Middle East

Ivory plaque of a lioness mauling a man, ivory, gold, cornelian, lapis lazuli, Nimrud, 900 BC–700 BC. [© The Trustees of the British Museum]

The Assyrians of Ashurbanipal’s time were just as into pillage and destruction as Isis

1 December 2018 9:00 am

The Assyrians placed sculptures of winged human-headed bulls (lamassus) at the entrances to their capital at Nineveh, in modern Mosul,…

Trump’s anti-Iran vendetta is starting to backfire

3 November 2018 9:00 am

It says something about the level of political discourse in America that Donald Trump decided to trumpet sanctions on Iran…

Right, a page from the Hamzanama, c.1558-73, depicting Elijah rescuing Amir Hamza's drowning grandson. Left, 'The Raven addresses an assembly of animals', c.1590.

The true face of Islam won’t be found in mosques or Muslim schools, but at the British Museum

3 November 2018 9:00 am

In Britain today, Islam in its original essence is not to be found in mosques or Muslim schools, but on…

Former Syrian President Hafez al-Assad and his wife Anisa with his children (l-r) Maher, Bashar, Bassel, Majd and Bushra. Photo: Louai Beshara/ AFP/ Getty Images

How did mild-mannered eye doctor Bashar al-Assad end up a mass murderer?

27 October 2018 9:00 am

‘How did this mild-mannered eye doctor end up killing hundreds of thousands of people?’ someone wondered about Bashar al-Assad in…

Did Jared Kushner punish Qatar because of a building on Fifth Avenue?

12 May 2018 9:00 am

New York Talk about high life this is not. I smelled a rat long ago, but then the scent got…

Benjamin Zephaniah once found the leg of a man in the back of a Ford Cortina

5 May 2018 9:00 am

‘For me rhyming was normal,’ said Benjamin Zephaniah, reading from his autobiography on Radio 4. Back in the 1960s, on…

BBC Arabic’s version of Woman’s Hour is rather different to Radio 4’s

10 February 2018 9:00 am

When the BBC’s Arabic-language network went out on air for the first time 80 years ago, on 3 January 1938,…

Putin the peacemaker

7 October 2017 9:00 am

When Russia entered the Syrian civil war in September 2015 the then US secretary of defense, Ash Carter, predicted catastrophe…

The good Palestinian

15 July 2017 9:00 am

Shubbak, meaning ‘window’ in Arabic, is a biennial festival taking place in various venues across London. The brochure reads like…

An object lesson in PR from David Cameron and Justin Welby

16 April 2016 9:00 am

I don’t think there is a Royal College of Public Relations, but if there were, it should teach a course…

Why are children in Guernsey extolling Islam to their parents?

27 February 2016 9:00 am

I have never been to the island of Guernsey. This is a large world and we have a finite amount…

'This will take longer than I’d thought' - an interview with David Cameron

12 December 2015 9:00 am

The last time David Cameron sat down with The Spectator for an interview, he was on a train and looking…

The pretend war: why bombing Isil won't solve the problem

28 November 2015 9:00 am

Not so long ago, David Cameron declared that he was not some ‘naive neocon who thinks you can drop democracy…

Charles Moore’s Notes: Jeremy Corbyn, fanatic

21 November 2015 9:00 am

When Jeremy Corbyn says it is better to bring people to trial than to shoot them, he is right. So…

Iran’s hidden war with the West – and what we can do to fight back

24 October 2015 9:00 am

When British troops were on patrol in Iraq and Afghanistan, we faced many enemies, from jihadis to press-ganged civilians. But…

The people who really need the Pope's help

26 September 2015 8:00 am

On Tuesday, Pope Francis set foot in the United States for the first time in his life. His plane touched…

Why the Middle East needs more kings

26 September 2015 8:00 am

Watch the videos of 1950s Iraq on YouTube and you glimpse something close to an idyll. It’s true that Pathé…

A French illuminated manuscript shows supplies being loaded onto boats before departing for the Crusades

What it took to wage holy war, Medieval style

5 September 2015 9:00 am

For most of history, religion and war have been the most powerful social instincts of mankind and its chief collective…

Cameron’s talking to the wrong Libyan government. He should call my old driver

15 August 2015 9:00 am

When I covered Libya’s revolution in 2011, I had a driver named Mashallah. Mashallah was a decent and stoical man…

If you really want to help refugees, look beyond the Mediterranean

8 August 2015 9:00 am

For all its difficulties, Europe is prosperous and safe: one of the best places on Earth. Many other societies have…

Even Nazis weren’t quite sure how to do the Hitler salute

25 July 2015 9:00 am

Gesture politics A royal home movie from 1933 apparently showed the future Queen, aged seven, and her mother giving a…

Vespasian’s Middle East policy (it should be ours, too)

25 July 2015 9:00 am

As Ahmed Rashid argued last week, it is hard to see what the West is doing in the Middle East,…

Some good came out of the negotiating chamber this week, but it concerned Iran rather than Greece

18 July 2015 9:00 am

As an occasional lecturer on the abstruse topic of the efficacy of sanctions in conflict resolution, I find myself much…

Christina Lamb’s diary: Meeting the mother of the Sousse killer

11 July 2015 9:00 am

One strange consequence of my job as a foreign correspondent is discovering beautiful places when terrible things happen in them.…

Migrants warm up beside a campfire on the Macedonian-Greek border (Photo Robert Atanasovski/Getty)

Ali Baba and the 300 hostages: the kidnappers who prey on desperate migrants in Europe’s border badlands

11 July 2015 9:00 am

In the heat of the midday sun, the fields and woodlands between Greece and the Republic of Macedonia look idyllic:…