The UN: failing the Rohingyas?

The UN: failing the Rohingyas?   More than 500,000 Rohingya have fled Myanmar “The government knows how to use us and to manipulate us and they keep on doing it – we never learn. And we can never stand up to them because we can’t upset the government.” The parallels between the UN’s performance in Myanmar and Sri Lanka (not to mention Syria) have struck me for some time. This damming BBC report simply made them more explicit. A leaked internal report on the UN’s performance in Myanmar,  quoted here, gets to the nub of the problem when it concludes:… More

(Another) Sri Lanka Book Review

(Another) Sri Lanka Book Review Here’s a new – and as it happens, rather complimentary – review of my Sri Lanka book by noted academic and South Asian regional specialist Neil De Votta, originally published in the Asian Security journal and now reproduced in the Colombo Telegraph. All in all an  informative read. Colombo Telegraph, September 26, 2017 Civil War & The Quest For Transitional Justice In Sri Lanka By Neil DeVotta Dr. Neil DeVotta Mark Salter, To End a Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka (London: Hurst & Company, 2015). 512 pages. Ahmed S. Hashim, When Counterinsurgency… More

Brexit’s murky underbelly: increasing arms sales to repressive regimes

Brexit’s murky underbelly: increasing arms sales to repressive regimes An exploded shell in Sana’a. The UN estimates that more than 1,000 children have been killed in Yemen during the three-year conflict, most in airstrikes by the Saudi military coalition. Photograph: Mohamed Al-Sayaghi/Reuters   On the back of Brexit, new research by the Campaign Against The Arms Trade (CAAT) points to the fact the UK government is working hard to boost arms sales. And to anyone and everyone – dictators and ruthless regimes such as Saudi Arabia included. An article detailing CAAT’s findings, published in yesterday’s (10 Sept 2017) UK Observer,… More

Rohingya Resources

Rohingya Resources My publisher Hurst released this book on Myanmar’s #Rohingya Mulsim minority a year back. In the light of current developments it appears to be increasingly required reading. The Rohingyas

New Sri Lanka Book Review

New Sri Lanka Book Review This just in from Shweta Singh, Assistant Professor at the South Asian University, Delhi: For those of you interested in the politics of Sri Lanka, here is my take on Mark Salter’s book ‘To End A Civil War: Norway’s Peace Engagement with Sri Lanka’ in the Asian Studies Review! To end a civil war; Norway’s peace engagement in Sri Lanka by Mark Salter, London, C. Hurst & Co. Ltd., 2015, 531 pp., £25.00 (paperback) Mark Salter’s To End a Civil War; Norway’s Peace Engagement in Sri Lanka brings to the fore the “story of the… More

Should Aung San Suu Kyi keep her Nobel peace prize?

 Should Aung San Suu Kyi keep her Nobel peace prize? Strong argument from the UK Guardian columnist George Monbiot for a move that would definitely prove anathema among many both in Myanmar and abroad. Strip Aung San Suu Kyi  of her Nobel Prize on account of her signal failure to take a stand against the persecution of the Rohingya in Myanmar today. And even worse, as some see it, her implicit endorsement of Buddhist nationalist anti-Rohingya prejudices and alleged complicity in the crimes against humanity being visited on hapless Rohingya civilians. Aung San Suu Kyi: ‘It is hard to think… More

The Secret History of the Banking Crisis

The Secret History of the Banking Crisis Riveting, accessible account of the 2008 financial crisis and the hush-hush ‘swapline’ system between the US Fed and a select coterie of European central banks put in place to contain it (remains with us today). Will Trump get round to disrupting it? And just as importantly, will it ever become the subject of politcal, ideally democratic scrutiny and discussion? Published in the August 2017 edition of Prospect. The secret history of the banking crisis Accounts of the financial crisis leave out the story of the secretive deals between banks that kept the show… More

Canada’s approach to immigration: how (and why) it works

Canada’s approach to immigration: how (and why) it works Good, balanced analysis of Canada’s approach to immigration – and the lessons it holds for Brexit Britian (and indeed other EU countries) – the September issue of Prospect. As one of the Canadian experts citex argues with reference to the fact that without increased immigration, the UK will age rapidly: “You are going to wake up with unbelievable problems. If you don’t have a strategy around this, your social programmes—education, health—are going to collapse. Through our immigration system we’re solving our economy in 2030 and beyond. You need to think long-term…. More

Scotland: Normal nation, neurotic neighbour

Here’s a brilliant piece from veteran writer and commentator Neal Ascherson on the age-old problématique of Anglo-Scottish relations. Required pre-election reading both north and south of the border. Scotland: Normal nation, neurotic neighbour The Union has been in decline for decades. The root problem is not turbulent Scots, it is a very English failure to develop a healthy nationalism south of the border by Neal Ascherson / April 7, 2017 Published in May 2017 issue of Prospect Magazine “As the quarrel between Theresa May and Nicola Sturgeon grows ruder… it’s time to think about nationalism” ©ANDREW MILLIGAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES  I was… More

Pachyderm Paradise

Pachyderm Paradise Here’s the venerable decorated elephant – tusker as it’s known locally – fronting the procession at this year’s Navam Perahera festival in Colombo. Organized by the Gangaramaya Temple, a local landmark, and held during the February poya (full moon), the event always draws a sizeable and enthusiastic crowd.