At no point in the last two-and-a-half years has the spectre of Iraq been more sharply evident than in the events surrounding Secretary of State John Kerry's statement of the United States' intelligence and national-security case for limited military intervention in Syria following the apparent use of chemical weapons in attacks on Damascus...
Was it to do with the control of women's and girls' bodies? Was it an older generation demonstrating that they had the ability to show authority, to violate their young? Was it about traumatised women visiting the same pain on girls, using custom as an excuse, in some subconsciously re-enacted cycle of abuse?
As a country, we have shirked this challenge. We have ran and hid from that bully Assad, far away from his Sarin strikes, and his blatant disregard for both human life and the tenements of International Law. We should not be running scared, we have both the means and the morality to stop him in his evil re-conquest of a former fiefdom.
For me the solution seems clear cut, military action must be taken to stop the Assad regime destroying Syria and its citizens, literally. We cannot end up with another situation like Rwanda where in the eyes of then UN Secretary General Kofi Annan, the world could not bring itself to act. That must not be allowed to happen again.
Sitting on the rooftop of Gladys's juice bar in Freetown, I was having an informal chat with some of the women my foundation supports. This wasn't my first trip to Sierra Leone. I was there for International Women's Day in March and had spoken then to some of the women. But this time I got to have a long, in depth conversation with them about the difficulties they have faced as women entrepreneurs and what benefits they get from participating in the country's first network for women entrepreneurs, which is what the Foundation has helped to set up here.
Obama sees Syria as one of the definitions of his presidency. But Syria is the battleground for a 21st Century proxy war. Iran, Saudi Arabia, many major players are there. And there is something else: Obama can't afford to do a 'W' and go in with all guns blazing. The president's past, steeped in vociferous opposition of the Iraq War, won't allow it.
War, twerking, the poor and their big screen TVs... nothing was off the agenda as summer drew to a close. Let us start with the serious. Countries going to war, in their own backyard or further afield, deserve debate. David Cameron may be ruing the day he decided that that debate extended to a free vote in the Commons. However, 'the heir to Blair' (as news organisations, ourselves included, labeled the PM this week), may also be wiping his brow that the anti-war marches Blair himself had to witness, will not haunt his legacy.
Last night's remarkable scenes at Westminster will make precious little difference to the people of Syria. Cruise missiles will still fall on some carefully selected military sites in the coming days - the only difference will be that none of them will be British. The key question remains what it was before David Cameron's dramatic defeat in the House of Commons: what is the best policy to adopt in the light of the ever-increasing horror of the war in Syria?
The point is not just that missile strikes won't prevent Assad from carrying out attacks with chemical weapons, nor will they help bring the Syrian conflict to a much-needed close, but that our political leaders in the west occupy very little moral high ground when it comes to condemning the use of such horrific weapons.
Dreams of a peaceful resolution to Egypt's post-coup polarisation have been shattered by the recent savage violence in Cairo, poising civil war as a more likely outcome than a ceasefire. For weeks, stunning protests have overwhelmed the world's media as the Muslim Brotherhood and coup fight for control of the country. Whilst the ruling military claim they only react when provoked, using violence to end violence is a historically foolish move.
Over 100,000 people have been killed in Syria since the fighting began... As many as 35,000 of these have been civilians. Yet it is the recent chemical attacks, which have allegedly killed 300 to 400 people, and injured several thousand, that have galvanised the United States, United Kingdom, France and others to now consider imminent military intervention.
The media's role in the Iraq 'road to war' was to be relentlessly critical of weapons' inspectors, particularly whenever they came up with the 'wrong' findings as far as the pro-war-Iraq-has-WMD- lobby were concerned. Weapons' inspectors are back in the headlines, following allegations of use of chemical agents in Syria - are they going to get caught in the cross-fire again?