“Churchill: Walking with Destiny” by Andrew Roberts Reviewed by Neville Teller
Author Archive: Neville Teller
The world, fed hints but no details, ends 2018 with Trump’s “deal of the century” – his long-awaited Israel-Palestine peace plan – dangling tantalisingly before them.
Within ten months of his appointment as UN Special Envoy for Yemen, British born Martin Griffiths has succeeded in what has for years been regarded as the near-impossible – bringing the two main protagonists in the Yemen conflict to the negotiating table.
As if the discovery of sophisticated Hezbollah tunnels penetrating into Israel and violating the UN truce terms was not enough of an embarrassment to the Lebanese government, the political situation is deadlocked as well. Hezbollah is also at the centre of that débacle.
On 16 November 2018 Israel entered into a ceasefire arrangement with the de facto rulers of the Gaza strip – Hamas. It seems to be holding.
The dynamics of the Iranian state make for an intriguing case study. Informed observers maintain that two strong internal forces are pursuing irreconcilable political objectives. On the one hand there is the reformist camp, concerned about the people’s welfare and willing to engage with the outside world. On the other, there is the “deep state”, led by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, supported by the powerful IRGC (Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps), dedicated to upholding and strengthening the Islamic Revolution. It is the deep state that has complete dominance over the country’s political affairs, and can exercise its will in defiance…
In mid-October 2018 rumours about Trump’s long-awaited Middle East peace plan were flying around the Israeli media. On the 22nd one TV channel reported a conversation between Donald Trump and the French president, Emmanuel Macron, during which Trump had apparently said that he was prepared to “get tough” if necessary with the Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu.
Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Turkey’s autocratic president, is a past-master at seizing the moment and turning it to his political advantage. The latest example is the Jamal Khashoggi affair, which he has managed masterfully, gaining a steadily increasing advantage over his prime rivals in the Muslim world – Saudi Arabia. But how secure is he against repercussions?
Hamas, Fatah and Israel – three entities locked in an unproductive relationship. Hamas and Fatah may both consider Israel their mortal enemy, but their hatred for each other is just as bitter. Meanwhile Israel may not actively hate the warring Palestinian organizations, but it totally mistrusts both of them and looks on as they strive against each other.
Yemen has become a vast battlefield, the scene of unending armed conflict. As a result the civilian population is now in the throes of what is universally described as “the world’s worst humanitarian disaster.” On the brink of famine, the nation faces mounting rubbish, failing sewerage and wrecked water supplies, all of which have led to the worst cholera outbreak in recent history. The UN reckons three-quarters of Yemen’s 28 million people need some kind of humanitarian aid. What has led to this catastrophic state of affairs? Even more relevant, of course, is what can be done to bring it…