Pope Francis arrives for the opening of the Synod on the themes of family in Vatican City. Photograph: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

In his former life, Pope Francis was noted for his openness to people of all faiths and of none. In 2011, he said “dialogue is born from an attitude o(...)

A man purported to be the reclusive leader of the militant Islamic State Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi making what would be his first public appearance at a mosque in the centre of Iraq’s second city, Mosul in a video recording posted online on  July 5th.  Photograph: Reuters

When American forces raided a home near Fallujah during the turbulent 2004 offensive against the Iraqi Sunni insurgency, they got the hard-core milita(...)

Iraqi men buy military uniforms yesterday at a shop in Basra, southeast of Baghdad. Photograph: Reuters/Essam Al-Sudani

Reported massacres of Shia soldiers and civilians in cities and villages captured by the radical Sunni Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (Isis) are m(...)

Isis fighters  guard a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul. Photograph: Reuters

After seizing the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Takrit, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis), also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant,(...)

J Christopher Stevens, in Benghazi, Libya, in 2011. Photograph: Bryan Denton/The New York Times

A boyish-looking US diplomat was meeting for the first time with the Islamist leaders of eastern Libya’s most formidable militias. It was September 9t(...)

Muslim pilgrims climb Mount Mercy yesterday on the plains of Arafat during the peak of the annual haj pilgrimage, near the holy city of Mecca. Photograph:  Ibraheem Abu Mustafa/Reuters.

The young Syrian ascending Mount Arafat yesterday brooded about his war-shattered country, his concerns a common preoccupation among Arabs in the sea (...)

Protesters clash with a policeman during a demonstration in Tunis today after opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi was killed. Photograph: Anis Mili/Reuters.

Tunisia’s interior minister said today that secular opposition politician Mohamed Brahmi had been killed with the same gun that was used to kill his p(...)

Chairman of the joint chiefs of staff Gen Martin Dempsey, in a letter to the chairman of the US Senate armed services committee, warned against intervention in the Syrian conflict. Photograph: Christopher Gregory/The New York Times

Martin Dempsey, the US’s highest-ranking military officer, has warned against intervention in the Syrian conflict. In a letter to the chairman of the (...)

A member of the Free Syrian Army aims his weapon as he takes up a defensive position in Deir al-Zor. Photograph: Khalil Ashawi/Reuters

Syrian troops backed by Lebanese Shia Hizbullah fighters yesterday clashed with rebels near the gold-domed shrine of Sayida Zeinab, tomb of the gra(...)