James Denselow

James Denselow is a writer on Middle East politics and security issues.


James writes regularly for The Guardian and has written articles for Middle East International, The Huffington Post The New Statesman, Syria Today, The World Today, The Daily Telegraph and The Yorkshire Post. He has been cited in many international publications including The Boston Globe, Voice of America, The Sunday Telegraph, Reuters and AFP

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James writes book, television and film reviews for International Affairs, Middle East International, The Arab and The Guardian

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See James's published work

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In The Media

James in the media - Watch James discussing Middle East issues on a variety of media platforms including the BBC, Al Jazeera and Russia Today
Hail to the whistleblowers PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Denselow   
Thursday, 24 June 2010 06:54

James Madison (drafter of the US first amendment) once wrote that "government, without popular information or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy; or perhaps both".

This is certainly true of Afghanistan, where the US-led coalition has been able to avoid a true audit of the impact of its presence via tight control of the media combined with manipulated patriotism.

To avoid greater tragedy in Afghanistan we may have to rely on a new generation of whistleblowers who are making huge personal sacrifices to challenge the official narrative.

Roadside bombs: weapons of the weak PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Denselow   
Friday, 18 June 2010 10:02

IEDs, which accounted for three-quarters of British deaths in Afghanistan last year, may make the war impossible to win.

Immortalised in popular culture by the Oscar-winning film The Hurt Locker, improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are the ideal metaphor for the American-led wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Despite all its firepower and money, the US has been unable to defuse these weapons of the weak.

What Viet Cong punji sticks were to napalm in Vietnam, IEDs are to unmanned drones in Afghanistan and Iraq. They remain the biggest killer of western troops. Of British casualties in 2009, 75% were a result of IED explosions.

The 1st Battalion Grenadier Guards recently returned to the UK after six months in Helmand where they had been engaged in more than 1,300 gunfights and had come across more than 500 IEDs – 62 of which had gone off. The US military recorded 8,159 IED incidents in Afghanistan in 2009, compared with 3,867 in 2008 and 2,677 the year before. Denis MacShane argued recently that troops being sent to Afghanistan were "IED fodder".

Review of Eclipse of the Sunnis PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Denselow   
Sunday, 13 June 2010 09:11

Eclipse of the Sunnis - Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East By Deborah Amos, PublicAffairs, 230 pp Reviewed for International Affairs - Amos’s book is a tale of the fallout from the invasion of Iraq and how it continues to reverberate across the Middle East. Amos, a veteran television news reporter, provides insight into the continued vulnerability of Iraqi refugees. Their story is a post-Surge reminder of who is bearing the biggest brunt of the consequence of the invasion. Amos’ journalistic account focuses in particular on how large numbers of Sunnis have suffered from the civil conflict that broke out following the fall of Saddam in 2003, and how this has upset the regional balance of power.

Last Updated on Monday, 14 June 2010 10:28
Denselow On Russia Today PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Denselow   
Friday, 11 June 2010 13:06

Scholar soldiers in Afghanistan are on dangerous terrain PDF Print E-mail
Written by James Denselow   
Friday, 11 June 2010 12:43

Using social scientists in military human terrain teams blurs the lines between independent academia and partisan militarism

David Cameron says Afghanistan is his number one priority. The doubling of operational allowance and the conveyance of messages from the England team may win the prime minister the hearts and minds of our troops, but the reality is that little has changed in the larger strategic picture.

Last Updated on Friday, 11 June 2010 12:52
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