The Syrian revolution now has to be seen as part of a wider conflict in the region. There is no use just talking about the revolution and the subsequent outbreak of civil war, and then viewing the Turkish-Kurdish war as a separate event, as well as the international effort against ISIS as something different again. All of them are interlinked and overlap.
What do Jose Mourinho, ancient artefacts, and tourism have in common?
At first glance, not much, but on investigation we find that they all play a role in the continuous, if somewhat confused, campaign of propaganda by the Syrian regime leader Bashar al-Assad.
A story that emerged recently, that immediately jumped out at me as somewhat strange, was the news that Jose Mourinho – of Porto, Chelsea, Inter Milan, and Real Madrid fame – had been targeted as the next manager for the Syrian football team.
Not one to shy away from controversy, Mourinho was said to be “honoured” at the approach, but ultimately rejected the job offer.
And whilst the audacious bid to land the “special one” came as a shock, in reality, we should not be too surprised when we see this move in the wider context of Assad’s propaganda machine.
On Saturday 28th November, thousands of protesters gathered in Whitehall to oppose the UK government’s plans to bomb ISIS in Syria.
Stop the War Coalition led proceedings, and though I was not there in person, I have been able to watch numerous videos of the days events.
One video which stands out from the crowd is that showing Tariq Ali’s speech – or at least 15-minutes of it – at the end of the demonstration.
This past week Europe, its media, and its people have finally awoken to the refugee crisis. I am pleased to see that everyone has had their peaceful lives interrupted, but I am disappointed that it has taken so long for this to be so.
The heartbreaking images of Aylan Kurdi, the three-year-old Kurdish refugee who drowned whilst trying to reach Turkey, have rocked the world and seemingly shattered public apathy towards refugees and migrants. UK Prime Minister David Cameron has been forced to U-turn on his disgusting attitude to deny helping those trying to reach the shores of the UK, and it seems that in every city and every community ordinary people are mobilising to do what they can to help those fleeing countries in the Middle East and north Africa.
The grassroots response has been phenomenal. It is a beacon of hope for humanity in what may well be its darkest hour since World War Two. Taking matters into their own hands, people have gathered, organised, and mobilised, often in direct conflict with the policies of their government, in order to help the desperate people in need of our support.