Piquancy, confusion and - British - incoherence

An odd series of events have just unfolded in Riyadh. On 31st October, Lebanese PM Saad al-Hariri, a dual Lebanese-Saudi Sunni national, flew to Riyadh to meet Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman - or MbS - and Thamer al-Sabhan, the Saudi Minister for Gulf Affairs. Hariri also owns a troubled business in Saudi Arabia called Saudi Oger which is in recurrent difficulty.

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Czar Putin

As the centenary of the October Revolution approaches, Russia’s current rulers have decided that ambiguity towards the events of 1917 is the second best response, after trying to ignore it. Ideally it would be left to ‘experts’  to deliberate, which is probably why planning official commemorations only commenced in December 2016.

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Sundry gropings- and a grown-up

The noise from the US mounts, with the gropings of Harvey Weinstein jostling with the news that Secretary of State Tillerson called President Trump ‘a fucking moron’. In Europe, the Dutch have finally formed a new coalition government after 208 days, a process that Germany will manage in shorter order, while breakaway Catalonia is engaged in a Goyaesque slugging match with the rest of Spain. Brexit continues to elude detailed definition.

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Kurds and Catalans

The British have a long history of sympathizing with underdogs. The Hungarian revolutionary Laslo (or Louis) Kossuth was feted when he visited Britain in 1851. By contrast, furious brewery workers pursued his nemesis, the Austrian general Haynau, along Borough High Street when he came to London a few years later.

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