Sunday, 13 March 2016

More bad news from the Near and Middle East

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In Iraq the Mosul dam, even though it is no longer in the hands of ISIS, is not well maintained and may burst at any time, killing a million people. The problem is that the dam was built on gypsum, which dissolves in contact with water. The only solution, I imagine, is to evacuate the area and organised a controlled flooding. This might bring to light the many archaeological sites in the region that were submerged when the reservoir
was created by Saddam.

Turkey's ceasing to be a democracy is much less significant that the move, after over ninety years, from a secular to a religious state. An opposition newspaper was taken over by the government last week 
and began to print stories flattering Mr. Erdogan. Meanwhile Mrs. Erdogan, who wears a headscarf, praised the Ottoman harem as a good school for women.

Iran has test-fired two ballistic missiles bearing the inscription “Israel must be wiped out”, thoughtfully written in Hebrew, and Saudi Arabia drops hints that it might try to develop a nuclear bomb. 

Messrs. Cruz and Rubio say they will tear up the Iran deal on their first day in the White House, but Mr. Trump is more pragmatic and keeps his options open - one can easily imagine him knowing how to deal with Mr. Putin and the Ayatollahs. In some ways, painful though this is to admit, Mrs. Clinton might be the safest option, as far as the Middle East is concerned. But then, when I think of her role in killing Gaddafi, which she found funny, perhaps not.

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