Douglas Davis

Meet the new boss

On my first visit to Egypt, soon after Hosni Mubarak succeeded the assassinated Anwar Sadat as president, a cruel joke was circulating among Cairo’s cognoscenti. ‘When Nasser came to power, he looked around for the most stupid member of his party and appointed Sadat as vice president. When Sadat came to power, he looked around

Out of the east

If the test of the Arab Spring was its treatment of minorities, it has failed. Hopes that the region was poised to make the transition to liberal democracy have proved to be premature, trampled under the boots of the ethno-religious cleansers. The old-style corrupt despots have metastasised into even older-style Islamist xenophobes. The Arab world,

Syria’s family business

In the absence of free speech, a free media and other political mod-cons in Syria, Hafez al-Assad and then his son Bashar cultivated the convenient habit of transacting business in the shadows, advancing and protecting — brutally, when necessary — the interests of the family and their fellow Alawites. But Damascus has always remained alive

Who is Goldstone to judge?

When Israeli tanks and troops rolled into Gaza in December 2007, there was no doubt about the outcome of the conflict. Nor was there any doubt about who would be held responsible for using disproportionate force and deliberately harming civilians. Never mind that Israel was responding to years of rocket bombardments from Gaza on its

The terrible warning of a Holocaust survivor

At my dinner table on Friday night, a holocaust survivor admits that she is trying to persuade her son to take his family out of Europe to America, Canada, Australia, Canada, Australia, Israel…’They say they can’t leave me, but I tell them: “Go, get out. My parents left my grandparents behind in Berlin and brought

Moderate Arab states need Israel to succeed

Pity the international diplomats. Hardly back from their Christmas break, they were plunged into yet another dizzying round of declamations and démarches over a fresh bout of Israeli misbehaviour, this time in Gaza. By midweek, diplomacy had achieved a partial success when Israel agreed to a daily pause for the distribution of humanitarian supplies. But

We came so close to World War Three that day

A meticulously planned, brilliantly executed surgical strike by Israeli jets on a nuclear installation in Syria on 6 September may have saved the world from a devastating threat. The only problem is that no one outside a tight-lipped knot of top Israeli and American officials knows precisely what that threat involved. Even more curious is

Bush’s exit strategy: cut and run – but not too far

More than four years after the American-led invasion of Iraq, there are signs that George W. Bush is preparing to call it quits. When the Americans disbanded the Iraqi army in 2003 and left the borders wide open they sowed the seeds of disaster. Neither the ‘coalition of the willing’ nor even the recent ‘surge’ could put Humpty together again.

Israel will do whatever it takes

Douglas Davis says that the Israelis are considering the nuclear option in response to President Ahmadinejad’s threat to ‘wipe Israel off the map’. An attack could be launched early this year Within the next 12 months, the Americans or the Israelis, possibly both, are likely to launch military strikes aimed at crippling Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

This is only time out

During the recent conflict between Israel and Hezbollah, Jews were enjoined to recite Psalm 83. ‘Your foes are in uproar, and those who hate you have raised their head. They say, “Come let us cut them off from nationhood so Israel’s name will not be remembered anymore.” For they take counsel together unanimously … the

Will Jordan be the new Palestine?

Douglas Davis says that George W. Bush’s drive for global democracy may hand the Hashemite kingdom over to Hamas If unintended consequences are the progeny of political activism, then the fate of King Abdullah of Jordan is a lesson to us all. The West’s best friend in the Arab world is now the region’s most

Lawless in Gaza

Douglas Davis says that Ariel Sharon’s wisest decision was his last one — to pull out of the anarchic terrorist hothouse of Gaza As the dominating presence of Ariel Sharon recedes from the public stage, his lasting legacy is likely to be not his military exploits but his final major political act: unilateral withdrawal from

Diary – 14 October 2005

If you’re thinking of moving to Sydney, forget it. That slice of unsolicited advice was offered when I made my third visit in little more than a year. The idea of actually settling in Sydney has never crossed my mind, but for those who are contemplating such a move the advice is sage stuff. Sydney

United in hate

Politics makes strange bedfellows. Stranger still when the odd couple are fundamentalist Islam and the secular Left. The evolving Black–Red alliance is growing in France, Germany and Belgium. But, based on the successful British model, it is now going global to declare war on the war on terror. No fewer than three international conferences have

Prince of peace

Prince Hassan bin Talal is the almost-man. After 34 years as heir-apparent to Jordan’s Hashemite throne, the crown was snatched away in 1999 by his dying brother, King Hussein, and handed to his son, the present King Abdullah II. Never mind; Hassan has other fish to fry. And so I visit the direct descendant of

Anti-Semitic studies

Pay attention, Professor. If you support the proposed academic boycott of Israel — and if you are to remain intellectually honest — prepare for a radical lifestyle change. Firstly, unplug your computer. Good. Now switch off your interactive digital television set. Well done. And now throw away your mobile phone. Excellent. You see, Professor, these

The deadly threat of a nuclear Iran

Douglas Davis reveals new evidence that Tehran intends to use nuclear weapons against Israel, and argues that the mullahs’ nuclear facilities must be destroyed The Middle East is on the brink of going nuclear, and the rest of the world is fiddling or looking the other way. The United States is draining its energies in

Biological warfare

The moment has come for the long queue of diplomatic high-wire artists to bite the bullet: there is no immediate prospect of peace between Israel and the Palestinians. No matter how much Tony Blair huffs and Jack Straw puffs, the painful reality is that the Middle East ‘road-map’ is destined to join the slew of

Tony Blair’s Syrian connection

Tony Blair has staked much of his personal and political prestige on attempting to tame the young Syrian President, Bashar Assad. His hard work has been rewarded with embarrassment and humiliation. When the Prime Minister visited Damascus in October 2001, preaching a message of sweet reason and an end to violence, he was forced to