The lights from Committee Room 14 in the House of Commons were shining brightly onto the Thames on Wednesday night, as more than 300 Conservative members of Parliament packed themselves inside to vote on whether to keep Theresa May as prime minister. After three hours, the news came through: A majority had backed May and she had survived.
Yet it resolves nothing in the great Brexit drama that has brought political life to a standstill and cast uncertainty over the daily decisions of the country, its people and its businesses. May must still get support from Parliament for a deal with the European Union — one that very few members of Parliament of any party seem to like.… Seguir leyendo »
The trial of Lubna Hussein, the Sudanese journalist sentenced to 40 lashes for wearing trousers in public, was postponed yesterday, a tribute to her gamble in choosing worldwide publicity rather than accepting the sentence, as most do. The Khartoum police promptly found others to beat — the women who had come to protest.
This story resonates all the more in the month of the Afghan presidential elections. It’s worth making the case for why we should spend money and effort and yes, sometimes, military lives, in defence of women’s rights, in places that barely recognise the concept.
At a tense time in the Afghan mission, it’s an unfashionable point to make.… Seguir leyendo »
Yesterday a Pakistani security official said that if India now put more forces on to the disputed Kashmir border, the Pakistani Army would do likewise. By the way, that would mean that Pakistan put less effort into fighting the Taleban on its western border, he added, in an unsubtle warning to the US and Britain. Pakistan understands only too well that for the West its border with Afghanistan represents the frontline in the war on terror.
On the Pakistani side priorities are different. As the calls go up for a clampdown on terrorists, Islamabad's most urgent desire is not for a Nato-defined victory, but for a peaceful life on its Afghan border.… Seguir leyendo »
Every time there is a chance for the United States to escape from the trap it has created for itself in Guantanamo Bay, it slams the door shut.
The Pentagon's decision this week to seek the death penalty for six men it accuses of the 9/11 attacks, and to try them under the hugely disputed version of military courts that it has devised, is one of the stupidest mistakes that the Bush Administration has made.
Everything about Guantanamo is an affront to the values the US says it is defending in the War on Terror. The principle of holding hundreds of people there without charge, for years; the fluid rules of the “military commissions” used for the very few who will be tried; the torture that the Administration acknowledges has been practised on these six: all these are an assault on the US Constitution.… Seguir leyendo »
Oil at nearly $100 a barrel cannot keep Mahmoud Ahmadinejad safe in the presidency of Iran for ever. Finally, it seems as if his breathtaking economic mismanagement, squandering an unprecedented bonanza, may prise him from office.
His critics have been predicting from his election in June 2005 that his wilful ignorance of economics would lead to his downfall. They have been wrong so far because of oil prices even higher than expected; a still-deep hunger among the very poor for Ahmadinejad's message; and his fortuitously successful handling of the nuclear dispute with the West.
The parliamentary elections in March will be the best test of his support — and of whether clerics and other leading figures now want to turf him out.… Seguir leyendo »