Browsing All Posts filed under »Terrorism«

From the Archives: The New Year’s War in Gaza

November 16, 2012


With it kicking off in Gaza again, I thought I’d post an unpublished article I wrote in late 2009 about what I called the New Year’s War in Gaza. Some of the observations are understandably dated, but I think the piece is still relevant. At eleven o’clock Saturday morning, on December 27th 2008, the New […]

Can democracy save us from Pakistan?

December 14, 2011


British policy in Central and South Asia is in a bit of a bind. We want stability in Afghanistan, a special relationship with India, and have signed up to a strategic partnership with Pakistan. The problem for us in achieving our goals in the region is that the latter two see a stable Afghanistan as […]

Striking Pakistan

September 26, 2011


Since the September 13th attacks in Kabul, relations between Pakistan and the United States have become so bad that it is rumoured the baddies in the next Indiana Jones film will be the ISI, which is much more damaging to a country’s reputation than being listed as a state sponsor of terrorism. On Thursday, Admiral […]

How do you solve a problem like the Haqqanis?

September 13, 2011


I came to study Afghanistan because of a Big Idea, which was counterinsurgency. One of the earliest things I wrote about the war, in the summer of 2009, was an article about how wonderful this new doctrine was and the ways in which it would win us this war. Had I written it now, I […]

Afghanistan, David Cameron and the perils of bad history

September 7, 2011


The political use of history, including bad history, has always interested me, and the way bad history can persuade a politician to make bad decisions. In his survey of the British Foreign Secretaryship, Douglas Hurd warns that the most dangerous form of ignorance ‘is that smidgeon of shallow knowledge which lacks any understanding of the […]

A plea for honesty in the aid debate

September 1, 2011


Many years ago, David Cameron pledged to protect the international aid budget from cuts if he became Prime Minister, and, since then, there has been a recurring debate in Conservative circles about the wisdom of this commitment. It appears on the horizon like a cloud promising rain; supporters of the pledge become very Wet; and […]

Afghanistan, David Cameron and British grand strategy

May 17, 2011


Yesterday, the Daily Telegraph reported that David Cameron has told the military to draw up plans for an early exit from Afghanistan. American commanders are alarmed by this and they are putting pressure on their British counterparts, as it might hasten an early US withdrawal. The story also ties into concerns the United States supposedly […]

A minister departs

May 9, 2011


It was a surprise to read Pauline Neville-Jones, the security minister, quit the government today. She had informed the Prime Minister about her wish to leave months ago, according to her resignation letter, but, in all the chatter about a reshuffle, I don’t think her departure had ever been suggested. This is an opportunity for […]

Understanding the Pakistani dimension

May 2, 2011


I woke up this morning to a text from a friend saying, ‘That’s Obama re-elected in 2012…’ M’boss at Egremont, Nik Darlington, had also texted me asking if I wanted to write something on Osama Bin Laden. Why, I wondered. The news came as a pleasant surprise. I listened to this song to celebrate, because, […]

Failed states and their threat to our country

April 21, 2011


Why does David Cameron support the war in Afghanistan? This is the title of a speech I’m giving soon, in which I examine his stated reasons for backing our involvement and explore possible ones. “Our forces are in Afghanistan to prevent Afghan territory from again being used by al-Qaeda as a base from which to […]

Steven Metz: Islamophobia and the crumbling of American strategy

February 7, 2011


Although I don’t agree with the conclusions, this guest post by Dr. Steven Metz is an excellent critique of American grand strategy since September 11th and the corrosive effects which Islamophobia has had. He is the author of more than a hundred publications on future war, the emerging security environment, military strategy, defense policy, international […]

Afghanistan, the Conservatives and the national interest

January 5, 2011


That simple truth was reaffirmed last night: when in doubt, Hew Strachan. I had a breakthrough with my work on Afghanistan and the Conservative Party thanks again to his essay, ‘The Strategic Gap in British Defence Policy’. Since November, I have been struggling to write about the emphasis on the national interest in Conservative foreign […]

Al-Qa’ida, the Taliban and military Orientalism

December 1, 2010


A new briefing paper analysing the relationship between al-Qu’aida and the Taliban was released today by the think tank Quillam. It was a welcome addition to my workload. My regular readers will know I’m working on a paper about Afghanistan and the UK Conservative Party, and understanding that relationship is important in dealing with their […]