My appologies for the long absence. I've found a job, and have become (all be it temporarily) the one thing I never ever wanted to be: a Middle East analyst. In particular, I'm focussing on Iraq, with some attention also paid to Jordan, Iran, Syria and Afghanistan. What can I say: Iraq is a fascinating country, and as much as ME politics is still frustrating headache-inducing stuff, this kind of international analysis is way too much fun.
I did want to react a bit to the London bombings yesterday. I was younger and less politically active when 9-11 hit, though it certainly had a profound effect. However, I think the London attacks were almost a second 9-11 for me. I spent last semester studying in Oxford, and I've been through two of the tube stations hit yesterday. I spent a lot of time, especially after I got back, complaining about the Brits and their crampt streets and, among the English, stuffy-seeming reserve. Still, they are a people proud of their history (and not without reason) and they are our cousins, in political heritage at least. The question of what the British will do now has been a hot topic over here, bandied about by far wiser heads than mine. Still, for myself, I think they will try to go on as before. I had a chance to visit the British War Museum when I was there, and saw an exhibit there on the British people's attempt to deal with the Blitz. It seemed to me then, that they were mostly eager to carry on and live as normally as possible. I think this is what their descendants will do as well. And I am optimistic that they will not buckle as did the Spanish. The British are proud of what their empire once was, even if they are afflicted with the same post-colonial guilt as most westerners. This combined with the British stoicism which I found so frustrating at times gives me a certain amount of hope that they will soldier on, for a little while at least. Whether they'll go with us until the war is over, or whether even the US has the stomach to continue this far, is anyone's guess.