One of the most boring British election campaigns on record produced a supposedly dramatic result. Before the polls closed at 10pm on Thursday 7th May 2015, every polling organisation had the two main political parties, Conservative and Labour neck and neck. No one knew who was going to win. But as soon as London’s iconic, Big Ben struck ten an exit poll for the main television stations surprisingly showed an overwhelming victory for the Conservatives. By the time the last votes were counted on Friday 8th, the Conservative Party led by Ed Cameron, had ridden home with 331 seats while David Miliband’s Labour Party performed unexpectedly poorly with 232 seats.
The United Kingdom’s parliament seats 650 members so the Conservatives had theoretically crossed the halfway 325 seats needed to govern the nation alone without a need to enter a coalition with a smaller party as it had done in 2010 with the Liberal Democrats.
In the immediate aftermath of the Conservative victory many rightly asked why the polls for the preceding six weeks got it so wrong. Continue reading
At the recent United Nations annual gathering of world leaders in September, President Barack Obama once again admitted to America’s role in the coup d’état which overthrew the government of the democratically elected Muhammad Mossadegh in 1953. This is not the first time Obama has mentioned this sore and defining episode in American-Iranian relations. In his 2009 Cairo speech Obama was more explicit in laying out America’s involvement. He acknowledged that during “the Cold War, the United States played a role in the overthrow of a democratically elected Iranian government.”
The reason why Obama may have used the indefinite article, “a role”, in describing America’s involvement is largely because there was another external actor. If America had acted alone in overthrowing Mossadegh’s government Continue reading
One of the effects of the Obama presidency is that it has turned international warmongering on its head. The script, has been somewhat flipped. During the George W. Bush era there was very little doubt who was perceived to be leading the mindless, breast-beating clamour for war. What is now clear and impossible to avoid is that the United Kingdom is assuming the lead in calling for more Western intervention in the Middle East. As such and like Libya, the British have been leading the calls for a United States led intervention in Syria.
In an interview with the historian Niall Ferguson, David Cameron, the British Prime Minister, declared his “frustration” at the lack of interest in intervening in Syria. He had similarly declared his frustration when it did not seem the British were going to be granted an intervention in Libya.
Since Obama’s re-election Cameron has raised the verbal stakes in advocating intervention in Syria. Firstly, on the day of Obama’s historic re-election and on the back of peddling weapons to the Persian Gulf despots Continue reading
Inevitably and tragically the United States has once again experienced a blowback of a policy not of its sole provenance.
On the evening of 11th September 2012 the American ambassador to Libya, Christopher Stevens, was killed in Benghazi alongside three other Americans apparently during demonstrations against an internet video clip defaming the Prophet Muhammad, the Islamic religion’s last prophet. His killing was also on the heels of the announcement that al-Qaeda’s second in command, Abu Yahya al-Libi had been taken out by an American drone.
The ambassador is officially said to have died of asphyxiation after an armed group stormed the compound of the American mission. Currently the finger of blame points to an Islamist-Salafi militia, Ansar al-Shari’ah, as the culprits behind the fatal deed.
Members of the militia had originally and quickly taken up arms during the uprising against Gadhaffi’s rule. Gadhaffi had made wild threats on television against the demonstrators and western media erroneously and falsely reported that his troops were committing rape crimes and employing foreign “African” mercenaries to do his violent bidding. Yet the only known foreigners in the early period of the uprising were the captured British MI6 agents.
Overlooked during this period was not only the racist lynching of black Libyans and Sub-Sahara African migrant workers Continue reading