The Bribe Factory

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The Sydney Morning Herald and the Huffington Post claim to have uncovered a major corruption scandal. It is centred on a Monaco-based company called UnaOil that is owned and run by the Ahsani family and involves some very well-known Western companies in and connected to the oil business.

Ahsanis

The two newspapers claim to have solid evidence in the form of many thousands of leaked emails which name names and make quite clear the corrupt nature of UnaOil’s dealings in the Middle East and North Africa.

Please click on the link in the 1st paragraph. It’s a 10-minute read plus a 4-minute video clip.

Poster Children

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The photo of a drowned 3-year-old lying face-down on a Turkish beach suddenly became visual shorthand for the miserable situation in Syria and the desperation of people seeking refuge.

It is an admirable human trait that our sympathy is aroused by the sight of a child in distress. Indeed, if we did not react that way very few children would make it into adulthood. But I am uneasy about the kneejerk-ism that such sympathy provokes. Complex issues should be addressed thoughtfully and with full understanding of causes and effects.

At the moment nothing is more complex than the tangle of superstition, competition and ancient hatred that characterises the Arab world. I want my government and other governments to behave rationally. I do not want them to be pressured by compassionate electors to take heart-warming, headline-grabbing decisions that buy short-term popularity at the expense of actions that could, perhaps, lead to long-term solutions.