The commentators 10-10-14
It is much easier to say the US approach to the Middle East lacks coherence than to set out what an effective strategy would look like. The cauldron of territorial and confessional rivalries and competing and overlapping allegiances does not allow for neat grand strategies. Unless, that is, the west wants to start thinking about a Middle East in which Shia Iran rather than the Sunni autocracies of the Arab world provides the essential source of stability..
- Philip Stephens, Financial Times
No one is saying we need to launch a massive ground offensive on the scale of Iraq and Afghanistan. But having just a small number of well-armed Western troops to assist the Kurds and other groups fighting on the ground could make all the difference in defeating this resilient and well-organised Islamist menace.
- Con Coughlin, Daily Telegraph
I cannot recall a conflict so swamped by incoherence as the one in northern Iraq. The awfulness of Isis has given the something-must-be-done-even-if-it’s-stupid lobby an ostensibly crushing moral ascendancy. The right takes comfort in faux belligerence: David Cameron’s party conference speech frothed with “evil people, pure and simple”; it dripped with killed children, raped women, genocides and beheadings. He declared that “some people seem to think we can opt out of this. We can’t. There is no walk-on-by option.” He then walked on by.
- Simon Jenkins, The Guardian
It seems outrageous that Turkey, the second-largest land power in Nato with 290,000 troops, and a candidate for EU membership, is doing nothing to prevent a massacre on its doorstep. Why does it view the prospect of IS’s dreaded black banner fluttering over a town near its border with such apparent equanimity? The main reason — and it is a very simple one — is that Turkey hates the 1.3 million Syrian Kurds more than it hates IS.
- Michael Burleigh, Daily Mail
By-elections seldom offer meaningful insight to national politics but the battle for Clacton (or, rather, the absence of one) speaks volumes about the Tory party’s lack of nerve. It was big and broad enough to win places like Clacton back from Labour in 2005 – but feels it isn’t now. And, worse, it believes there is now such a thing as Ukip natural territory: places where, apparently, the Tories don’t have a prayer.
- Fraser Nelson, Daily Telegraph
The commentariat is only just beginning to fathom what is really going on here, but far too late to inadvertently influence the voters of Heywood and Middleton that are still backing the Conservatives, despite the fact that they absolutely cannot win there. By going to bed with David Cameron, they will sadly wake up with Ed Miliband.
- Nigel Farage, The Independent
Thursday 25 September Judges for the Editorial Intelligence comment awards announced their shortlists today, with ten nominations for the FT, nine for the Times, five for the Guardian, four for the Independent - and two for SubScribe.
The Times and Sunday Times scored a clean sweep in nominations for the main award of commentariat of the year, which will be decided between David Aaronovitch, Camilla Cavendish, Daniel Finkelstein and last year's winner Caitlin Moran.
Guardian's Jay Rayner was shortlisted in the food writer category, but said that he did not wish to be considered as that award is sponsored by Tesco.
The awards will be presented on November 25. See the full shortlists here
When you see "George" in a headline, who do you think of? The no-longer-eligible bachelor, the boy who is third in line to the throne, or the man in charge of the nation's wallet?
The Mail's splash today says "George scraps pensions tax". It feels wrong, too chummy.
We're happy with George for Clooney or the Prince, but not for Osborne. Why?
- Are we on first-name terms?
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War on Isis
Nato and Isis