russia, establishing a joint military and intelligence mechanism with their former foes. It was only last year when Turkey and Russia were at each other’s throats after the downing of a Russian jet by Turkish forces. More recently, Erdogan began to consciously push for…

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Why Secular Democracy Will Never Be Achieved in the Middle East

in Middle East/World by

In the west, we see secularism, democracy and liberty as the zenith of human progress – admirable goals which all societies should aim for. Indeed, throughout most of our history we have attempted to enforce these values on the rest of the world. Though our understanding of western values was different in the 19th century, European empires still attempted to ‘civilise’ the rest of the world by forcing their values on them. There are places where these practises have successfully created ‘Western’ democracies, however there are even more where this strategy has backfired with terrible consequences for the nations involved. Despite these failures, western countries continue to attempt to mould the world in their image, regardless of the consequences. A more recent example of this…

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Turkish foreign policy: Erdogan reassesses his options

in Middle East/World by

I have previously been a little critical of Turkey’s approach towards foreign affairs. Before now it seems as though they have done nothing but make mistakes: whether it be backing groups that proceeded to fail dismally, possibly funding ISIS or alienating almost every major player in the region it seemed as if Turkey was never going to make any good choices. Now however that seems to be changing. The relationship between Russia and Turkey has historically been frosty. In fact, the two powers have never quite seen eye to eye. This is a problem for Russia, as the Bosporus is the only way for Russian ships to enter the Mediterranean. It also poses a major problem for Turkey, as they stand between one of the…

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Life imitates art: Leadership challenges in Israel and the UK

in Middle East/UK/World by

A few months ago, -in a move eerily similar to a certain Conservative politician in the UK- the defence minister of Israel, Moshe Ya’alon resigned. At the time he cited: ‘difficult disagreements on professional and moral matters’, and made no secret of his intention to stand for office in the future. This week the moment of truth finally came, with Ya’alon making his first pitch to the people of Israel. One of the issues he highlighted was that Israel’s current government is using scaremongering tactics to maintain control by terrifying Israelis with fears of external enemies. Ya’alon stated his belief that Israel is the strongest country in the region, and it’s people should not be living in fear. He also stated that he would attempt…

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Is the Middle East on a Course for Cataclysm?

in Middle East/World by

‘History does not repeat itself, but it does rhyme.’ This famous line is often attributed to Mark Twain, despite their being no actual evidence that he was the one who first said it. It’s one of those lines that you can produce in conversation if you wish to appear more knowledgeable without offering any actual comment on a subject. It causes people to take pause and consider that the solution to many of our current problems can be found in analysis of past events, and one of our current problems is the unsustainable situation in the Middle East. The international situation in the region has been balanced on a knife’s edge since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. The borders imposed on the region by…

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