A Bit of this and a Bit of that.

Syria

The tragedy staggers on with outsiders wisely staying on the sidelines and trying to discreetly back both sides. That might not be immediately obvious, but think of it like this.

Both Russia and China are still opposing any active intervention by outside forces whilst making vague noises about stopping the massacre of civilians. They temper this by saying both sides should cease and desist. They have made it clear that in their view the problem is an internal Syrian one and must be solved by them. Russia continues to send arms to Syria but has avoided sending any further heavy armaments, such as attack helicopters.

America makes a lot of noise about how Assad must go and supplies the opposition with ‘non-lethal’ equipment such as radios. They are doing little overtly but behind the scenes doubtless they are more involved. They will not be sending in ground forces any time soon, but doubtless, the odd group of Special Forces personnel are having a nose around the place.

Despite pleas for heavy armaments, neighbouring countries are sending small arms and ammunition. Turkey and Jordan have set-up refugee centres, which are rapidly filling up.

It is still possible that the opposition may topple Assad, but without heavy arms, it’s somewhat unlikely. To date, no Alawites have deserted the ship, so I continue to think that the most likely outcome is the break up of Syria and the establishment of separate Alawite, Sunni and Kurdish entities.

Egypt

There is still something of a standoff between President Mursi and the army. America continues to press for a hand-over to civilian rule and Mursi continues to make soothing noises about the eventual shape of Egyptian society and peace with Israel. I have no doubt that the army continues to be concerned about the possibility of an Islamist government wanting a war with Israel and until that matter is ‘clarified’ to their satisfaction there will be little progress towards civilian rule.

Israel

Politics as usual, with Netanyahu facing protests about economic conditions in the country. The coalition has collapsed due to Netanyahu’s reluctance to introduce much-needed electoral reform, leaving him with a slim majority in the Knesset. As this is not an unusual position for him, he probably won’t be unduly worried. There is an interesting article here.

 

Literary Matters

Sales of ‘Kittie Cracks case’ continue to not break any records, but are occurring. The first review has been posted, thank you. All comments welcome, either on the blog or perhaps more importantly on Amazon. The question now is what happens next, a follow-on Karno book or the publication of a book currently with Emma the Agent? Then there is the question of should I make Karno available in paperback? I suppose the answer to that is ‘why not’, although the paperback will be more expensive due to production costs.

Work is about to start on ‘The Legend of Trembling Tim Turpin’. John has completed several illustrations and I now have a basic framework for the story. John is very keen to crack on with the project and whilst I am as well, my enthusiasm is slightly tempered by the thought that it will take a minimum of a year for Emma to sell the manuscript and of course, I don’t know what is happening with the first ‘Tim’ book. Both John and Emma see the concept as being a candidate for animation, which would be nice but the book has to be published first.

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The jury is still out on the ‘publish or self-publish’ question. As I suspected the problem with self-publishing is marketing, but I have no experience of being published ‘traditionally’, so I can’t say if the publishing houses are any better.

As always, your comments and thoughts are welcome.
Finally, the opening ceremony of the Olympic Games were impressive. Pomp and ceremony is something the UK does well.

@peterbernfeld

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