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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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... which gave the programme its full support. Drawing on the recollections of former decision-makers, Hassan Abbas 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 of repeated Iraqi chemical weapons attacks, the ...

Across the Durand Line

Owen Bennett-Jones: The Durand Line, 25 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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... include taking decisions after broad consultation and discussion aimed at finding consensus. Hassan Abbas, 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 Revival, he offers rational explanations for their ...


Layla Al-Zubaidi: In Syria, 24 May 2012

... completed just before the uprising began but the lobby café was empty. No tourists. There, I met Hassan Abbas, 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 that what the regime most fears is a Tahrir ...


Jonathan Steele: In Syria, 22 March 2012

... the ‘old opposition’ – politicians not from the Baath Party, for example – has been. Hassan Abbas, 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 and many hoped he would relax his father’s political ...

Is Palestine Next?

Adam Shatz: The No-State Solution, 14 July 2011

... 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 sitting at. ‘What’s this unity appeal?’ ...

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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... 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 ‘gangs beyond the control of their leaders’. Hamas’s ...

You’re with your king

Jeremy Harding: Morocco’s Secret Prisons, 10 February 2022

Tazmamart: Eighteen Years in Morocco’s Secret Prison 
by Aziz BineBine, translated by Lulu Norman.
Haus, £9.99, March 2021, 978 1 913368 13 5
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... When​ King Hassan II of Morocco was crowned in 1961, he had already made influential friends. In 1943, as the son of Sultan Mohammed ben Yusef, he had been introduced to Roosevelt and Churchill at the Anfa Conference in Casablanca; in 1945, aged fifteen, he was decorated by de Gaulle. Not long after his coronation he was welcomed in Washington by President Kennedy; France, for its part, had high hopes that he would manage its postcolonial interests in the Maghreb – he was known to be astute and an implacable adversary ...

A Pillar Built on Sand

John Mearsheimer, 8 November 2012

... 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 Hamas and put an end ...

Elzābet of Anletār

John Gallagher, 22 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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... 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 Islam and became a key ...

Doers of Mischief on Earth

Robert Fisk, 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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... 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 is sobering to reflect that his one true friend ...

‘It didn’t need to be done’

Tariq Ali: The Muslim Response, 5 February 2015

... 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 the cameras had disappeared and the celebs soon followed ...

Hizbullah’s War

Zain Samir, 30 November 2023

... border, the Israeli defence minister is threatening to do to Beirut what he is doing to Gaza. Hassan Nasrallah, Hizbullah’s leader, has warned Israel that if it attacks Beirut again Hizbullah will start bombing Tel Aviv and beyond. It’s clear that a new war wouldn’t be limited to Lebanon, but could well involve the whole region, if the Iran-aligned ...


Jason Burke: In Kurdistan, 19 September 2002

... 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 in drugs. Shahab told his story fluently and ...

An Assassin’s Land

Charles Glass: Lebanon without the Syrians, 4 August 2005

... 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 one road – back to ...

Responses to the War in Gaza

LRB Contributors, 29 January 2009

... 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 regimes backed by the US and some European states will go to ...

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