Tony Blair’s Dictated Memoirs: I Was Bigger Than Churchill

July 23, 2011

Tony Blair’s Dictated Memoirs: I Was Bigger Than Churchill

Adam Lovejoy writes from London: I bet you were counting the hours before the next instalment of Tony Blair’s dictated version of his memoirs, A Journey, would come out on Stirring Trouble. The wait is over. Today it’s the chapter that is called Peace In Northern Ireland in the original, but it goes under the title I Was Bigger Than Churchill, I Was The Messiah in our imaginary version. Enjoy, as they say in eateries. Churchill was a leader who never saw a problem without enthusiastically, often adventurously, charging forward in search of the solution; but on Northern Ireland he was bleak… What, you think it sounds too pretentious? I don’t think so. I consider myself to be bigger than Churchill. He’d won only one war and I’ve won four. So the opening stays – yes, it stays. Anyway,... 

Is Yemen Becoming Another Afghanistan? It Looks Like It

May 6, 2009

Is Yemen Becoming Another Afghanistan? It Looks Like It

Martin McCauley writes: Violent conflict is no stranger to the Republic of Yemen. After Britain had left the Protectorate of Aden in 1967, a Marxist government took over the country three years later. This led to the migration of hundreds of thousands to the north of Yemen. Eventually north and south Yemen were united in 1990. A secessionist revolt in the south in 1994 was swiftly put down. But the spectre of secession is back again. The south wants independence because it claims that the north is consuming most of the wealth of the country, derived mainly from oil and other products in the south. Yemen is one of the poorest countries in the Middle East. Almost half of its 24 million citizens are under 14 years of age. Almost half the population are below the poverty line and half of the inhabitants... 

Could Water Become A Source Of Conflict In Central Asia? It Looks Like It

May 2, 2009

Could Water Become A Source Of Conflict In Central Asia? It Looks Like It

Martin McCauley writes: Conflict is brewing in Central Asia. Despite being Soviet republics until the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 there is no meeting of minds among the nations in the region. They are all predominantly Sunni Muslim and Turkic (except Tajikistan). Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan are oil and gas rich and Turkmenistan has gas in abundance. That leaves Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan that have almost no hydrocarbons. But they do have something which the other states covet: water.Central Asia is about half the size of the United States but roughly 60 per cent of the territory is a desert. About 80 per cent of Turkmenistan is a desert as well, just like much of southern Kazakhstan. There is one fertile region: the Fergana Valley. Moscow decided that the best way of keeping the republics... 

Shortage Of Water: Could It Become The New Threat To World Peace?

January 18, 2009

Shortage Of Water: Could It Become The New Threat To World Peace?

Martin McCauley writes: The world is getting thirsty. Our planet has had a lot of water coming from the skies in recent times. Britain had the wettest August on record last year. France had its share of rainfall too. Floods are now common in India and Bangladesh. And yet the danger is that we could be running out of water. The country most affected is China. The mighty Yellow River, the cradle of the nation’s civilisation, is polluted almost beyond belief. The north and west of the country, from Inner Mongolia to Xinjiang, are slowly drying up. They are home to over 40 per cent of China’s 1.3 billion people but only provide about 14 per cent of the country’s water. Beijing’s water table is dropping by three metres a year. Some experts think that in the decades to come... 

Turkey Is Siding With Hamas. What Is The Significance Of This?

January 6, 2009

Turkey Is Siding With Hamas. What Is The Significance Of This?

Martin McCauley writes: Turkey was quick to condemn the Israeli air strikes on Gaza, beginning on 27 December. The Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs highlighted the number of civilian casualties and the risk that the conflict might undermine security in the Middle East. Turkey has been attempting to improve its profile in the region through non-military means. These include trade relations, cultural exchanges and acting as a regional peace broker. Ankara, for example, has been attempting to bring Israel and Syria closer together. Turkish Prime Minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan, has voiced his disillusionment at Israel’s action. He saw it as shutting the door on diplomacy. He characterised it as ‘aggression’ and suggested that any diplomatic contact with Israel at present was meaningless....