Daily Archives: June 29, 2011

With today’s vote in favour of a medium term fiscal plan, Greece has just escaped the immediate danger of financial collapse. But this will prove a shortlived victory for the Greek government. Greek Prime Minister George Papandreou’s problems begin again tomorrow, with a second parliamentary vote on the implementation of the plan barely agreed today.

Public fury against the government is unlikely to abate. Greece’s bureaucracy inspires little confidence that it’s up to this job. Today’s vote has bought the government several months, but by the end of the year, Greece will probably have new elections. And this is where the real problems begin.  Continue reading »

The daring night-time raid on one of one Kabul’s best-known hotels by Afghan militants on Tuesday, underlines once again how much depends on the secret talks with the Taliban . However the recent leaks by government officials in Washington, Kabul and London, are extremely dangerous and could scuttle the talks just as they enter a critical phase.

At stake is not just peace for Afghanistan, but the entire region including a deeply precarious Pakistan. The talks are premised on the essential realisation that neither a successful western withdrawal from Afghanistan nor a transition to Afghan forces can take place. In an attempt to avoid further speculation, I am laying out the bare facts of the talks as western officials have described them to me. Continue reading »