What (or where) is Cobra?

It is reported that British Prime Minister David Cameron has convened meetings of Cobra in order to plan the emergency evacuation of UK citizens out of strife-tern Libya.

Cobra sounds really exciting. It evokes images of a venomous snake or – if you’re a movie fan like me – the 1986 Sylvester Stallone action film of that name.

In fact, the truth is much more prosaic. Cobra is simply an acronym.

It stands for Cabinet Office Briefing Room A.  Cobra meetings are held in Downing Street, within Cabinet Office buildings. In most cases, Cobra is convened as part of the Civil Contingencies Committee which plans government responses in times of emergency.


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