There is a great Arabic proverb: 'farkh al-bat awwam'. In English, 'the son of a duck, floats', or, 'like father, like son'. In Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's case, Mr al-Assad doesn't so much float as sink like a stone... Fifteen years ago today, Bashar 'inherited' the rule of Syria from his father, who, to be clear, wasn't much of a floater himself. Fifteen years on, Bashar has practically destroyed the country.
It is as easy to insist on a political settlement in Syria or in Libya as it is to talk of crushing ISIS. In Syria and Iraq, ISIS gives every indication of denying the legitimacy of compromise, so the concept of settlement would be out of bounds. In Libya, where ISIS is present but far from dominant, there could (and, for their own self-interest, should) be more possibility of arriving at an initial settlement between the Dawn and Dignity rivals.
With the latest terrorist tragedy in Tunisia however, ordinary Brits are looking at their holiday itineraries and realising that totally "safe" destinations are becoming increasingly scarce. So I thought I might use my vast experience in these things to help out. I'll go through some options and have a look at a couple of places that you might be considering for your next break. I'll be like the Foreign Office but... better.
It's complicated, and we face a huge challenge to attract greater funds for schooling and teaching in conflict. But that shouldn't scare us off. The needs are huge, and we must use that as inspiration, rather than as a barrier, to our ambitions. Education cannot wait in times of an emergency. We have no time to lose.