Masked Palestinian Hamas militants watch the televised speech of US President Barack Obama in Rafah, southern Gaza Strip in 2009. AP Photo/Eyad Baba

The horrendous last five years in the Middle East started with joy at the fall of dictators in Tunis and Cairo. Zine al-Abidine Ben Ali’s flight to (...)

Saad Hariri, the son of assassinated former prime minister Rafiq Hariri, is so fearful of an assassin’s bomb or bullet that he lives in Riyadh and Paris. Photograph: EPA

Angered over Beirut’s failure to condemn an attack on the Saudi embassy in Tehran and meet key Saudi political demands, Riyadh has cancelled a $4 bill(...)

Druze men from the village of Buqatat carry a picture of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad during a rally in support of the Syrian regime at the weekend. Photograph: Atef Safadi/EPA

When Arab Spring protests against autocratic governments erupted in 2011, the common causes in Tunisia, Egypt, Syria and Yemen, the countries most aff(...)

Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad was told to ‘step aside’ by US president Barack Obama in 2011. Photograph: EPA

The Syrian crisis might have been resolved in 2011 if US president Barack Obama had not declared on August 18th that year that his Syrian counterpart (...)

 Syria’s president, Bashar al-Assad. Western powers want his removal from office as part of a Syrian peace deal. Photograph: EPA/Syrian Arab News Agency

“Assad must go,” is the constant refrain from US president Barack Obama, French president François Hollande, British prime minister David Cameron and (...)

Ireland’s ambassador Isolde Moylan with Palestinian president Yasser Arafat, whom she met dozens of times, in his compound in Ramallah in 2000

Since 2010, Isolde Moylan, who has served as a diplomat for 40 years, has been accredited to five countries: Egypt, Sudan, Lebanon, Syria and Jordan. (...)

A rebel fighter on the  the frontline against Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s forces in Aleppo. Photograph: Hosam Katan/Reuters

The Syrian conflict is being driven and prolonged by a war economy, by profiteering and dirty deals between militias. “Moderate” rebels openly form ba(...)

Lebanese citizens and policemen gather at the site of a car bomb  at a stronghold of Lebanon’s militant Hezbollah group, in the center of the predominantly Shiite town of Hermel, northeast of lebanon, which is about 16km from the Syrian border. Photograph: AP

The dock at the UN-backed Special Tribunal for Lebanon remained empty yesterday as four men went on trial in absentia for the murder in 2005 of forme(...)

Hizbullah memorial: captured Israeli tank lies amid other remnants of battle. Photograph: Hamzah Tahan

The outgoing lane from Beirut to the ancient port of Sidon is open but there is a steady stream of traffic into Beirut from the south. At the entrance(...)