Tag Archives: iceland

Tom Arms’ World Review


War Is Hell and as Zelensky’s troops enter the second week of their counter offensive it is clear that Ukraine is the seventh circle. The Ukrainians are taking heavy losses for so far minimal gains as they hurl themselves against an elaborate Russian “defense in depth.”

President Zelensky has said that the counter offensive is going according to plan. General Mark Milley, Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, more phlegmatically reported: “It is a very difficult fight.”

The Ukrainians have had some success in the Donetsk region where they appear to have regained about 40 square miles of territory. They are also advancing on Bakhmut. But the Russians appear to have the edge in the vital Zaporizhia region where the Ukrainians have lost a number of tanks, including recently supplied German Leopards and American tanks. Having said that, Putin has admitted to losing 54 tanks in the past ten days.

To a large degree the counter-offensive appears to be a big step up from a probing exercise but not yet a full-scale frontal assault. The Ukrainians are still looking for weak points in the 600-mile long Russian defensive line and neither side has committed its reserves.

Among the major developments in Russia this week have been the Russia Day celebrations on Monday and a new enlistment law. The first marks the day that Russia seceded from the old Soviet Union and was used by Putin to deliver a rally around the flag speech while warning of tough times ahead. The second allowed the recruitment of convicts into the regular army. This will enable the government to reduce unpopular conscription levels but will also exacerbate the conflict between the Wagner Group and the army, as prisons are also the main recruiting ground for the mercenary group.


Teflon Trump can’t win. His arraignment on federal charges this week may have failed to dent his popularity among hard-right Republican voters, but the wider voting public is thoroughly unimpressed. The numbers don’t stack up for a third Trump attempt at the White House.

Registered Republicans are 38.8 million of the voting population. At a guess I would say that roughly 3.8 million of them are either so sick of Trump that they will either abstain or vote against him.

Democrats are 49 million of the voting population. I reckon that they will all vote for the Democratic candidate – even if he is an octogenarian – to insure that Trump stays out of the White House.

That leaves the Independents who are 41 percent or 65.68 million of the registered voting population. The latest opinion polls show that they are split 40/60 with the 60 percent adamantly opposed to Trump returning to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.

That means that if all the registered voters cast their ballots tomorrow for one of the two main candidates that Trump (assuming he is the Republican candidate) would receive about 44 million votes and the Democratic candidate (whomever that may be) would receive 78.8 million.

Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged and | 2 Comments

Tom Arms’ World Review

Mahsa Amin’s death

They are burning their headscarves and police cars in Iran. Persian women are fighting back against the mullahs’ morality police. The catalyst for their anger is the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amin. The Iranian authorities claim she died of a pre-existing heart condition. Rubbish, say her family, there was nothing wrong with her heart. She died, they claim, because she was beaten in the police van on the way to the station. Ms Amin was arrested because she was wearing her hijab or head scarf improperly. That is common offence which the morality police monitor along with the wearing of tight trousers and leggings, holding hands or kissing in public.

Iran is not the only Muslim country with morality police. Afghanistan has probably the most severe. Iran probably holds the number two slot. Others include Nigeria, Sudan and Malaysia. Then there is Saudi Arabia where the ruling family’s adoption of Islam’s strict Wahhabi sect led to the establishment of the notorious Committee for the Protection of Virtue and Prevention of Vice. Better known among Saudis as simply “The Committee.” Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, however, has been circumscribing the morality police to the point of near extinction. The backlash in Iran may force the Mullahs to follow suit which can only undermine their wider claim to political legitimacy.

Another lurch to the right in Europe

Europe is taking another lurch to the right. This month two national parties with links to a fascist past have either come to power or are poised to do so.

Sweden has been known as Europe’s most tolerant country towards cultural diversity. But this month the rabid anti-immigrant Sweden Democrats emerged as the second largest party and is forming a government with the centre-right Moderates.

In a disturbing echo of Donald Trump, party leader Jimmie Akesson declared it was time to “Make Sweden Great Again.”

Georgia Meloni, leader of the Brothers of Italy has an equally upsetting motto which links her party to its fascist past—“God, family and fatherland.” Ms Meloni is expected to emerge as Italy’s prime minister after Sunday’s vote. Her party is Eurosceptic, anti-immigration, anti-gay, anti-abortion and has expressed doubts about NATO membership.

Italy and Sweden join Hungary, Britain, Czech Republic, Slovakia Austria and others who have lurched rightwards. There are differences between them but the one common element is the disturbing trend to portray their country as a victim.


Posted in Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , and | 17 Comments

Can we learn from the Pirates leading the polls in the home of the world’s oldest parliament?

Postcard from Reykjavík

The photo above shows the location of the world’s first parliament, which was established here in Þingvellir, Iceland in 930. Interestingly, the Alþingi or Althing was held in the fissure (like a plain) between the edge of the European continental plate (on the right) and the end of the American continental plate, which is out of shot to the left.

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged and | 11 Comments

The Icelandic comic has the last laugh

Jon Gnarr is an Icelandic comic. In late 2009 he started a political party – The Best Party – as a satire on Icelandic politics. In this month’s municpal elections in Reykjavik his party emerged the largest (with 6 of the 15 seats) and he is now Mayor. This was his campaign video:

Posted in News and Online politics | Also tagged | 5 Comments

Opinion: Another Greek tragedy? Time for Europhiles to admit the dream is over

In case you wouldn’t have noticed, another crisis has come on top of the big one.

For those who understand French, read carefully this article in the March 5 edition of French daily “Le Monde” . A former German finance vice-minister buries the euro as it is now and advises all Southern-Europe economies (including France) to get out of the Eurozone if they don’t clean up their act, behave more like Germany and adopt many unacceptable social measures. Some German backbenchers have suggested these might include selling off some islands (who would buy these? You guess).

That doesn’t yet …

Posted in Europe / International and Op-eds | Also tagged , , , , , , and | 56 Comments

Recent Comments

  • John Grout
    Worth saying, if 35,000 people hadn't voted Lib Dem last time we'd have been wiped out - but if 33,000 more people had voted Lib Dem, we'd have had double the n...
  • Mick Taylor
    The problem with cigarettes is that they don’t only harm smokers, but also those around them. Thus young children inhale smoke involuntarily when their parent...
  • Martin Gray
    To think that this man follows in the footsteps of Clem, Jo, and Charles - is painful to imagine.......
  • Martin Gray
    Factories were closing all throughout our membership of the EU - only to be replaced with faceless warehouses on the edge of town with insecure and poorly paid...
  • John Grout
    Good to see the long format interview, but I think Liberals of all stripes will raise their eyebrows at Ed's support for a total smoking ban. I respect his com...