All entries for August 2006

August 23, 2006

Heading for a nuclear showdown in the Middle East

Writing about web page

Iran has issued its response to UN Security Council demands that it stop its uranium enrichment programme by August 31st.

Whilst offering to join 'serious talks' on the issue Iranian officials have been clear in their refusal to back down to international pressure to end their vision of a nuclear Iran.

How do the latest developments change the diplomatic picture for both Iran and the UN? Does the passing of a UN resolution change the legal position of those involved and what lies behind the strategies of Tehran and the Security Council.

Daniel Joyner is an Associate Professor in International Law at the Warwick Law School. He is an expert in public international law in the security context, with particular interest in the area of proliferation studies, including non–proliferation treaties and regimes, issues of international trade and export control law, use of force law, and international legal theory.

Show Summary:
Background to the crisis
Current events
How a UN Security Council resolution changes the situation
What is the Security Council up to
What is Iran up to
How have governments reacted to Iran's statements
Who else might take action against Iran
Possible outcomes of the current standoff
Implications for nuclear proliferation
Is this the end of the NPT

Expert Comment – the Labour Leadership

Professor Wyn Grant of the University of Warwick Department of Politics and International Studies is available to provide expert comment on the Labour Leadership and the growing contest for Tony Blair's successor.

Listen to his Podcast at

Contact him on 02476 523 720, or via the press officer Richard Fern, on 07876 217740.

August 22, 2006

A question of leadership

Writing about web page

Ever since Tony Blair announced he was to stand down as party leader controversy has raged about both when he will go and who his successor will be. Whilst Gordon Brown has been the annointed heir for some time, there is some debate as to whether this is a desirable state of affairs for the Labour Party and challengers to Brown have begun to emerge.

Professor Wynn Grant is an expert on British Politics and has examined the current leadership debate in the Labour Party.

Show Summary:

  • When will Tony Blair step down
  • How has the situation changed
  • Should we expect a 'night of the long knives'
  • Comparisons with the ousting of Margaret Thatcher
  • Who are the likley leadership challengers
  • Does standing for the leadership make you more powerful
  • Where are the left–wing challengers
  • What is the future for Labour post–Blair

August 15, 2006

Israel and Lebanon – A History of the Conflict

Writing about web page

With a UN ceasefire in place in the Lebanon attention now moves to finding a long lasting solution to the conflict between Israel and Hezbollah.

What is the background to the conflict and how can an understanding of the history of both sides help develop a resolution to the crisis?

Dr Rob Johnson has written about the history of the Arab–Israeli conflict, terrorism and counter–terrorism.

Show Summary:

How did the current conflict arise
History of Hezbollah and Israel
Influence of the US
Influence of Iran
How can we resolve the crisis
Possibilities for peace and reconciliation
Role of the UN

August 08, 2006

Expert opinion – Crisis in Lebanon

Dr Rob Johnson – historian – believes that Iran may hold the key to the crisis in the Lebanon.

He may be contacted on 07973 143871

He says –

The most important player in the Lebanon crisis is not Israel, it is Iran. As the chief backer of Hezbollah and perhaps, with the demise of Iraq, the leading regional power, it has sought to pursue its own national agenda in this current conflict.

Encircled by the US and its allies, and subject to increasing pressure over its nuclear programme, Iran also faces growing domestic dissent and political indifference from young Iranians. The government is looking for ‘strategic depth’, that is, greater freedom of action, a means to deflect its perceived enemies by opening up new fronts, and a rallying cause to win over its domestic audience.

Iran’s government competes for centre stage with its fiery rhetoric, but it would not risk a direct confrontation with the West: its neighbour Iraq provides a salutary lesson to those who would push the US too far. After all, America could use Israel or Iraq as its proxy to neutralise Iranian nuclear facilities. However, a prosperous and pro–American Iraq does not complement Iran’s new–found regional influence. Eager to influence the direction of Iraqi politics, it now seeks to engage and distract Israel.

Israel too has its own long–term agenda. It is eager to find solutions to the problems of settlements and threats to its security. Discrediting Hezbollah and Hamas in military operations can, they hope, deter supporters. But it is a high risk strategy.

Any attempt to resolve the conflict between Israel and Lebanon must therefore encompass the region, with orchestrated stages and a long–term perspective. A ceasefire might be the first step, but it will require courage, statesmanship and considerable patience to achieve a new and lasting peace.

The Oslo agreement recognised the need to bring all players on board. The agreement must be resurrected with Iran, Iraq, Syria, Egypt and Israel convinced of the need to support a renewed land–for–peace deal.

The memory of the 1983 suicide bombings in Lebanon – and the endless casualty lists from Afghanistan and Iraq – will be a strong deterrent to the deployment of peacekeepers.

Expert opinion – congestion charging

Professor Andrew Oswald is one of the countries leading economists and commentators on policy issues.

Professor Oswald may be contaced on 07876 217717, or via press officer Richard Fern on 07876 217740.

Professor Oswald's non–technical paper on road pricing states: "Our country needs road pricing. Like many other nations, Britain is grinding to a halt. Widespread road tolls would be good for firms, for people, and for the environment.

"Queues happen when a demand–and–supply mechanism fails.
Economists know that using the price system to ration things is the most
sensible way. This is what we do for steel ingots, newspapers, cream
teas, and everything else. It is especially necessary on roads because
drivers do not bear in mind, when they make a journey, that their
presence on the road creates an ‘externality’ for others."

His full report can be viewed at

August 02, 2006

What chance for peace in Sri Lanka?

Writing about web page

The recent resumption of violence in Sri Lanka between the Tamil Tigers and Government forces has set back hopes that a peaceful settlement could be established in this long running conflict.

Miranda Alison of Warwick's Department of Politics and International Studies provides an insight into the history of the conflict and examines whether a resolution is likely in the near future.

Show Summary:

History of the conflict
Involvement of youth and women
Support amongst population
Role of India
Impact of the 2004 tsunami
International Interest
Can there be a peaceful resolution?

August 2006

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