Bacik To The Dark Ages?

6 October, 2009

CrossSenator Ivana Bacik claims in Trinity News that “the Minister for Justice has brought us back to the Dark Ages” with the revision of Ireland’s law on blasphemy. Unfortunately, censorship may be reappearing in response to a newer and far more malevolent force than catholic conservatism.

This week, it will have been 4 years since a terrifying manifestation of this – the controversy and violence resultant from the publication of cartoons depicting the prophet Mohammed in the Danish newspaper, Jyllands-Posten.

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The Lies Obama Tells Himself

30 August, 2009

Afghanistan FlagThe Economist takes stock of the current situation in Afghanistan. President Hamid Karzai continues to disgrace himself and damage his country, with widespread accusations of foul play in the recent presidential elections. It remains to be seen whether he is successfully re-elected.

In another article, President Barack Obama continues to claim that victory in this conflict (a concept devoid of meaning) is critical to keep America safe. This has been and always will be a lie.

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Towards a Nuclear Middle East

2 June, 2009

Within a matter of months, Iran could be in possession of nuclear weapons. The evidence for this was considered last week here. This is a state perfectly content to finance, train and arm with conventional weapons terrorist groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq, Lebanon and Palestine. This is a state with political discourse dominated by nationalism.

These are the two major impacts from Iran’s decision: nuclear proliferation, and the possibility of terrorist organisations obtaining weapons of mass destruction. It is often easy to forget these consequences and simply focus on the prospect of the Ayatollah with his finger on the button, hoping that mutually assured destruction will save us.

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Afghanistan’s New Hope

20 May, 2009

Afghanistan FlagThe Economist reports on the introduction of the Afghan Public Protection Program (AP3). The US is hoping that what worked in Iraq can be applied to the very different problems in Afghanistan. They will be disappointed.

The problems in Afghanistan are rooted in a very different enemy, and the motivations of subscribing tribes to this new militia are decidedly different too. In addition, the support for these forces (although increasing in practical terms) is insufficient when compared to Iraq. The Taliban will not be defeated by passing the buck onto local militias.

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Profits, Pirates and Externalities

18 May, 2009

The government in Somalia blames payment of ransom for the explosion in piracy there, according to the BBC. Although this is obviously ignoring the root of the problem, it raises the interesting question of whether outlawing payment could eliminate the threat in the future.

Clearly, if it was in the interests of shipping firms to do so, they would already have agreed to it privately. That’s all that matters, if they’re the only victims. Recent developments have shifted the balance in this debate, as there is a question over whether these pirates are financing Al-Shabaab, the Islamic group that opposes the Somalian government. The importance of this question has intensified as more lives are lost.

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Back in Iraq

14 May, 2009

The Washington Post reports militants have renewed their entry into Iraq through Syria. The developments come as diplomacy between the US and Syria are promising, suggesting the real motivation behind these movements. Meanwhile, violence in Iraq is lower than it has been since the summer of 2003. President Obama’s decision to renew economic and political sanctions against Damascus will threaten the progress made on both fronts.

The ability of Syria to make life difficult for America, was demonstrated by their removal of support for border control operations with Iraq last year after incursions into their territory. This should not be forgotten. Antagonism also tends to drive Syria towards its neighbour Iran. Even though this is clearly only a marriage of convenience, it should be avoided.

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