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Patrick Cockburn

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Patrick Cockburn is an award-winning writer on The Independent who specialises in analysis of Iraq, Syria and wars in the Middle East. In 2014 he forecast the rise of Isis before it was well known, and has written extensively about it and other players in the region. He was born in Cork in 1950, went to school there and in Scotland, took his first degree at Trinity College, Oxford and did graduate work at the Institute of Irish Studies, Queens University Belfast before shifting to journalism in 1978. He joined the Financial Times, covering the Middle East, and was later Moscow correspondent. He joined The Independent in 1990, reporting on the First Gulf War from Baghdad, and has written largely on the Middle East ever since.

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Patrick Cockburn The Middle East crises Trump inherits could still suck him in

One of Clinton's senior advisers openly proposed giving less priority to the assault on Isis and more to getting rid of Assad. A force of pro-US militant moderates was to be raised that would fight and defeat both Isis and Assad. Probably this fantasy would never have come to pass, but the fact that it was ever given currency underlines how out-of-touch she – and Washington – was