The Unz Review - Mobile
A Collection of Interesting, Important, and Controversial Perspectives Largely Excluded from the American Mainstream Media
Show by  
Email This Page to Someone

 Remember My Information



=>
 BlogviewPatrick Cockburn Archive
/
CounterPunch

Bookmark Toggle AllToCAdd to LibraryRemove from Library • BShow CommentNext New CommentNext New ReplyRead More
ReplyAgree/Disagree/Etc. More... This Commenter This Thread Hide Thread Display All Comments
AgreeDisagreeLOLTroll
These buttons register your public Agreement, Disagreement, Troll, or LOL with the selected comment. They are ONLY available to recent, frequent commenters who have saved their Name+Email using the 'Remember My Information' checkbox, and may also ONLY be used once per hour.
Ignore Commenter Follow Commenter
Father and Son Discuss Battling Mental Illness and the Art It Inspires
My son Henry was diagnosed with schizophrenia when he was a 20-year-old art student in Brighton in 2002. He had tried to swim across the estuary at Newhaven that February and was rescued from the freezing water by fishermen and taken to hospital, unconscious and suffering from hypothermia. Henry was sectioned a year later and... Read More
On 22 May, Ahmed Mohsen, an unemployed taxi driver, left his house in the Islamic State-controlled western part of Mosul to try to escape across the Tigris to the government-held eastern side of the city. He and his mother, along with ten other people, carried rubber tyres down to the river: most of them couldn’t... Read More
Melting Hopes
The image of the Libyan revolution in 2011 was something of a fabrication in which the decisive role of Nato air power was understated. The same may be true of the counter-revolution in Libya that is being ushered in by ex-general Kalifa Hifter’s slow-motion coup which gathered support last week but without making a decisive... Read More
The Latest Round
Saudi Arabia intends to close the local office of the Qatari-owned al Jazeera satellite television station in the latest episode in the escalating conflict in which the Saudis, United Arab Emirates and Bahrain are in confrontation with Qatar, say local media. At the heart of the dispute is Qatar’s backing for the Muslim Brotherhood, which... Read More
Lessons From the Kidnapping of Ali Zeidan
Seldom has the failure of a state been so openly and humiliatingly confirmed as happened in Libya last week with the brief kidnapping the Prime Minister Ali Zeidan from his hotel in Tripoli by a militia allied to the government and without a shot being fired. Despite his swift release, the message is very clear:... Read More
Nearly 500,000 Iraqis Died in the War
An additional half million Iraqis died because of war and occupation between 2003 and 2011 according a new survey based on more rigorous research than those carried out in the past. The study, which is the result of a collaboration between researchers from the US, Canada and Iraq, estimates that 460,800 more Iraqis died during... Read More
shutterstock_141133117
A Diary of Four Wars
The four wars fought in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and Syria over the past 12 years have all involved overt or covert foreign intervention in deeply divided countries. In each case the involvement of the West exacerbated existing differences and pushed hostile parties towards civil war. In each country, all or part of the opposition have... Read More
A Region in Turmoil
A little under two years ago, Philip Hammond, the Defence Secretary, urged British businessmen to begin “packing their suitcases” and to fly to Libya to share in the reconstruction of the country and exploit an anticipated boom in natural resources. Yet now Libya has almost entirely stopped producing oil as the government loses control of... Read More
An Interview With Syria's Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal Mekdad
Damascus. Syria is convinced the US cannot control the rebel groups it is arming and will be unable to get them to declare a ceasefire that would be central to any successful peace talks, says the country’s Deputy Foreign Minister. This puts a further obstacle in the way of negotiations in Geneva proposed by the... Read More
Dangerous Inaccuracies
Damascus. Every time I come to Syria I am struck by how different the situation is on the ground from the way it is pictured in the outside world. The foreign media reporting of the Syrian conflict is surely as inaccurate and misleading as anything we have seen since the start of the First World... Read More
An Atmosphere Poisoned By Fear
Homs, Syria. Khalid is too frightened of travelling the 100 miles from Homs to Damascus to ask officials if they know what happened to his three sons, who disappeared 16 months ago as government troops over-ran the rebel stronghold of Baba Amr. He has not heard anything from them since and does not know if... Read More
Local Ceasefires in Syria
Damascus. Once a rebel stronghold, the town of Tal Kalakh on the Syrian side of the border with Lebanon changed sides at the week-end and is now controlled by the Syrian army. The switch in allegiance is the latest advance by government forces into areas where they have had little or no authority since the... Read More
The Life and Death of Ghassan al-Khouly
Damascus. The second of two mortar bombs killed Ghassan al-Khouly as he stood guard last Thursday at an ancient gate into the Christian quarter of the Old City of Damascus. It exploded right beside him killing him instantly, dark bloodstains and a small heap of stones today marking where he died. Barakat al-Shamas who was... Read More
New Hope for Syrian Rebels?
Damascus. As representatives of 11 countries supporting the Syrian rebels met in Qatar over the weekend pledging to supply them with arms, Syrian military officers in the recaptured town of Qusayr expressed confidence that rebels will never be able to retake their old stronghold. The rebel defeat at Qusayr – south of Homs and close... Read More
Dispatch From Damascus
Damascus. The boom of outgoing artillery fire no longer makes people in Damascus glance up from their work or interrupt their conversation even for a moment. After a year of fighting, it is a background noise so familiar that nobody refers to the thunderous sounds even though they show that the battle for the capital... Read More
Why Only an All-Out War Can Depose Assad.
Syria is close to following Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya as the target of a major Western military intervention. It certainly looks that way after the American decision last week to send weapons to the rebels in a move that can only deepen the conflict. The supposed aim of the United States arms supply is to... Read More
Little Evidence Any Lessons Learned
It was a debate which seemed to dance around the main issue. The six-hour discussion on the British decision to go to war against Iraq in 2003 often focussed on issues such as the evidence – or lack of it – that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction (WMD) or what the head of... Read More
Why the West and the Sunni Monarchies Want the Fuel the War
The best hope for an end to the killing in Syria is for the United States and Russia to push both sides in the conflict to agree a ceasefire in which each holds the territory it currently controls. In a civil war of such savagery, diplomacy with any ambition to determine who holds power in... Read More
arindambanerjee / Shutterstock.com
A War No One is Winning
For the first two years of the Syrian civil war foreign leaders regularly predicted that Bashar al-Assad’s government would fall any day. In November 2011, King Abdullah of Jordan said that the chances of Assad’s surviving were so slim he ought to step down. In December last year, Anders Rasmussen, the Nato secretary general, said:... Read More
Chaos in the Ranks
Syrian rebel groups have strongly criticised their political leadership outside Syria, saying it has no real connection to the rebellion and calling for half of its members to be drawn from fighters inside the country. The rebuke follows a chaotic week for the Syrian National Coalition (SNC) and is likely to further undermine the standing... Read More
Civil War Looms Over Iraq
As Iraq edges closer to all-out sectarian civil war, with 400 people killed so far this month, Najmaldin Karim, governor of one of the country's most violent provinces, is pessimistic about the ability of the government in Baghdad to prevent greater turmoil. "This government is incapable," he says. "It likes to live from crisis to... Read More
Sunni Move Closer to Armed Rebellion
Iraq is edging closer to all-out sectarian war between Sunni and Shia Muslims as a series of car bombings and shootings killed at least 90 people and left many others injured. Casualty figures are returning to a level not seen since the civil war of 2006-7. Most of the car bombings targeted markets, bus stops... Read More
Why the Claims of Sarin Gas Don't Add Up
'I am not afraid of anything except for God and poison gas," said an Iraqi officer who had fought in the Iran-Iraq war. "It's like a ghost. You have no defence against it." Though not a target of poison gas as a member of the army using it, he knew what it did to its... Read More
Ominous Similarities Between Syria and Iraq
In the aftermath of the First World War, Britain and France famously created the modern Middle East by carving up what had been the Ottoman Empire. The borders of new states such as Iraq and Syria were determined in keeping with British and French needs and interests. The wishes of local inhabitants were largely ignored.... Read More
PKK Militants Retreat to Iraqi Mountains After Deal with Turkish Government
On Wednesday, some 2,000 Turkish Kurd guerrillas will begin their withdrawal from Turkey to an inaccessible mountain stronghold in northern Iraq. Moving in small groups, the fighters will take one to two months to retreat, assuming the Turkish army sticks to a de facto ceasefire, says a leader of the Turkish Kurd rebel movement, the... Read More
Why Iraq May be Worse Than Syria
Iraqi leaders fear that the country is sliding rapidly into a new civil war which “will be worse than Syria”. Baghdad residents are stocking up on rice, vegetables and other foodstuffs in case they are prevented from getting to the shops by fighting or curfews. “It is wrong to say we are getting close to... Read More
Iraqi Army Losing Hold on North to Sunni and Kurdish Rebels as Troops Desert
Soldiers are deserting a beleaguered Iraqi army as it struggles to keep its hold on the northern half of Iraq in the face of escalating hostility from Sunni Arabs and Kurds who dominate in the region. Around the oil city of Kirkuk Kurdish troops have advanced south to take over military positions abandoned by the... Read More
Cyprus's Foreign Residents are Only the Latest to Watch Their Dreams of a Better Life Turn Sour
I lived in Cyprus a year after the Turkish invasion of 1974 and shared a flat in Nicosia with a retired Greek Cypriot teacher. He turned out to be a fervent supporter of the underground nationalist group Eoka B, once led by General Grivas, which sought unity between Cyprus and Greece. The schoolteacher was a... Read More
The Shia and the Kurds 10 Years After the Invasion
Iraq is the first Arab country to be ruled by a Shia government since Saladin overthrew the Fatimids in Egypt in 1171. But Shia rule is deeply troubled, and Shia leaders have been unable to share power in a stable way that satisfies the Sunni, the Kurds and even the Shia community. This is not... Read More
Syrian Uprising Emboldens Iraq's Minority Population
“Iraq or Maliki! Iraq or Maliki!” shout Sunni Arab demonstrators as they block roads in western Iraq in protest against Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and discrimination against their community. Demonstrations by Sunni, in their tens of thousands, began with the arrest of the bodyguards of a Sunni politician on 20 December and are still continuing.... Read More
A Government of Institutionalize Klepocracy
Iraqis are not naïve. Grim experience of their country’s rulers over the past 50 years leads many to suspect them of being self-serving, greedy, brutal, and incompetent. Ten years ago, some had hoped Iraqis might escape living in a permanent state of emergency as the US and Britain prepared to overthrow Saddam Hussein. Others were... Read More
Betrayal in Baghdad
It is 10 years since the start of the war in Iraq which led to the toppling of Saddam Hussein. The diplomatic map of the world has been redrawn as a consequence. Inquiry after inquiry has studied the legality of the conflict. Political reputations have been made and lost. But what of the country itself?... Read More
Boom and Stress in Kurdistan
The Kurds of Iraq are the big winners in the 10 years since the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. They have also been lucky. Up to a few weeks before the invasion in 2003, the US was intending to invade northern Iraq from Turkey, along with 40,000 Turkish troops. The Kurds were horrified at this, suspecting... Read More
The Sunni Revolt Is Growing
Baghdad. The civil war in Syria is destabilising Iraq as it changes the balance of power between the country's communities. The Sunni minority in Iraq, which two years ago appeared defeated, has long been embittered and angry at discrimination against it by a hostile state. Today, it is emboldened by the uprising of the Syrian... Read More
Murder Levels Drop, Floods of Raw Sewage on the Rise
Baghdad. Torrential rain caused floods all over Baghdad last week. It was not a pleasant sight: as the city's ageing sewage system failed to cope, streets filled with murky grey water that smelled and looked as if it was heavily polluted with raw sewage. Upriver, the Tigris rose 15 feet in five hours, the highest... Read More
The Tuareg Insurgency
It was always probable that French military intervention in Mali would have explosive consequences in other parts of the region. Even so, it is surprising that a splinter group from al-Qa'ida in the Islamic Maghreb (AQIM) should have been able to react so quickly by seizing hostages at the gas field facility at In Amenas... Read More
The Bloody Toll Mounts in Iraq
A suicide bomber killed 21 people and wounded 170 in an attack in northern Iraq today, in a sign that the shift of al-Qa’ida militants to Syria is not leading to a reduction in their activities in Iraq. Shoppers and police helped drag injured survivors from ruined buildings and wrecked vehicles after the huge blasts... Read More
The West's Strange Bedfellows
It is a ferocious war waged by assassination, massacre, imprisonment and persecution that has killed tens of thousands of people. But non-Muslims – and many Muslims – scarcely notice this escalating conflict that pits Shia minority against Sunni majority. The victims of the war in recent years are mostly Shia. Last week a suicide bomber... Read More
Many Conflicts Rolled Into One
"Shame on you!" boomed the voice of a Syrian intellectual in my phone half an hour after I had returned from Damascus to Beirut. He was so incoherent in his rage that it was difficult to know his precise objections, but my sin seemed to be that I had been in Damascus, talked to members... Read More
Persecution of the Christians
Maloula, Syria. Two masked men armed with Kalashnikov assault rifles tried to kidnap a businessman called George Alumeh in the ancient Christian town of Maloula, north-west of Damascus, last week. It was not the first kidnap attempt on richer members of the Christian community here and Mr Alumeh was prepared. He fought back, first drawing... Read More
What is Really Happening in Syria
Damascus. It is one of the most horrifying videos of the war in Syria. It shows two men being beheaded by Syrian rebels, one of them by a child. He hacks with a machete at the neck of a middle-aged man who has been forced to lie in the street with his head on a... Read More
"He Hasn't Disappeared, He's Just on Three Months Leave"
Damascus. Senior Syrian government officials said that the recognition of the opposition coalition as the legitimate government by the US and many other countries would not change the situation on the ground. The Deputy Foreign Minister, Faisal al-Miqdad, said in an interview that foreign countries were “recognising an artificial structure, a structure that will help... Read More
Passing Time in Libya
The boredom of travel is frequently understated by travel writers. They dwell on the exhilarating time spent on the Nile and the Grand Canal or seeing the wonders of Istanbul and Damascus rather than the hours of tedium in airport lounges and hotels bedrooms. What is true for tourists is true for foreign correspondents. For... Read More
An Era of Conflicts
President Obama is lucky in his opponents, particularly when it comes to explaining why America's influence is waning in the Middle East. The issue was hardly mentioned in the election, aside from a botched attempt by Mitt Romney to blame the administration for the death of Chris Stevens, the US ambassador to Libya, and for... Read More
Dance of the Drones
Drones or their equivalent have long attracted political and military leaders dreaming of the surgical removal of their enemies. In 1812, the governor of Moscow, Count Rostopchin, devised a plan to get a hot-air balloon to hover over the French lines at Borodino and drop an explosive device on Napoleon. The source for this is... Read More
The Latest Crackdown
The Bahraini authorities are to intensify repression by banning demonstrations and meetings to ensure public safety and prevent violence, according to the state news agency. The Sunni al-Khalifa monarchy crushed pro-democracy protests by in the island kingdom's Shia majority last year with Saudi military help, amid allegations of widespread use of torture. There have been... Read More
Death to Buzzwords!
"Never believe anything until it is officially denied," is a useful saying, advising scepticism towards whatever the government claims to be doing. This is the right mental attitude for any journalist or observer of the political scene. But for sniffing out official or journalistic mendacity, evasion and ignorance, a good guide is the use of... Read More
The "Resistance Bloc" is Fighting for Its Life
Turkish artillery is firing across the border into Syria. Explosions have torn apart buildings in Aleppo, Syria's largest city, making their floors collapse on top of each other so they look like giant concrete sandwiches. The country resembles Lebanon during its civil war, the victim of unbearable and ever-escalating violence but with no clear victor... Read More
Who Will Tell the President?
Are the days of American predominance in the Middle East coming to an end or is US influence simply taking a new shape? How far is Washington, after refusing to try to keep Hosni Mubarak in power in Egypt, facing the same situation as the Soviet Union in 1989, when the police states it had... Read More
They All Know Better
It is always gratifying to find a politician or celebrity behaving in the same way as malign caricatures of themselves. In Dickens's Hard Times the stereotypical capitalist is Mr Bounderby, a banker who denounces his workers for expecting "to be set up in a coach and six, and to be fed on turtle soup and... Read More
Patrick Cockburn
About Patrick Cockburn

Patrick Cockburn is the Middle East correspondent for the British newspaper The Independent. He was awarded the 2005 Martha Gellhorn prize for war reporting. His book on his years covering the war in Iraq, The Occupation: War and Resistance in Iraq (Verso) was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award for non-fiction.


Personal Classics
Full Story of the Taliban's Amazing Jailbreak
"They Can't Even Protect Themselves, So What Can They Do For Me?"
"All Hell is Breaking Loose with Muqtada" Warlord: the Rise of Muqtada al-Sadr