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Essays

When Uganda Expelled Its Asian Population in 1972, Britain Tried to Exclude Them

Bad Policies and Good Immigrants

Britain’s response to the expulsion of Ugandan Asians 50 years ago has been celebrated as demonstrating great generosity. Yet little is said about Britain’s attempts to prevent Ugandan Asians from coming to Britain, legal cases submitted to the European Commission of Human Rights or the newspaper advertisements taken out to warn Ugandan Asians not to settle in Leicester, even though these people were British passport holders. To say that Ugandan Asians were readily and warmly welcomed in 1970s Britain would be to offer a distorted history of immigration and asylum.

The Passing of a Syrian General Famed for Brutality

Brutal Syrian Security Chief’s Legacy

In the decade leading up to the momentous events of 2011 in Syria, the new generation of regime officers did not need to show publicly that they were as brutal and repressive as Ali Haydar’s generation, and this gave a false sense of softness and rationality, which is probably why many Syrians underestimated how brutal they could be, when challenged for the seat of power. Haydar would have given them no illusions.

What an Earlier War in Ukraine Can Tell Us About the Current Conflict

What an Earlier War in Ukraine Can Tell Us About the Current Conflict

“In Ukraine,” German soldier Anton Kellerhaus wrote in February 1943, “everything is really, totally different. … A completely different people that has nothing at all to do with the other Russians, appears to have settled in this place. It would be tragic if we could not put a stop to the Russians’ advance here, but what is one to do?”

A Nazi Taught Interrogation Tactics to Syrians and Egyptians

A Nazi Taught Interrogation Tactics to Syrians and Egyptians

It’s impossible to know whether Brunner saw the legacy of his brutal tactics bear fruit. But there is little doubt that Syrian and Egyptian interrogators today apply the same methods against their compatriots that the Nazis used against the Jews.

1950s U.S. Foreign Policy Looms Large in Lebanon

1950s U.S. Foreign Policy Looms Large in Lebanon

When a violent coup overthrew the British-backed Hashemite monarchy in Iraq on July 14, 1958, Lebanon’s President Camille Chamoun intensified his pleas for U.S. support against “international communism.” The U.S. was left with an unpalatable decision: prop up an unpopular ruler or undermine the Eisenhower Doctrine.

How I Survived a Syrian Gulag

How I Survived a Syrian Gulag

I used Bashar al-Assad’s words about change and hope for Syrians. He ordered me to lift my blindfold and then slapped me with bitterness and cruelty, repeating a series of insults accompanied by the phrase, “An intellectual, you bastard? An intellectual?”

In Egypt, a Rumor Sparked an Overthrow

In Egypt, a Rumor Sparked an Overthrow

In the months after the 1948 war, the story of a regime undone by its own dysfunctional weapons began to permeate Egyptian popular culture. Four years later, this separation between the army and the political establishment was so solidified that it paved the way for the July Revolution.