It’s Still About The Oil

  The Iraq war was always about oil. The ISIS extremists who are trying to seize control of the country’s largest refinery know that. Everyone was braced for the battle for Baghdad. But first they went after the oil. Just like the Americans. In 2003, when Baghdad was a chaos of looting, the one thing the Americans secured was the Oil Ministry. Because oil is power. If all you’ve got is a cave on a mountain side somewhere in Afghanistan, you have to do something really big to … [Read more...]

Looking for the New Iron Curtain in the Second Cold War

When I was 15 years old I went on a school trip to the Soviet Union. As well as Moscow and what was then Leningrad, we were supposed to visit Lithuania--only the Baltic republic declared its independence and seceded just before we arrived, so our itinerary was hastily rearranged, and we were bundled on a plane to Latvia instead. We arrived in the capital, Riga, to find it in the grip of independence protests of its own. Huge crowds were marching on the streets outside out hotel, demanding … [Read more...]

Wikileaks: the World’s Worst Travel Agency

So, is Ed Snowden going to make it out of Moscow airport? As I write, he is still holed up in the transit section, a month on from his hopeful arrival, waiting for some paperwork that will let him enter Russia. That's a pretty poor result, given he never wanted to enter Russia in the first place. He must be wishing he'd never travelled with Wikileaks, the world's worst travel agency. Want to fly from Hong Kong to sunny Venezuela? Fly Wikileaks, and you'll get to spend a month in Moscow … [Read more...]