For the Middle Eastern states, the Horn is a second or even third order priority, well below their concerns with Iran, Iraq, Syria and Yemen. In fact, their interest in Africa is an offshoot of these higher concerns. They do not treat African states as equals, not least because African leaders tend to ask for money when they visit. The African Union has come to recognise that it needs an external policy for the “shared space” of the Red Sea. But it approaches the Middle East from a position of relative weakness. The most dramatic illustration of such an imbalance was Libya in 2011 when the Arab states and NATO brushed aside an African Union initiative for a negotiated solution to the war.

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It was our first time in Lebanon. My daughter Anoush, a graduate student in anthropology at UCLA, and I were having breakfast with a Turkish friend, a scholar of the late Ottoman Empire, in Beirut’s beautiful Hotel Bristol. We mentioned that we were planning to visit Jbeil (Byblos) that day to see the old Crusader […]

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By Xiaodon Liang and Sam Perlo-Freeman

From the Introduction:

Talk of corruption in the global arms business conjures up salacious images of personal enrichment. But arms deals produce profits for multiple purposes, not least of which is to keep a political machine running. Greed as a motive for graft captures headlines more readily than ambition […]

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The rules for playing football are well-known and fixed: spectators can reasonably expect 90 minutes of fair play. The rules for running international football organizations are secretive and broken, supplanted by deal-making. Under FIFA’s guidance, the World Cup became defined by corruption, authoritarianism and getting away with as much as you can. When the stench of […]

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