Middle East

Mean Girls and meaner trolls: the rise of Twitter diplomacy

9 June 2018 10:46

You can tell a lot about a leader by the diplomats they choose to represent them. Brezhnev had Anatoly Dobrynin,…

Israel vs Iran: will the conflict escalate further?

10 May 2018 10:59

Jerusalem It’s a sunny day in Jerusalem where Israelis are waking up to fresh conflict on the country’s border with…

The West has shamefully abandoned its Kurdish allies

28 March 2018 10:59

Not for the first time, Kurds in Iraq and Syria are facing an uncertain future. In Syria, an estimated 150,000 people…

How a Twitter spat exposed the growing power struggle in the Middle East

5 January 2018 8:00

Donald Trump is the most famous advocate of Twitter diplomacy but he is not the only high-profile politician to delight…

The West is failing to learn its lesson from the fight against Isis

11 December 2017 11:12

The last Isis-held town in Iraq, Rawa, has fallen; across the border in Syria, the Russians declared a ‘total rout of…

The Louvre Abu Dhabi: the best – and worst – of globalisation

20 November 2017 17:19

The headlines announcing the opening of the dome-shaped Louvre Abu Dhabi are a cornucopia of superlatives. ‘Spectacular palace of culture…

Meet the man who created the Middle East

20 November 2016 12:30

When turbaned warriors from Daesh (or Isis) advanced on Raqqa in Syria two years ago, they whooped wildly about having…

Christian criticism of Israel is myopic

24 September 2016 9:00

A Methodist church in Hinde Street, London, is exhibiting ‘You cannot pass today: Life through a dividing wall’, a reconstruction…

The Middle East could teach America a few things about ‘terror’

20 September 2016 16:52

I was a little less than three blocks away on West 26th street when I heard the blast. Twenty-two years of…

To call it ‘provincial’ would be an insult to the provinces: Bayreuth Festival’s Parsifal reviewed

10 August 2016 17:08

Parsifal Bayreuth Festival, until 28 August In the days leading up to this year’s Bayreuth Festival, Bavaria was rocked by a…

The EU has become a victim of Obama’s Middle East policy

15 April 2016 10:12

A Middle Eastern friend put to me the other day a point so big that I felt silly for not…

Islamic State is reviving an unfashionable concept: primitivism

19 February 2016 10:45

What do they mean, these Islamofascists, by using children in their publicity films? Last month one of their films featured a…

The ground forces problem

8 December 2015 18:33

As the row over David Cameron saying that the Joint Intelligence Committee estimate there to be 70,000 potential anti-Islamic State…

Western weakness presents Putin with an opportunity in Syria

20 November 2015 17:54

The West has failed in its principal, post 9/11 objective: to deny terrorists sanctuary. Islamic State is a terrorist enclave…

Why I didn’t sing La Marseillaise last night

18 November 2015 12:10

When Patrice Evra and the French national football team lined up at Wembley last night, it was a moment of…

Our policy towards Islamic State makes no sense

6 November 2015 13:24

If Islamic State is a threat to Britain that requires a military response, then surely we should be attacking it…

Don’t believe rumours of an ‘imminent’ Saudi coup

28 October 2015 16:16

During the past month, news about domestic Saudi Arabian politics has been dominated by frenzied speculation over an imminent coup…

Whatever happened to critical thinking in foreign policy?

21 September 2015 17:16

Now that the Middle East is basically moving to Europe after Germany did the national equivalent of advertising a house…

Now we know where the celebrated ‘Ummah’ is

12 September 2015 17:24

Earlier this week I asked where the celebrated ‘Ummah’ is when it comes to Muslim refugees. I think we now…

Where is the ‘Ummah’ now?

7 September 2015 17:29

I have just returned from a trip abroad to find Britain and Europe in a state of madness. I will…

The plight of Syria’s refugees deserves more than your good intentions and virtue signalling

6 September 2015 14:26

I suppose it should not be a surprise that the virtue signalling over the appalling plight of Syrian refugees displaced by that…

Why is Michael Fallon cosying up to General al-Sisi?

9 August 2015 9:59

Michael Fallon, the Defence Secretary, was in Egypt this week for the opening of the ‘New Suez Canal’ (in fact an extension…

Why Yemen is quickly becoming the new Syria

4 August 2015 12:45

Though it hasn’t been hitting the headlines recently, the situation in Yemen has been rapidly deteriorating and looks set to grow…

An historic day for Iran and a horrifying one for Israel

14 July 2015 16:48

When the Shah of Iran gave the order to create the Atomic Energy Organisation of Iran (AEOI) in 1974 it…

Tony Blair’s new job shows how self-important and detached he has become

4 June 2015 17:49

A spectre is haunting the world: the spectre of Tony Blair’s ego. Mr Blair has wasted eight years pretending to…