Five Fast Facts about Our Man In Kuwait

Five Fast Facts about Our Man In Kuwait

 

An imminent invasion by Iraq, big power conflict: sun, sex and spies in the 1960s Middle East

In 1958, Abdul Karim Qasim seized power in Iraq. Many members of the West-friendly Hashemite regime were murdered by the military. This raised fears of a domino effect in the region. In March 1959 Iraq swapped alliances from the Baghdad Pact to the Soviet Union. In 1960 an Arab League declaration disputed the southern Iraq border. Iraq claimed Kuwait-based drilling tapped into their oil fields. As Kuwait approached independence from Britain in 1961, Qasim said Kuwait belonged to Iraq.  He threatened invasion. This is the background to Our Man In Kuwait. 

Much of the action in Our Man In Kuwait takes place in Al-Ahmadi, a town built in the 1940s to house employees of the Kuwait Oil Company. It’s social hub was The Hubara Club. With its Olympic sized swimming pool, formal dances and chatty bars, ‘the Club’ is where Gordon Carlisle and his wife hang out.

In Our Man In Kuwait Gordon Carlisle befriends Ian Fleming when he arrives in Kuwait. He is unaware that Fleming is working for Naval Intelligence and has been sent to check him out after a series of unexplained deaths. They discuss the  status of journalist Pip Foster who is supposedly working for MI6.  In real life,  Ian Fleming had been been commissioned to write a book on the oil industry by the Kuwait Oil Company. Although Fleming entitled it State of Excitement the book was never published because the authorities were unhappy with what he wrote.  

‘Ian Fleming goes on a private desert  trip into the desert with Gordon Carlisle to hunt. The prey is the houbara, a rare desert bird whose meat is prized as an aphrodisiac. The tradition of falconry goes back thousands of years. However today these birds are internationally protected.  In Our Man In Kuwait the party are followed by a gun-toting gang, leading Carlisle to suspect an attempted assassination. This photograph was taken from the real-life expedition.

When they meet up, Ian Fleming tells Gordon Carlisle he has been staying with the Beirut MI6 station chief Nicholas Elliot. The Lebanese capital was indeed a hotbed of spies in 1960 because of escalation of the Cold War. Beirut was the where Russian spy Kim Philby worked as Middle Eastern correspondent for the Observer and the Economist before his defection.  A romantic place of intrigue, with its casinos and illustrious nightclubs,mountains and seafront, it was considered the Paris of the Middle East. It is 800 kilmes from Kuwait. Later in Our Man In Kuwait we learn Gordon’s estranged wife has been sighted there at The Saint George Hotel which leads him to assume she is having an affair.

More Fast Facts – The Killing Of The Cherrywood MP

More Fast Facts – The Killing Of The Cherrywood MP

The Return Of The Isis Bride

Up until March 2019, when it lost its final piece of territory, ISIS had recruited thousands of young people from the West. A high proportion of the recruits were women.

Today Europe is facing a new threat. Radicalised individuals once committed to ISIS ideology return. There’s little armed conflict in the region which was once the “caliphate” in Syria and Iraq. But reports claim thousands of sleeper agents in the West remain a potential threat.

What happens when former brides or ISIS fighters are repatriated?

Many serve jail sentences. Last month, Belgium took back six former Isis brides and 10 children from prison camp in Syria. Some who renounce their former faith move on to work on counter-terrorism

What’s the public perspective?

Divided. Some see the women as victims who need another chance.Their lives are at risk in Syria. Shamima Begun, now aged 22, could face execution if she faces trial there for joining ISIS.

Sympathisers express concern the children born to former Isis brides are more at risk of radicalisation in the camps. Others regard the former Jihadi female recruits should never return to their former countries. They argue they deserve to stay where they are and consider them a future potential risk to the West.

No one wants them.

Is ISIS Defeated?

On January 20, 2022, insurgents affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), attacked Al-Sina prison in Al-Hasakah in Syria’s far northeast. The attack sent a message that the organization still has significant military, financial, and media abilities.The post-caliphate strategy for insurgencies is not necessarily contingent on territorial control.

 

How do former Isis brides feature in The Killing of the Cherrywood MP?

“Taut, hard-boiled, detailed and funny.” THE KILLING OF THE CHERRYWOOD MP covers the search for a neo-Fascist extremist with a vendetta against former ISIS brides.

In this HOUSE OF CARDS style grassroots thriller, an off-the-wall Private Investigator goes rogue to save her own skin and foils a deadly terrorist plot.

Do the press follow them?

Some repatriated Isis brides lead future lives in obscurity. Others change their image dramatically and hit the headlines again for different reasons, such as British born Texan resident Tania Joya who had a nine-month affair with a married Congressman Van Taylor.

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist

Five Fast Facts about The Missing Activist

 

Tories, Jihadi Brides, Harrods, Exclusion Bullying and Battle Buses. A quick breakdown of the political thriller The Missing Activist.

What is CCHQ?

The headquarters of the British Conservative Party. It houses central staff and committee members and maintains overall responsibility for targeting voters and seats. In addition, it shortlists and finalises the selection of Tory candidates across the UK for both local and national elections. CCHQ operates a phone bank for volunteers like Robin Miller, and features in The Missing Activist.

Harrods

Key Fact 2. A luxury department store in Knightsbridge, London. It’s where Karen Andersen’s nemesis Zinah al-Rashid meets her first Jihadi bride recruit in The Missing Activist. Charles Harrod began the world famous shop as a one-room outlet in 1849 but today Harrods houses 330. The State of Qatar owns it.

Fast Fact 3 In The Missing Activist, PI Karen Andersen goes undercover to learn why so many British girls journeyed to Syria to marry Jihadi fighters.

British Born Isis Brides

Fast Fact 3 In The Missing Activist, PI Karen Andersen goes undercover to learn why so many British girls journeyed to Syria to marry Jihadi fighters. Studies by RUSI suggest the draws include a rejection of Western feminism, peer influence, female romantic optimism and the chance to be part of something new, exciting and illicit.

The name given to a coach or vehicle used as both a method of transport and also a centre of operations.

The Battle Bus

The name given to a coach or vehicle used as both a method of transport and also a centre of operations. A major incident occurs aboard the BB in The Missing Activist. In 2017 a scandal involving a busload of Tory activists threatened to overturn the government and stop Brexit when the party did not declare costs in their overall campaigning budget.

Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual ‘executioner’ in Aboriginal culture who ‘points the bone at a victim to expel them from their community.

Who are the Kurdaitcha?

Kurdaitcha (or kurdaitcha man) is a ritual ‘executioner’ in Aboriginal culture who ‘points the bone at a victim to expel them from their community. If this happens, no one can contact them or mix with them. Victims usually die a self-imposed death in days. In Australia, the practice is still common enough that they train hospital staff to manage illness caused by “bone pointing”. Its modern equivalent is exclusion bullying which is a theme running through The Missing Activist and Fast Fact Five.

 

More Fast Facts – The Secret War

More Fast Facts – The Secret War

The Confucius Institute

The Confucius Institute promotes itself as an education and language programme.  Founded in 2004, it has 500 centres on six continents. There are branches at many British universities. The influence of the Chinese Communist Party over Chinese students in the UK is one theme running through The Secret War.

 

The China Research Group set up by Conservative MP warns that:

  • It’s monitored by China
  • China approves teachers
  • Instructed not to talk about Tibet or Taiwan
  • Students complain of being monitored
  • Affecting free speech by discouraging debates
  • Promoting Chinese Propaganda

 

What to the CRG group want?

  • Tabled an amendment to the Higher Education) Freedom of Speech) Bill to
  • force universities to report funding and activities
  • allow ministers to end partnerships with them over freedom of information concerns.
  • Sweden closed Confucius institutes in 2020.

Chinese Trojan Horse

US academic Lee Edwards described them as “modern equivalent of a Trojan horse, seemingly benign and apolitical, but committed in shaping our understanding of an authoritarian adversary.”

 

What is Soft Political Power

  • Opposite of hard power (aggressive)
  • Diplomacy and culture (manipulation)

 

Sweden 

Sweden closed its Confucius Institutes in 2020

Five Fast Facts: The Secret War

Five Fast Facts: The Secret War

The Official Secrets Act (OSA) is legislation mainly related to national security, but in unrevised form can include all information held by government bodies. It commonly required people working with sensitive information to adhere to it. In The Secret War, Karen Andersen has a conversation with her time to time boss Quacker reminding him that signing is intended more as a reminder to the person that they are under such obligations as the act is a law, not a contract, and individuals are bound by it whether or not they have signed.

In The Secret War, we meet Tomio Nakamura, recently retired as a professor of biochemistry at the University of Liverpool because of a scandal involving a Chinese student. In 2006 the real-life Liverpool University became the first in the UK to establish an independent university in China, making it a world’s first. In addition, Chinese now make up one in five of the University’s student population. So much so, British MPs have warned of the influence of the Chinese government on campus. Liverpool has a long history of research into tropical medicines. It played a major part in the developing drug treatments and vaccines at the outbreak of Covid-19.

The Communist Party of China (CPC) commonly known as the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is the founding and sole governing political party of the People’s Republic of China (PRC). Founded in 1921, with the help of the Soviet Union, the party grew quickly. The People’s Republic of China, formed on 1 October 1949, presided over by Xi Jinping controls the country’s armed forces, the People’s Liberation Army (PLA). The CCP puts a great deal of effort into the party schools and into crafting its ideological message. In Book 3 of the Karen Andersen thriller series, she looks for the link between Professor Tomio Nakamura and the  CPC.

A Transatlantic cruise or “crossing” is one of the most luxurious ways to make a journey between Europe and the America and embarked on by grand ocean liners of yesteryear. The Queen Mary 2 still undertakes the route regularly. Much of the action in The Secret War takes place on board the fictional Princess Hyacinth, which sails the iconic route from Southampton to New York in seven days. The voyage is 3,150 nautical miles, or 3,625 statute miles.

Biological warfare is the use of biological toxins or infectious agents such as bacteria, viruses, insects, and fungi is a crime under the 1972 Biological Weapons Convention (BWC). In contrast, defensive biological research for peaceful purposes is not prohibited such as that carried out at the Ministry of Defence’s Science and Technology Laboratory at Porton Down. Biological warfare is as old as civilization, but bio terrorism and black biology is an emerging threat to world peace.

15 + 15 =

Five Fast Facts: The Killing of the Cherrywood MP

Five Fast Facts: The Killing of the Cherrywood MP

The Killing of the Cherrywood MP is the second novel in the thriller series featuring London Private Investigator Karen Andersen. It’s 2019 and MI5 is set to release the reformed female Jihadi terrorist Zinah al-Rashid from prison.

The Killing of the Cherrywood MP tackles Far-Right politics which have existed in the UK since the 1930s. From the 1980s, the term has mainly been used to describe groups such as the fictional English Concern Group featured in the book. Their ideology revolves around the wish to preserve what they perceive to be British culture.

The exclusive Ritz Club, London’s most famous gambling casino is at 150 Piccadilly and is open 24 hours a day. It features several times in The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.

UK Jihadi brides returning to the UK following the fall of the Islamic State is one of topics explored in The Killing of the Cherrywood MP. Britain has by far the highest rate of repatriated former ISIS brides in Europe. Hundreds of Britons travelled to Syria and Iraq amid the rise of ISIL. Nearly half have been able to return safely. Only a few have been prosecuted in British courts. The country with the next highest proportion was Germany.

St. Tropez is a fishing port in the South of France. It’s home to ome to some of the most prestigious yachts on the planet. An unexplained death at sea is a subplot of The Killing of the Cherrywood MP.  There are 360,000 deaths by drowning worldwide every year.