Patrick Cockburn

  • TI always have an emotional jolt when I hear of people administering polio vaccine being murdered in Pakistan or Nigeria. The latest killings were in Kano, in northern Nigeria, earlier this month, when at least nine women health workers were shot dead by gunmen as they prepared to give the oral-drop ...

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  • T Haitians suffer more than most people in the world from poverty, disease, dictatorship, occupation and earthquakes. But for the past century, they have at least been free from cholera.Not any more, thanks to the UN. The disease was carried to the island in 2010 by UN troops from Nepal, where ...

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  • T The year-long effort to overthrow President Bashar al-Assad and his government has failed. Two or three months ago, it seemed to come close to succeeding, as insurgents took over enclaves in cities such as Homs and Deir el-Zour. There was talk of no-fly zones and foreign military ...

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  • TI remember walking into Sabra and Shatila in south Beirut in 1982 just after the massacre of at least 1,700 Palestinians by Christian militiamen loosed on the refugee camps by the Israeli army. There was a sickly smell from the bodies of people that were beginning to bloat as they lay heaped up in ...

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  • T The United States’ announcement that it plans to end the combat role of its troops in Afghanistan earlier than expected, and before the end of next year, is a crucial milestone in the international forces’ retreat from the country. Coming after the French decision to go early, the ...

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  • T The way in which the growing confrontation with Iran is being sold by the US, Israel and West European leaders is deeply dishonest. The manipulation of the media and public opinion through systematic threat exaggeration is similar to the drum beat of propaganda and disinformation about ...

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  • T In the tea houses of Istanbul the mood is generally optimistic as customers listen to the news of the European economic crisis. “Turkey doesn’t need Europe,” says one tea drinker.“Look at Greece – it was inside the European Union and they’re going ...

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  • T Compared with many bombs in Iraq, it was not a big one. I had just arrived in the Al Rashid Hotel in Baghdad on 28 November when there was the an explosion a few hundred yards away in front of the parliament building. I thought at first it must be a rocket or a mortar shell fired from outside the ...

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  • T A wave of bomb explosions sent plumes of smoke into the air across Baghdad, killing 63 and injuring 194 people in the worst violence for months. There is a growing sense of crisis in Iraq as the Shia prime minister Nouri al-Maliki tries to arrest his own Sunni vice president on charges of running ...

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  • TThe US invaded Iraq in 2003 in a show of strength after 9/11 to prove it was the worlds sole superpower. But the war demonstrated that the US did not have the political and military might to determine the future of Iraq. The country that US troops leave behind is badly damaged politically, ...

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  • TIraqis are worried. The last American soldiers leave the country in the next few days and they are waiting to see how the outcome of the struggle for power in Syria will affect them. We are afraid about the future, said a businessman in Baghdad. We are importing goods for two months ahead maximum, ...

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  • TThe detention of 7,000 people in prisons and camps by the anti-Gaddafi forces is not surprising. The conflict in Libya was always much more of a civil war between Libyans than foreign governments pretended or the foreign media reported. The winning anti-Gaddafi militia are not proving merciful. ...

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  • TThe Syrian government looks ever more isolated. The latest blow came on Monday when King Abdullah of Jordan became the first Arab ruler to call for Bashar al-Assad to give up power. King Abdullahs outspokenness is a further sign Syrias neighbours believe his regime cannot survive. Syrias suspension ...

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  • TChinese mandarins in the 19th century were faced with the delicate task of explaining to their emperor the repeated defeats of his armies. To avoid embarrassing questions, they adopted the simple device of describing them all as victories. The British Army has adopted a similar approach in ...

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  • TThe claim that Iran employed a used-car salesman with a conviction for cheque fraud to hire Mexican gangsters to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington goes against all that is known of Irans highly sophisticated intelligence service. The confident announcement of this bizarre plot by the ...

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  • TBahrains military court has sentenced 20 doctors, nurses and paramedics who treated protesters injured during pro-democracy rallies earlier in the year to up to 15 years in prison. The defendants say they were tortured during interrogation to extract false confessions. The harsh sentences, handed ...

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  • TThe political world has turned upside down in the Middle East since the Arab Awakening erupted. The region has been convulsed by the most radical changes since the end of imperial occupation and the foundation of the state of Israel in 1948. One significant development is becoming evident: many ...

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  • TDavid Cameron and Nicolas Sarkozy were careful during their first visit to Libya since the overthrow of Muammar Gaddafi to avoid anything evoking comparisons with President Bushs Mission Accomplished rhetoric after the occupation of Iraq. They know how his imperial arrogance and premature ...

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  • TThe Turkish Prime Minister, Tayyip Erdogan, arrived in Egypt on Tuesday at the start of a three-nation tour as Turkey toughens its stance towards Israel and seeks to become the predominant power among Muslim states in the Middle East and North Africa. After Egypt, Erdogan will visit Tunisia and ...

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  • TThe new rulers of Libya, the Transitional National Council (TNC), have arrived in town. I know this because they just kicked me out of my painfully acquired hotel room when they took over the whole of the eighth floor of the Radisson Blu Hotel where I am staying. My eviction did not elicit much ...

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  • TNato planes are bombing Muammar Gaddafis home town of Sirte, underlining the degree to which Nato fully joined the war against him over the past month. It was the use of highly trained spotters on the ground calling in air strikes on pro-Gaddafi defensive positions and bases which led to the ...

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  • TThe Arab awakening is turning into the Arab nightmare. Instead of ushering in democracy, the uprisings in at least three Arab states are fast becoming vicious civil wars. In the past 10 days, crucial developments in Syria, Libya and Yemen have set these countries spiralling into violent and ...

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  • TThe Syrian army is moving to crush in blood the protesters calling for democracy and the overthrow of President Bashar al-Assad and his regime. Unburied bodies lie in the streets of Deraa, the city in the south which has been at the centre of the popular revolt. Will the government succeed? The ...

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  • TIs a counter-revolutionary tide beginning to favour the strongmen of the Arab world, whose regimes appeared a couple of months ago to be faltering under the impact of the Arab Awakening? From Libya to Bahrain and Syria to Yemen, leaders are clinging on to power despite intense pressure from ...

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  • TThe conflict between pro and anti-Gaddafi forces in Libya could, according to Moussa Koussa, the former Libyan foreign minister, who has fled to Britain, turn the country into another Somalia. The ingredients are certainly there for a prolonged conflict. Claims that Muammar Gaddafi is about to fall ...

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  • TPeople in Benghazi are becoming increasingly frightened of a second attempt by pro-Gaddafi forces to take the city. For all the propaganda slogans about overthrowing the dictator, it is beginning to occur to many that Nato airpower is not quite the recipe for survival and victory they thought it ...

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  • TThe bomb attack on a bus in Jerusalem this week killed one woman and wounded 24 people. The casualties were not high compared with similar bombings in the city over the last 20 years. I lived off the Jaffa Road for four years in the mid-1990s when bus bombings were common. I used to walk to look at ...

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  • TA call for action from the Arab League sounds like a contradiction in terms, given the 22-member organizations reputation for ineffectiveness. Its request for the UN Security Council to impose a no-fly zone over Libya may come too little, too late for the Libyan rebels whose military weakness has ...

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