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Category: International

  • August 30, 2013

    Syria Vote

    Last night, the Commons debated and was asked to vote on a motion, pasted below in full, concerning Syria. At the beginning of the week, it had appeared that the Commons would be asked whether or not to condone military action in Syria by the UK, something I would not have supported the government on. […]
  • August 28, 2013

    The complexity of locating Britain’s national interest in the Middle East

    The West’s tacit support of the military overthrow in early July of Egypt’s first Islamist president will have stark implications in the years ahead for our diplomatic relationships within the Middle East and beyond. The UK’s own Foreign Office still talks up the “Arab Spring” when in truth the idealistic enthusiasm of early 2011 that […]
  • June 5, 2013

    Forget the British Empire – Syria’s fate is not ours to determine

    Mark had the following piece published this morning by the Daily Telegraph. To read it online, here Anyone listening to recent reports on the alleged use of chemical weapons by the Assad government in Syria would no doubt have uttered to themselves that familiar conclusion, ‘Something must be done’. As tales from Syria get bloodier […]
  • January 21, 2013

    The first skirmish of many?

    Thankfully few people have to endure the unimaginable terror that beset our nation’s hostages and waiting relatives as the Amenas gas plant siege dragged on last week. In a world of relentlessly demanding 24/7 media coverage, the frustration of senior government ministers was palpable as unreliable, piecemeal information trickled through from Algeria. Whilst today’s attention […]
  • November 5, 2012

    European Travails Ahead

    Mark appeared on BBC Radio 4’s Westminster Hour on Sunday 4 November (click here to listen) to discuss the government’s defeat on the EU budget vote. Now that the dust has settled, here are a few of his thoughts on what this means for our future relationship with Europe. David Cameron finds himself in an […]
  • October 14, 2012

    How rent-a-mob jihadis are tormenting a benighted Christian minority in Bashar al-Assad’s Syria

    Mark wrote the following article for the Independent. It can be read online by clicking here In January 1945, my mother, too young even for school, joined millions of other ethnic Germans fleeing westwards from Breslau as the Red Army advanced. My forefathers had lived in this region of Silesia (German since 1242) for at […]
  • May 31, 2012

    A worrying sequel to the Arab Spring

    The global media circus has moved on from Cairo, Alexandria and the Egyptian seaboard. Soon the current rapt attention to the terrible bloodshed in Damascus, Houla, Aleppo and Homs will similarly pass. Yet for the nine million Egyptian Coptic Christians and the two million Syrian followers of Christ, whose lineage goes back to St Paul’s proselytising in the first century AD, these are desperate times. Religious minorities often find their most assured protection under dictatorships. Forget all the talk about liberators fighting against the existing regime in Syria, or of democrats and progressives triumphantly taking the reins in Egypt...
  • June 24, 2011

    Making the case for overseas aid

    Few Tory MPs attending constituency events nowadays avoid being buttonholed – often by the most Conservative-minded person present – and harangued about the government’s stance on overseas aid. Not so long ago we were typically being swamped by campaign emails imploring government to commit 0.7% of GDP to overseas aid. These days the usual line is: I am appalled that the government is increasing the aid budget while cutting elsewhere. Why are we giving money to the likes of India, which has a space programme, and African countries, where the fruits .
  • May 30, 2011

    Visit to Azerbaijan

    Mark is currently the Chairman of the All Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) on Azerbaijan and in Whitsun recess, led a delegation of MPs and members of the House of Lords to Baku, Azerbaijan’s capital city. The UK is the largest Western investor in Azerbaijan and the APPG is keen to strengthen relations between our two nations. Whilst Azerbaijan is known primarily for its reserves of oil and gas, the... .
  • May 5, 2011

    The battle to restore trust and credibility in the Middle East

    The violent death of Osama bin Laden at the hands of US forces on the first day of the month in some respects neatly closes the final chapter of a decade-long story. Journalistic speculation aside, it is impossible yet to grasp the wider consequences. Bin Laden’s potency may for some years have been symbolic rather than operational. But his death provides an equally symbolic victory to the United States as a pictorial counterpart to the iconic image of passenger jets piercing the Twin Towers. .