Published at Newsweek
In the past two years, and especially over the last month, the Islamic State militant group has launched a coordinated campaign of terrorism in Europe. Among these recent attacks was the murder of 84 people in Nice by a man who ploughed a truck into Bastille Day crowds, and the brutal killing of a priest in Normandy when two young men stormed a church.
Now, the number of armed police in London, and ultimately across the U.K., is set to increase significantly. These additional forces will patrol landmarks and other areas where large numbers of people congregate. An attack in Britain is “highly likely … a case of when, not if,” according to the commissioner of the Metropolitan Police Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe. A stabbing in the British capital Wednesday is not currently being treated as an extremist act but has underlined the perceived need for an increased police presence. Continue reading
In the immediate aftermath of the 23 June referendum vote in which the United Kingdom chose to leave the European Union there was a good deal of chaos in British politics. The Prime Minister resigned, a full-scale revolt erupted against the Leader of the Opposition, the pound plunged to its lowest level since 1985, and a nasty spate of racist incidents were recorded across the country. At a week’s remove, some order has begun to re-assert itself. Continue reading
Published at Left Foot Forward.
The British inquiry into the death of Alexander Litvinenko concluded on Thursday, making official what everyone already knew: the Russian intelligence services, “probably” at the direct order of Russian President Vladimir Putin, murdered Litvinenko in London in November 2006.
Welcome as it is to have this on the record and to have Litvinenko’s killers named for all the world to see, it now leaves questions, primarily:
Will similar forensic scrutiny be brought to bear on several other odd instances of political and other crime in Russia?
And what does the British government intend to do now that the Kremlin is carrying out assassinations on its territory again? Continue reading
A version of this article was published at The Independent.
Yesterday, the British House of Commons voted 397 to 223 to extend airstrikes against the Islamic State (ISIS) into Syria from Iraq. After the vote in August 2013 against military action to punish Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad for the massive poison gas attack outside Damascus that killed 1,500 people in a few hours, this is undoubtedly a sign of a recovery in confidence of Britain’s international role, but it is only the beginning. Continue reading
Published at Left Foot Forward.
This morning the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee published a report recommending that the British government should not extend its airstrikes campaign against the Islamic State (ISIS) from Iraq to Syria.
The report makes little legal or military sense, but its political objection—that the government’s attempt to defeat ISIS independently of a resolution to the Syrian war is untenable—is exactly right. Unfortunately the report, while very vague, hints that a resolution involves cooperation with the Bashar al-Assad regime and Iran, which cannot work, and actually helps ISIS. Continue reading
Published at Left Foot Forward
On 9 September the British government announced a new plan for dealing with Syria and the Islamic State (ISIS):
- Airstrikes when necessary into Syria to destroy the leadership of ISIS;
- Buttressing the Iraqi government in its fight with ISIS;
- Dropping the demand that Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad step aside immediately and instead allowing Assad to lead a transition, in order that Russia and Iran will agree to Assad going at all.
All three parts of this plan push in a pro-Iran direction, and strengthen Assad. Continue reading