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One Screw Short

Owen Bennett-Jones: Pakistan’s Bomb

18 July 2019
Pakistan’s Nuclear Bomb: A Story of Defiance, Deterrence and Deviance 
by Hassan Abbas.
Hurst, 341 pp., £25, January 2018, 978 1 84904 715 9
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... Q. Khan, Pakistan’s leading nuclear scientist, and if it hadn’t been for the Pakistani military, which gave the programme its full support. Drawing on the recollections of former decision-makers, HassanAbbas offers the most complete account yet of how the programme worked, and what it meant: a source of national pride, and a source of cash. The story begins with Iran in the mid-1980s. In the face ...

Across the Durand Line

Owen Bennett-Jones: The Durand Line

24 September 2014
The Pashtun Question: The Unresolved Key to the Future of Pakistan and Afghanistan 
by Abubakar Siddique.
Hurst, 271 pp., £30, May 2014, 978 1 84904 292 5
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The Taliban Revival: Violence and Extremism on the Pakistan-Afghanistan Frontier 
by Hassan Abbas.
Yale, 280 pp., £18.99, May 2014, 978 0 300 17884 5
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... in peace. As for Pashtunwali, as well as allowing for the violent resolution of disputes, its traditions include taking decisions after broad consultation and discussion aimed at finding consensus. HassanAbbas, a former police officer in north-west Pakistan, also objects to those who see the Pashtuns as ferocious tribesmen with traditions and attitudes at odds with the modern world. In The Taliban ...


Layla Al-Zubaidi: In Syria

24 May 2012
... down establishment that hosted a poets’ group in its shabby cellar. A fancy refurbishment had been completed just before the uprising began but the lobby café was empty. No tourists. There, I met HassanAbbas, a writer who knows everyone. Over the past decade he’s had articles censored, a cinema club closed down, a programme of debates banned. Now he thinks things may be looking up. He believes ...


Jonathan Steele: In Syria

22 March 2012
... with promises of dialogue and reform. One of the Damascus spring’s many surprises is how outspoken the ‘old opposition’ – politicians not from the Baath Party, for example – has been. HassanAbbas, an academic sociologist, founded the Human Rights Association of Syria last year to monitor the regime’s claims. He is a veteran of the Damascus spring of 2000, when the president was new ...

Is Palestine Next?

Adam Shatz: The No-State Solution

14 July 2011
... government which, in concert with the US and Israel, was doing its best to prop up the PA and to weaken Hamas. A flurry of local petitions was drafted in support of reconciliation, but Mahmoud Abbas made sure they went nowhere. When advocates of reconciliation set up a stand in the centre of Nablus to gather signatures a few years ago, a member of PA security destroyed the table they were ...
21 September 2016
This Orient Isle: Elizabethan England and the Islamic World 
by Jerry Brotton.
Allen Lane, 358 pp., £20, March 2016, 978 0 241 00402 9
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... Jenkinson. Elizabethans saw dramas of conversion and cultural change played out wherever English Christians met Muslims. The possible dangers of such encounters were made apparent by figures like Hassan Aga, eunuch and treasurer to Hassan Bassa, king of Algier. Aga was better known to the English as Samson Rowlie, a merchant from Great Yarmouth. After being captured and castrated, he converted to ...

Our Second Biggest Mistake in the Middle East

Alastair Crooke: The Case for Hamas

5 July 2007
Hamas: Unwritten Chapters 
by Azzam Tamimi.
Hurst, 344 pp., £14.95, September 2006, 9781850658344
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Where Now for Palestine? The Demise of the Two-State Solution 
edited by Jamil Hilal.
Zed, 260 pp., £17.99, December 2006, 1 84277 840 4
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Failing Peace: Gaza and the Palestinian-Israeli Conflict 
by Sara Roy.
Pluto, 379 pp., £16.99, October 2006, 0 7453 2234 4
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... This was the reaction of Ephraim Sneh, Israel’s deputy defence minister, to Hamas’s seizure of a number of key security institutions in Gaza in the days leading up to 14 June, when Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority and leader of Fatah, dismissed the unity government. But, despite what much of the media says, this is not a ‘civil war’, and Hamas is not made up of ...

A Pillar Built on Sand

John Mearsheimer

16 November 2012
... the dead leaders, and sometimes the new ones are more capable and dangerous than their predecessors. The Israelis found this out in Lebanon in 1992 when they assassinated Hizbullah’s leader, Abbas Musawi, only to find that his replacement, Hassan Nasrallah, was an even more formidable adversary. Second, the Israelis can invade Gaza and take it over. The IDF could do this fairly easily, topple ...
19 January 1989
The Shah’s Last Ride: The Story of the Exile, Misadventures and Death of the Emperor 
by William Shawcross.
Chatto, 463 pp., £15.95, January 1989, 9780701132545
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... only too well represented the technology of the world to which the Shah had long ago sold his soul. His erstwhile friends from that world – King Hussein of Jordan, King Khaled of Saudi Arabia, King Hassan of Morocco, the Swiss, the Austrians, President Carter and Mrs Thatcher – either terminated his residence, turned him away or broke their promise to accept him when they realised the political cost ...

‘It didn’t need to be done’

Tariq Ali: The Muslim Response

5 February 2015
... a mysterious Masonic signal); Donald Tusk, the Polish president of the Council of Europe. And, hurriedly summoned at the last minute to balance the presence of the Israeli leader, there was Mahmoud Abbas, the PLO leader, holding hands with the king of Jordan (both are Israeli supplicants). Sarkozy, placed in the fourth row, quickly began his own long march to the front, but by the time he got there ...


Jason Burke: In Kurdistan

19 September 2002
... in Abadan in Iran in 1973. He never went to school and can barely read. In 1996 he started smuggling TVs and videos from the United Arab Emirates into Iran through the Iranian Gulf port of Bandar Abbas. It wasn’t long before another smuggling gang introduced him to a Pashtun Afghan from Kandahar called Uthman Salman Daoud, who asked Shahab for ‘all the weapons you can get’ and offered payment ...

An Assassin’s Land

Charles Glass: Lebanon without the Syrians

4 August 2005
... services. As the Syrians were withdrawing, Ahmad Jibril, who runs the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine General Command from Damascus, arrived in Beirut. After conferring with Sayyid Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbollah’s leader, he told journalists: ‘We have to talk about the Palestinians living in Lebanon with brother Hassan Nasrallah. They are here temporarily. After that, there is only ...
29 January 2009
... fell this year on 7 January — when Shi’ites everywhere commemorate the martyrdom of Hussein, the Prophet’s grandson, killed by an overwhelming military force at Kerbala. The speeches given by Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah’s secretary general, were avidly followed; the ceremony of Ashura drove home the message of martyrdom and sacrifice. Islamists are likely to conclude from Gaza that Arab ...

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