It’s time – Shift the Rock (like Gough).

That classic Gough Whitlam campaign slogan “It’s Time”, is as relevant today in 2015 as it was the day his campaign launched in 1972.

The space for progressive political and economic change is once again widening, after having come under repeated attack by conservatives ever since Gough was dismissed via Double Dissolution in 1975.

At Progress, I attended a workshop called “Moving the Rock – Shifting Power for Sustained Change”, hosted by Sam La Rocca and Holly Hammond. Points raised in that workshop provided some of the key takeaways for me. Particularly, a strong reminder about the value and role of radicals. 

It’s about the intersection of what is ideal and what is ‘politically achievable’. Continue reading It’s time – Shift the Rock (like Gough).

USA, Maliki, ISIS and Iraq’s Sunni – It’s a long story. #100daysofblogging #Day15

ISIS - Made in the USASince I posted about the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Shams (ISIS) ‘seizing’ Mosul a few days ago, my understanding of the situation has progressed.

While it is true Mosul has fallen out of control of the Iraqi government and that ISIS flags have been raised, it is not clear that a Jihadist element is “in control’ of Mosul.

I have had conversations with Iraqi friends and they all certainly confirm the ‘fall’ of Mosul.

However, suggestions about who is ‘in control’ of Mosul vary. There are rumours of “Saddam’s men” being involved. Equally there are reports of foreign Jihadi’s and local sectarian militias. The reality is likely to be all three are involved.

They have been since the early days of the occupation of Iraq in 2003.

When I see reports suggesting Jihadist ISIS has $2.5bn worth of assets after ‘taking’ Mosul, I’m sceptical. There are a lot of things I’m sceptical about with the reporting of the situation, actually (read Juan Cole’s 7 myths).

I do not believe Baghdad is under any ‘threat’ of being captured by ISIS. They have no support base there. There is no way they could hold it. Continue reading USA, Maliki, ISIS and Iraq’s Sunni – It’s a long story. #100daysofblogging #Day15

Islamic State of Iraq & al-Shams seizes Mosul #100daysofblogging #day9

Image courtesy of The Guardian
Image courtesy of The Guardian

So, here we are again. Blogging about devastation in Iraq.

At the moment, a religious extremist militia is seizing control over much of the North and West of the country including one of the worlds oldest cities, Mosul.

I’ve written a lot about Iraq in the past. Commenting on the Iraq war was why I started blogging in the first place, back in 2005.

This is perhaps the most serious strategic upheaval that has occurred in Iraq since the civil war of 2006/07, the resultant US troop surge and eventual ‘withdrawal’ of international combat forces.

There have been elections. There have been some significant protests. There have been far too many random explosions. There has also been a variety of sectarian political manoeuvring. Then Vice President of Iraq Tariq al-Hashimi, the most senior Sunni in the Iraqi Government, was even sentenced to death after being charged with murder in 2011 and later found ‘guilty in absentia’.

But this is a whole other kettle of fish. ISIS are no joke. Continue reading Islamic State of Iraq & al-Shams seizes Mosul #100daysofblogging #day9