Ottoman legacy dies hard in Middle East

Even devotees of centralised rule concede they may have to give ground to federalism

Erdogan seeks limitless power

The Turkish president has wilfully cut himself off from any free flow of critical information

The many obstacles that Iran faces

A nation whose young population wants to open up to the world remains stuck

Religious curbs on Saudi economic reform

There is one lever of power the crown prince does not hold: the deal with the Wahhabi establishment

The fraying of historic US-Saudi ties

Barack Obama faces a ruling family under unpredictable new management on his farewell trip to Riyadh

Russia runs up against Assad’s defences

Moscow might have the measure of the west but Syria is another matter

James Ferguson illustration
©James Ferguson

Saudi’s alliances show America waning

Power often coexists with pragmatism, making strange bedfellows of sworn enemies

Confident Erdogan hides danger for Turkey

Boosted by the EU deal over migrants, Ankara is running risks with its policy on the Kurds

Putin keeps the west guessing in Syria

What is the Kremlin’s game now? The Russian leader might conclude that Assad has no long-term future

Europe cautious on Turkey refugee deal

EU leaders proceed gingerly with an emboldened Erdogan

This time it might be different in Iran

The coalition should be better placed to enact the economic reforms the country desperately needs

Iran should worry about the Russians

The repercussions of Tehran’s aggressive defence of its Shia axis stretch beyond the Middle East

Putin tries to eradicate Syrian opposition

Diplomatic engagement with Russia must not come at the price of turning a blind eye to its war crimes

A dangerous moment for Iran’s theocrats

The leadership has a preference for the Chinese model: open up the economy but not the politics

Iran poses economic challenge to Saudi Arabia

Opportunities eschewed by Riyadh will be taken up by their neighbours

Iran heralds a future without sanctions

Tehran has an opportunity to become a force for stability in a region in meltdown

House of Saud’s sectarian venom spreads

The ruling family, having incited Sunni-Shia conflict, will not be able to control it

A hole at the heart of the Syrian crisis

The lack of mainstream Sunni leadership is a blight across the Middle East

Kurds a bigger threat than Isis for Turkey

Recent events highlight how shaky an ally Ankara is for the coalition against caliphate

Russia fears start of jihadi blowback

Putin has pinned target on nation’s back and Sunni of all persuasions, not just Isis, will take aim


David Gardner David Gardner is International Affairs Editor at the FT, which he joined in 1978. He has been Chief Leader Writer, Middle East Editor, and an FT correspondent in Europe, Latin America and South Asia.

He writes columns, commentary and analysis, mainly on the Middle East.

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