John Bell

Middle East

Russia's knockout game in Syria

A series of successful wiles and meticulous manoeuvring allowed Russia to become the main architect of Syria's future.

Syria's Civil War

Can we have an integral Syria without Bashar Al-Assad?

Some argued that without his rule, radical Islamists such as ISIL would take over Syria.

War & Conflict

The blending of Lebanon and Syria

Iran is a conquering shadow behind Lebanon and 'useful' Syria.

Shimon Peres

Gone is Shimon Peres, but so is his era

During his long career, he was involved in the good, the bad and the ugly of Israel's politics.

Arts & Culture

Lebanon and the land of Karagoz

Like the Ottoman puppet show, Lebanon's politicians are seen meeting and greeting each other while nothing gets done.


Donald Trump, demagoguery and attractive illusions

Through fiery rhetoric or utopian promises, politicians since ancient times have manipulated citizens into backing them.


Silk Road redux: The return of history?

The inequalities and oligarchies of the West have eroded the civic purpose on which liberal democracies are rooted.

War & Conflict

Here comes the Apocalypse, let's tweet

Most people don't appreciate - or even care - that we may be barrelling towards extinction.


Ending terror needs a shift in political thinking

It took a long time to get to this dangerous point, and it will take a while to get beyond it.

War & Conflict

ISIL and the misuse of the imagination

There may be lessons about the rise of ISIL in unusual places.

War & Conflict

France, Israel and Palestine: Same as it ever was?

The French initiative for Israeli-Palestinian peace follows a familiar pattern - and it's outdated.

War & Conflict

Iran and its neighbours

Iran's ascent during a period of severe weakness for many Arab states is a large problem.