Diplomacy and Statecraft coverSince 2011, Britain’s strategy in the Middle East, in particular its response to the movements of the so-called ‘Arab spring,’ has been excoriated by voices from across the political and ideological spectrum in Britain, as well as from the region itself. Indeed, amid a push for renewed intervention in Iraq last August, Prime Minister David Cameron received a personal letter from church leaders including the Archbishop of Canterbury expressing their concern about Downing Street’s lack of “coherent response” to the myriad crises in Syria and Iraq. As it noted, his government’s policy appeared determined chiefly by “the loudest media voice at any particular time.”[1] On subject of London’s current approach to the region, the leading commentator and Director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding, Chris Doyle, likewise recently told audiences that “one has to question whether the UK supports democracy in the region at all… Let us not pretend for one moment that British Middle-East policy has ever been consistent, or indeed ethical.”[2] It is in the context of this much-disparaged strategic opacity that Philip Leech and Jamie Gaskarth seek to scrutinise Britain’s response to events since 2010 in “British Foreign Policy and the Arab Spring.”

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