James Snell

James Snell is a senior advisor for special initiatives at the New Lines Institute for Strategy and Policy

Sudan’s dreams of democracy appear to be over

Fighting is raging once again in Khartoum, the capital of Sudan, where a power struggle between rival factions has claimed the lives of hundreds of people. Around 185 people have been killed and more than 1,800 injured in the wake of an attempted coup. A US diplomatic convoy came under fire yesterday and the EU’s

Why the world shouldn’t ignore the brutal war in Burma

It is a bad cliché, of several decades’ vintage, to say that a given civil war is ‘complex’. Normally, this is a dodge on the foreign correspondent’s part. He either wishes to hide his lack of knowledge from you, or to pretend that without him holding the reader’s hand, they could never hope to understand the

Netanyahu’s war on lawyers has thrown Israel into turmoil

Chaos reigns in Israel, a country in the throes of an ad hoc general strike called by trade unions, university students, numerous industries across the country, and many military and civil defence reservists. Demonstrators are storming buildings and fighting the police. Some council leaders say they are beginning a hunger strike. If you wanted to fly into

Benjamin Netanyahu has made his troubles even worse

Israeli politics is rarely quiet, but recent events have taken the drama and volubility to another level. The country has faced 11 weeks of protests against the make-up of Israel’s governing coalition and reforms to the country’s judicial system. Hundreds of thousands of people have taken to the streets. Roads have been blocked. The Knesset and

Is Taiwan’s support really ebbing away?

Taiwan has lost another friend. Or at least it soon will, according to the president of Honduras, Xiomara Castro. She says her country will formally withdraw its diplomatic recognition of Taiwan, in favour of recognising China. If this happens, it will leave only 13 countries (and the Holy See) who recognise Taiwan as independent and

Why has the West allowed Tunisia to slip into dictatorship?

Tunisia has become a police state. This has not happened overnight. But it is still a shocking reversal in democratic development.  This is the country whose former dictator was overthrown in a few days in 2011. His was the first scalp claimed by the Arab revolutions of that year. But where the tyrant Zine El Abidine

Saudi Arabia must not bring Syria’s Assad in from the cold

Saudi Arabia’s foreign minister has said the quiet part out loud when it comes to his country’s attitude towards Syria. Faisal bin Farhan Al-Saud told the Munich Security Conference that the ‘maximalist goals’ of the past in confronting Assad’s regime were no longer tenable: [We are] going to have to go through a dialogue with the government in Damascus at some point, in a

The charm of Volodymyr Zelensky

Ukraine’s president, Volodymyr Zelensky, is in Britain for a surprise visit. ‘Freedom will win – we know Russia will lose,’ he told a joint session of Parliament in Westminster Hall this afternoon.  This address is the first he has given in Westminster since a video message in March 2022, when the situation for his country was vastly grimmer

Syria might never recover from the devastation of this earthquake

Natural disaster always worst affects those who have already lost so much. And so it is in Turkey and Syria, where a double earthquake has killed more than 1,900 people. Across both countries, there are widespread scenes of destruction: apartment blocks reduced to rubble; gas supplies cut off in the middle of a freezing winter;

Is Isis to blame for the Pakistan mosque bombing?

The Islamic State may have been driven out of its capitals in Iraq’s Mosul and Syria’s Raqqa but that doesn’t mean it has disappeared. In the Philippines, West Africa, and most obviously in Afghanistan, the terror group is thriving. Isis’s tentacles have also spread to Pakistan. Over the weekend, in Peshawar, a terrible bombing took place in

A Third Intifada looms in Israel

Peace has never seemed further away for Israel, the West Bank and Gaza. Several dreadful incidents recently have made that point sadly obvious. The most vicious was a terrorist attack: a horrific shooting in which seven people were killed and many injured outside a Jerusalem synagogue on Friday. We don’t know the organisational affiliation of the attacker,

Ukraine is paying a heavy price for Nato’s dithering

It is winter in Ukraine. The ground is frozen and hard. Groups of soldiers on both sides struggle in the cold. The Ukrainians insist they have one advantage over the Russians: their soldiers, unlike mobilised Russian troops, have some effective winter clothing.   Traditionally, armies stop moving in winter. They hunker down. It’s less true in

Gina Lollobrigida and the changing face of fame

Gina Lollobrigida, who died this week at the age of 95, was known in the 1950s and thereafter for the kind of beauty which drove Italian men to self-destruction; and for performances in films which seemed to define a scrappy, energetic, self-possessed Italian womanhood.   During her career, ‘La Lollo’ sculpted, took photographs, did a little journalism

Germany has no excuse for not sending tanks to Ukraine

When a man is in a hole, he is best advised to stop digging. When a German chancellor is in a hole, by contrast, he seems to think it his duty to chide others for failing to dig their own. So it is with Olaf Scholz, Germany’s increasingly ridiculous chancellor.   Scholz lost a defence minister

Is Germany’s defence minister up to the job?

After yesterday’s abrupt and humiliating departure of Germany’s defence minister, Christine Lambrecht, beleaguered chancellor Olaf Scholz has today appointed her replacement. If you were expecting a stellar appointment, prepare to be disappointed. If, however, you have followed Scholz’s pilgrim’s progress on the war in Ukraine closely, then you can enjoy the sensation of your low expectations

Is this the real reason Russia is trying to seize Bakhmut from Ukraine?

Bakhmut is not of immense strategic importance. It’s a backwater, empty of almost all civilian life, and largely in ruins. But the city is where Ukraine’s war of self-defence has been at its most intense for months.  The defenders are suffering, under a hail of artillery fire and under constant threat of attack. But the Russians are losing more. Almost

America’s flip flopping has exacerbated Venezuela’s tragedy

Amid New Year celebrations, and a tide of high-profile obituaries, you might have missed something small and far away, but nonetheless significant. The opposition in Venezuela has dissolved its government-in-pretence. By 72 votes to 29, the country’s national assembly voted its parallel government out of existence.   Juan Guaidó can no longer say that he is Venezuela’s legitimate president-in-waiting. Venezuela

Russia can stop the Ukrainian drone strikes. It can end the war

Almost as soon as the war in Ukraine began, strange things started to happen in Russia. Buildings connected to the country’s military and its war effort caught fire, saboteurs were suspected – and occasionally caught, according to state TV – and recently, air bases quite far away from Ukraine have started to blow up.  All