Writer Articles


The writer is currently writing a book on the Middle East and is a frequent commentator on international TV news networks. He worked for news outlets such as The Guardian and the BBC, and reported on the Middle East, Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa. ©Syndication Bureau.

In a year of conflict, the future of war looks very similar to its past

Even well into 2022, long after the war in Ukraine had started, the media were still “reporting the last war,” so to speak. The New Yorker headlined a report on the Bayraktar TB2 drone that was widely considered to have won the 2020 Nagorno-Karabakh war, “The Turkish Drone That Changed the Nature of Warfare.”

Gaza war shifts Russia’s Middle East relations

​From the start of the Ukraine invasion, Vladimir Putin has understood that Russia retains one immeasurable advantage: time. The sheer size of the Russian landmass, population, and economy, as well as Putin’s iron grip over the country's politics, means that the war could churn on for weeks, months, or even years without causing government-altering pain in Moscow. Indeed, part of the West's strategy in arming Ukraine so rapidly after the invasion was to force the pace against Moscow, to try to inflict a series of defeats on Russia that would force it to the negotiating table.

With the world's gaze on Gaza, Ukraine's leadership Is quietly split

With the war in Gaza reverberating around the world, it is hard to hear anything above the noise. Yet an interview with Ukraine's commander-in-chief last week came through loud and clear, sparking both an internal crisis in Kyiv and an international debate on the future of the conflict.

France’s decade-long Sahel strategy finally crumbles

​To France, it will look like a humiliation, on par with America’s botched withdrawal from Afghanistan two years ago. To Niger’s military leaders, it will appear a victory – as they crowed in a statement shortly after the announcement. To the rest of West Africa, it seems like a warning: the Western presence in the region is collapsing.

America’s allies are determined to avoid the Meloni Dilemma

​So much of this year’s G20 summit in New Delhi was focused on people who weren’t there. With the war in Ukraine on-going, Vladimir Putin chose to skip proceedings. When the summit’s closing joint declaration appeared, it was milquetoast, merely denouncing the use of force for territorial gain, but without specifying any particular nation.

A voice from France’s past offers arguments for Europe's future

Journalists know that authors with a book to sell often provide the best quotes. That, in part, explains the reappearance of France’s former President Nicolas Sarkozy in the news recently, as an interview he gave to promote his memoirs sparked a storm for appearing to support Russia.

Assad’s wait-and-see tactics will come back to haunt him

Given the warm welcome Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad received at the Arab League just three months ago, one might have expected rather warmer words from Syria’s president about the state of Arab relations in a rare interview last week. But no: “Maybe it's the way we think,” he said, “But we don’t come up with practical solutions … we prefer to give speeches, press releases and meetings.” It was unrealistic, he said, to expect that there would be economic results from the return to the Arab fold in mere months.

Wave of Sahel coups leaves only one winner - Russia

​So prevalent have coups become in the Sahel region (the belt that separates sub-Saharan from Saharan Africa) over the past few years that there was an inevitability that another would take place this year. Yet the downfall of Mohamed Bazoum, ex-president of Niger and a linchpin of Western influence in a critical region, was still unexpected.

Moscow may cut off Wagner’s head, but its tentacles go deep in Africa

​As the dust settles from the audacious — and swiftly aborted — attempted insurrection, the exact whereabouts of its architect is still unknown. Yevgeny Prigozhin, the brutish figure behind the paramilitary group, is meant to be somewhere in Belarus.

African peace plan shows Ukraine only has one way out, Russia has many

​Step back for a moment and ponder the delegation of African leaders that travelled to Kyiv and Moscow on a peace mission. Here were four African heads of state and representatives from countries on all corners of the continent making their way to the belligerents of a European war. Nothing could better demonstrate how Russia’s “special military operation,” a year on, has had global consequences.