Middle East

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Who is optimistic about the Middle East now?

3 August 2013 14:23

This weekend’s closing of US embassies in the Muslim world and the British embassy in Yemen combined with the warning to Americans about overseas travel is another reminder that the… Continue reading

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A Palestinian man holds a placard demanding the release of prisoners ahead of the latest talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders. (MAHMUD HAMS/AFP/Getty Images)

Freeing terrorists for peace?

30 July 2013 14:16

Amid all the bloodshed in Egypt and Syria at the moment the fact that the Israelis and Palestinians are once again at the negotiating table has received less notice than… Continue reading

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A boy climbs on a bonfire made from pallets and old tyres on the Loyalist Ballycraigy estate in Antrim, near Belfast. (Image: Getty)

Ulster’s Orangemen show that Britain can do internecine vindictiveness too

11 July 2013 10:23

This all looks terribly good fun, don’t you think? Spectacular towers which will make wonderful bonfires: it must have taken them ages. My only caveat is that they are all… Continue reading

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A Syrian army tank patrols an area in th

Cameron wants to change the military balance in Syria, but how do you do that without arming the Islamists?

16 June 2013 18:20

David Cameron and Vladimir Putin have just concluded their pre G8 talks, the main topic of which was Syria. Cameron wants to use the next few days to try and… Continue reading

64 Comments
Image: John Slinger

A mass grave and a refugee camp for Syrians – Iraqi Kurdistan teaches that military intervention can work

10 June 2013 17:16

Two experiences stand out from my recent visit to the Kurdistan Region in Iraq: meeting refugees fleeing Syria at the Domiz refugee camp; and seeing a weeping son uncovering the… Continue reading

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Syria: What has changed to make western intervention a necessary or realistic policy?

6 June 2013 11:01

Peter Oborne is back in his David-Cameron-is-not-Disraeli-he’s-mad mode this week. He accuses the Prime Minister of losing the plot over Syria. As always, the ghosts of Iraq stalk this debate… Continue reading

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William Hague led this afternoon's Commons debate on Europe. Picture: Getty

Does William Hague know what he is doing with Syria?

31 May 2013 11:16

A week or so after the murder of a British soldier by two psychopathic savages in Woolwich, the Foreign Secretary William Hague is back pleading with our European partners to… Continue reading

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A picture taken of protests taking place on Jerusalem Day held earlier in the week. (MENAHEM KAHANA/AFP/Getty Images)

Stephen Hawking shamefully boycotts Israel

10 May 2013 11:32

I thought readers might be interested in this piece by me in today’s Mail. It is on the appalling decision by Stephen Hawking to boycott a conference in Israel just… Continue reading

678 Comments
Jerusalem Security Heightened Amid Threat Of Attacks

Death of the Two-State Solution

12 March 2013 13:49

At the (rejuvenated) New Republic, Ben Birnbaum has a comprehensive and comprehensively-depressing survey of the last-gasp prospects for a two-state solution to the Middle East ‘peace process’. If the two-state… Continue reading

36 Comments
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No, the Syrian civil war is not "Obama's Rwanda"

28 February 2013 15:30

Today’s Question To Which the Answer Is No is asked by Will Inboden over at Foreign Policy. To wit: Has Syria Become Obama’s Rwanda? There are many reasons why it… Continue reading

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Jack Straw Is Recalled To Give Evidence At the Iraq Inquiry

Jack Straw’s parting gift

27 February 2013 15:58

Jack Straw cropped up in the Telegraph yesterday claiming that even if Iran does acquire nuclear weapons it wouldn’t be worth going to war over. This, it will be remembered,… Continue reading

38 Comments
SYRIA-CONFLICT

What Iran wants in Syria

10 February 2013 21:26

The Washington Post has an important story about how the Iranian regime is preparing for post-Assad Syria. The paper reports that American and Middle Eastern governments believe that Tehran is… Continue reading

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Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad delivers a speech under a portrait of Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Image: Getty

Breakfast with the Supreme Leader

5 February 2013 8:13

I have a piece in the Wall Street Journal (Europe) this morning: ‘Take Iran At Its Word’ can be found online here. The piece asks what is required to stop… Continue reading

3 Comments
Netanyahu Casts His Vote In Israel's General Election

Israel Votes and Hope Loses - Spectator Blogs

22 January 2013 16:18

Today’s Israeli election does not, it is fair to say, take place in at a moment of supreme hope in the Middle East. Quite the contrary. This is an election… Continue reading

8 Comments
A political opponent of the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt is bound in gaol. Image: Getty

BBC begins to see that the Arab Spring has not sprung

11 December 2012 10:18

Hugely exciting Ten O Clock News last night on the Arab Spring – or ‘Arab Uprising’ as the BBC now prefers to call it, the word Spring usually being associated… Continue reading

81 Comments
Bashar Assad, back when he was a 'goodie', meeting President Khatami of Iran in 2001. Image: Getty.

Tyranny’s fellow travel writers (Part 3)

9 December 2012 19:21

Earlier this year I noted a piece by Michael Moynihan in Foreign Policy. He looked at how the authors of the Rough Guide and Lonely Planet guide books were producing… Continue reading

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Mahmoud Abbas addressing the United Nations earlier this evening. Image: Getty.

Abbas and the death of the two-state solution

29 November 2012 22:19

If anybody still wonders why there has not been a two-state solution long ago to the most famous – albeit least bloody – Middle East conflict, tonight’s UN speech by… Continue reading

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Egypt's Mohammed Mursi has won plaudits from, among others, the UN's Ban Ki-Moon, even while he strengthens his grip on power. Image: Getty.

Israel under Islamist siege

23 November 2012 13:27

I have a piece in the Wall Street Journal (Europe) today on the pyrrhic ceasefire between Israel and Hamas. Also – this week’s magazine carries a cover piece by me… Continue reading

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Benjamin Netanyahu's government has been heavily criticised in Israel in recent days. Image: Getty

Operation Pillar of Defence leads Israel to strategic failure

22 November 2012 16:56

Last night’s ceasefire is a strategic failure for Israel. While the end of military action must be welcomed, it is hard to see what Netanyahu has achieved beyond the killing… Continue reading

46 Comments
Palestinian Continues To Launch Rocket Attacks On Israeli Towns As Israel Continues Airstrikes On Gaza

Israel's Tragedy: Even If She Wins She Loses - Spectator Blogs

21 November 2012 17:10

Next time someone bores on about the so-called decline of the British literary novel you might consider pointing out to your dinner-party companion that this is not such a bad… Continue reading

31 Comments
Image: Getty

Hopeless in Gaza

21 November 2012 10:50

I have already tweeted my feeling of utter despondency at the situation in Gaza. I feel hopeless, both in the sense of having no hope and in the sense of… Continue reading

25 Comments
Image: Getty

The Gazan conflict poses a dilemma for Mohammed Morsi

19 November 2012 17:34

As tensions between Israel and Gaza continue to flare, the real story is what’s happening in Cairo. The conflict represents an acute crisis for the Muslim Brotherhood, which knows the… Continue reading

40 Comments
Wole Soyinka, Nobel laureate and a key figure in Nigeria's independence movement, has told the Spectator that  Boko Haram must be destroyed. Image: Getty

Wole Soyinka: Boko Haram must be destroyed

18 November 2012 17:46

The Books Blog has an interview with Wole Soyinka, the Nigerian author who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1986. Soyinka is worth listening to for his ambivalence towards… Continue reading

11 Comments
Jordanians have been protesting today over the price of fuel. King Abdullah has responded passively. Image: Getty.

Jordanians protest against King Abdullah

16 November 2012 17:11

Large protests have gripped parts of the Jordanian capital, Amman, today in a country where criticism of the king is punishable by three years in prison. King Abdullah has been… Continue reading

20 Comments
Jusified Israel's public relations problem. Image: The front page of the Washington Post

Israel’s public relations problem

15 November 2012 12:39

The front page of today’s Washington Post shows a picture of the BBC’s Jihad Masharawi holding his dead 11-month-old son, an innocent victim of Israeli action against Hamas’ paramilitary targets following months of… Continue reading

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