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Irish Special Forces (the Army Ranger Wing) operated in Western-occupied Afghanistan under NATO command, it was revealed last month, thanks to TD Clare Daly’s parliamentary question. The story received no media coverage. The operational purpose of these troops was not revealed. However, like Special Forces the world over, it was not pencils they were sharpening.
The Prophet Mohammad, when asked why he had never visited Damascus, replied that you "only enter paradise once". Thus advised, I joined a group of international peace activists on a tour of Syria.
What an awful few days there has been again in this world in which we live.
Insider has been a keen observer and participant in political affairs for close on 40 years, and one of the biggest changes he has seen in that time is the decline in the standard of political reporting and analysis, seemingly deteriorating at a quickening pace with the passing years.