Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir  and US Secretary of State John Kerry: there has been a decades-long relationship between the spy services of Saudi Arabia and the United States. Photograph: Jacquelyn Martin/AFP/Getty Images

When President Barack Obama secretly authorised the Central Intelligence Agency to begin arming Syria’s embattled rebels in 2013, the spy agency knew (...)

President Barack Obama meeting King Salman of Saudi Arabia in the Oval Office of the White House last September. The relationship between the countries has become increasingly strained, but the US seems a long way from abandoning it. Photograph: Evan Vucci/AP

The Obama administration on Monday confronted the fundamental contradiction in its increasingly tense relationship with Saudi Arabia. It could not bri(...)

In February, the UN Security Council was asked to investigate the deaths of 12 doctors in the Islamic State-held city of Mosul. It was alleged the doctors were killed after refusing to remove organs. Photograph: Mike Segar/Reuters

Islamic State has sanctioned the harvesting of human organs in a previously undisclosed ruling by the group’s Islamic scholars, raising concerns that (...)

The massacre in Paris, following bombings in Beirut, Lebanon, and the downing of a Russian passenger jet over Egypt, all claimed by the Islamic State, reveals a terrorist organization that has changed in significant ways from the West’s initial understanding of it. Photograph: Reuters

Defying Western efforts to confront Islamic State on the battlefield, the group has evolved in its reach and organisational ability, with increasingly(...)

US Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has blasted the House select committee  as a “partisan arm of the Republican national committee”  ahead of her appearance before it. Photograph: Brian Snyder/Reuters

There have been nine investigations into the deadly attacks on the US outpost in Benghazi, Libya, on September 11th, 2012, and none has unearthed any (...)

     Rupert Murdoch and Chinese president Xi Jinping: Xi offered  assurances to the News Corp chairman that China would remain open to overseas journalists, despite the government withholding residence visas for foreign reporters. Photograph: China Daily/Reuters

Chinese president Xi Jinping’s first official visit as head of state to the US will highlight the stark differences that remain between the world’s la(...)

A 12-year-old girl from the Yazidi minority who says she was raped by an Islamic State fighter, at the refugee camp she and her family now live in in Qadiya, Iraq. Photograph: Mauricio Lima/The New York Times

In the moments before he raped the 12-year-old girl, the Islamic State fighter took the time to explain that what he was about to do was not a sin. Be(...)

A US Air Force transport plane on the runway at Incirlik Air Base, on the outskirts of the city of Adana, southeastern Turkey on Tuesday. Turkish warplanes started striking militant targets in Syria last week and also allowed the US to launch strikes from Incirlik Air Base. Photograph: AP

Few were surprised when Turkish fighter jets launched airstrikes on Islamic State positions in northern Syria last week . However, the simultaneous ta(...)

Protesters clashed with Turkish riot police in Istanbul after the death of an activist during raids against militants by government forces. Attacks on police officers, soldiers and installations have also occurred in the country’s predominantly Kurdish southeast. Photograph: EPA

Nato is to hold an emergency meeting at the request of Turkey on Monday as efforts to end the country’s decades-long war with the Kurds appeared to be(...)

People make victory signs during the funeral ceremony of victims of a suicide bomb attack on Monday in Suruc, Turkey, blamed on Islamic State. Experts are questioning the assumption, however, that Islamic State’s defeat is inevitable. Photograph: Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty Images

Islamic State uses terror to force obedience and frighten enemies. It has seized territory, destroyed antiquities, slaughtered minorities, forced wom(...)