William Dalrymple’s recent essay A Deadly Triangle: Afghanistan, Pakistan and India has caused a bit of stir. As usual, it’s a decent read with a convincing narrative. In short his thesis is that Afghanistan is the battleground for a proxy war between India and Pakistan. Inevitably that has angered commentators in India, who blame Pakistan … More Dalrymple on Afghanistan
There’s a chicken and egg problem with this analysis and all failed states… Pouring foreign aid into Somalia without good accountability mechanisms in place will only worsen these negative dynamics, just like it did in Afghanistan. Yes, reconstruction is sorely required and in addition to improving security, the Somali government badly needs to start delivering … More The trouble with Somalia (pt 63)
Interesting analysis piece in The New York Times, which seems to be confused about why the Taliban appears to be talking AND fighting at the same time… Back in Afghanistan, though, they have been the same old Taliban: fighters have waged suicide attacks that have taken an increasing toll on civilians, and on Tuesday the … More Jaw jaw and war war
Here’s the text of a letter signed by 17 international news organisations, including The Daily Telegraph, and sent to Pakistan’s minister of information in protest at the expulsion of Declan Walsh. We are writing to protest the Pakistani government’s recent move to expel Declan Walsh, the Islamabad bureau chief for The New York Times, without … More Declan Walsh
Originally posted on Stuff from my notebook:
The other day I came across this: To the untrained eye it looks like it would endow the wearer with instant Syrian revolutionary credibility. But look again. Spot anything amiss? That flag emblazoned on the T-shirt is the Syrian Ba’athist flag, which is much despised by members of…
If Mr Karzai is maddening, the Taliban are frightening, the US is vexing and Pakistan is opaque, meaning there is virtually nothing that can be said with any certainty about the prospects for a negotiated settlement in Afghanistan other than that there will be many bumps on the road to peace. From yesterday’s Dawn on … More If Mr Karzai is…
I was pretty sceptical about the chances of success of this latest bout of Afghan peacemaking. Here’s my take from first thing this morning: You don’t need to know much about Afghanistan, the nature of extremist movements or world affairs in general to understand one important principle: Never mind what they say, what are they … More Afghan talks over before they’ve begun?
I dislike Bono. Intensely. His music is overblown and pompous. And what really pisses me off is that despite living and working in Kenya for five years, no-one offered me so much as a plastic carrier bag much less a lucrative advertising deal…Actually, what I really dislike about Bono is the way in which he … More It’s time to end Bono
What is it about cricket? Is it the players? Or maybe the type of person who is content to watch five days of play that ends in a draw? Is it the individual duals between batsman and bowler within a team sport? Does it have something to do with empire and independence? Is it the … More It’s all cricket to me
Spotted these fine products in an Islamabad supermarket yesterday. Oddly, no Irn Bru. However, they are a reminder of my soft drinks index of failed states and I see that AG Barr is in the news today.