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Middle East

SYRIA-CONFLICT

Picking sides in Syria, the Algerian experience

14 November 2012 16:24

Some thirty-five years ago, in 1977 to be exact, I first published A Savage War of Peace, a definitive history of France’s war in Algeria. The war dragged on from… Continue reading

9 Comments
David Cameron is welcomed to the Al Rawda Palace in the city of al Ain in Abu Dhabi by the President of the UAE HH Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan. Picture: Press Association

David Cameron’s tricky tour of the Gulf

6 November 2012 8:25

David Cameron is on a tricky tour of the Gulf states this week. It’s not so much that he’s trying to sell arms to the countries he visits: 300,000 British… Continue reading

16 Comments
The hopeful phrase 'Arab Spring' cannot mask the march of intolerance across the Middle East or the fact that power rests with armed gangs. Image: Getty

‘Arab Spring’ is a misnomer

12 October 2012 16:58

What do you do when confronted with a prejudice so strong it takes your breath away? In my case, I did what was immediately necessary. I took a deep breath… Continue reading

123 Comments
Egyptian supporters of Egypt's Muslim Br

Better elected Islamists than dictators?

8 October 2012 15:46

If readers have a couple of hours to spare can I recommend watching a debate which took place in America last week? Not the predictably unenlightening Presidential one, but a… Continue reading

24 Comments
Riots take place outside the Germany embassy in Khartoum. Image: Getty

Film protests in Middle East

15 September 2012 12:09

It’s about time we revamped the rather stale format of the BBC film review show, the one that has that Nina Simone signature tune and was presented by Barry Norman… Continue reading

70 Comments
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The Muslim Brotherhood’s rank hypocrisy

14 September 2012 13:49

Western media and governments which are currently white-washing the Muslim Brotherhood should take note of the following, a classic example of the organisation’s traditionally forked-tongue way of working. Ahram Online… Continue reading

18 Comments
The Muslim-majority world rocks to 1,000 conspiracy theories about the power of the US government. Washington should not fulfil the stereotype. Image: Getty.

General Dempsey’s disastrous intervention

13 September 2012 16:35

When the Danish Cartoons affair broke in 2005-6 there was considerable pressure on the Danish Prime Minister, Anders Fogh Rasmussen, to issue a condemnation and apology. Demonstrating considerable statesmanship he… Continue reading

12 Comments
Iran nuclear weapons

Iran keeps saying it’s nuking up – despite what its Western apologists say

14 August 2012 17:39

The same problem keeps occurring for the megaphones of Iranian propaganda in the West: they keep being let down by their own side.  Every time another op-ed appears in the… Continue reading

49 Comments
Egypt's Islamist president-elect Mohamed

Plus ça change in Cairo

30 June 2012 18:00

Don’t expect Cairo to become Kabul now that the Muslim Brotherhood’s presidential candidate, Mohammed Mursi, has been sworn into power earlier today. There are real fears, of course, about the… Continue reading

27 Comments
Supporters of the Syrian President's reg

Al Qeada breathes again, but this is no time for dictators

26 June 2012 14:15

Two sentences in the speech by the Director General of the Security Service, Jonathan Evans, yesterday evening have drawn particular notice. They are his statement that parts of the Arab… Continue reading

3 Comments
Egyptian riot police stand guard outside

What can the West do about the turmoil in Egypt?

22 June 2012 15:00

The situation in Egypt remains perilous, as protests mount against the military government which has delayed announcing the result of last weekend’s vote. Preliminary estimates, overseen by a panel of… Continue reading

24 Comments
People chant slogans while holding a sig

Euphoria gives way to worry

1 June 2012 9:15

The slaughter of the innocents in Houla, Syria, has concentrated the West’s collective mind. The Times declares (£), not unreasonably, that there is a desire to stop what the UN,… Continue reading

7 Comments
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Euphoria gives way to worry as fog of war descends

1 June 2012 9:09

The slaughter of the innocents in Houla, Syria, has concentrated the West’s collective mind. The Times declares (£), not unreasonably, that there is a desire to stop what the UN,… Continue reading

6 Comments
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When spring doesn’t turn into summer

29 May 2012 10:07

A high-ranking member of Hosni Mubarak’s disgraced government, or someone from the Muslim Brotherhood? It’s hardly an enviable choice — but that is the choice facing Egypt in next month’s… Continue reading

29 Comments

The Syrian tragedy continues

27 May 2012 14:30

Last Friday, the Secretary General of the United Nations, Ban Ki-moon, produced a gloomy 13-page report about the situation in Syria. ‘The overall level of violence in the country remains… Continue reading

11 Comments
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Lewis Hamilton vs Ed Miliband

20 April 2012 16:53

Every so often, British sportsmen are prevailed upon not to go to certain countries, in protest at some usually-hideous policy. Now it’s the turn of our racing drivers. Yvette Cooper… Continue reading

36 Comments
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Car crash in the desert?

19 April 2012 17:52

In 2004, when the Formula One circus first travelled to the Middle East for the inaugural Bahrain Grand Prix, there was little sign of the storm to come. The first… Continue reading

14 Comments
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Gunter Grass: the tin drum and the tin ear

9 April 2012 13:47

This morning’s editorial in Israel’s left-wing Haaretz newspaper noted a double standard that was also a bad joke. Israel’s Interior Minister’s had declared, ‘If Gunter Grass wants to continue to… Continue reading

80 Comments

Today in Stupidity: Who Lost Syria?

15 March 2012 19:38

Perhaps I should apologise to Leon Wieseltier? His recent column is not a patch on Jennifer Rubin’s latest screed which may be the most stupid and contemptible thing I’ve yet… Continue reading

6 Comments
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Will Israel strike?

8 March 2012 14:27

While we’re on the subject of conflict in the Middle East, it’s worth pointing out the cover story to this week’s edition of the magazine. It’s by the Atlantic’s Jeffrey… Continue reading

30 Comments
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Defecting to what?

8 March 2012 9:12

The wires are ablaze with the news that Syria’s deputy oil minister, Abdo Hussameldin, has switched sides to the country’s opposition. His is, after all, the most high-ranking defection so… Continue reading

20 Comments
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What the Taliban want

2 March 2012 9:04

How go those talks with the Taliban in Doha? Quietly, that’s how — although there’s a report in yesterday’s The Hindu that could reveal some of what’s being said, and… Continue reading

14 Comments
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The Syria delusion

1 March 2012 16:44

Things certainly seem to be coming to a head in Syria, with today’s news that Assad’s forces have launched a ground assault on Homs, forcing the rebels to withdraw, and… Continue reading

56 Comments
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Hague’s ‘Cold War’ warning

18 February 2012 10:06

William Hague has gazed into his Middle Eastern crystal ball and doesn’t like what he sees. In an interview in today’s Telegraph, he says of Iran: ‘It is a crisis… Continue reading

54 Comments

Abu Qatada Should Stay in Britain

14 February 2012 13:03

I am sure Dan Hodges is correct: Abu Qatada is not a great poster boy for civil liberties. He is not a British citizen and seems to have abused the… Continue reading

27 Comments