John Jenkins

Sir John Jenkins is a Senior Fellow at Policy Exchange and former UK Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. He co-leads the ‘Westphalia for the Middle East Project' at Cambridge University’s Centre for Geopolitics

Missiles alone won’t solve the problem of the Houthis

Eventually then, enough was enough. After months of Houthi drone and missile attacks on Israel and vessels in the Red Sea, the US and the UK launched retaliatory strikes in Yemen last week. But how did we get here? The Houthis have been a nuisance for at least 30 years, when they emerged as a

How the West made a mess of Syria

It was the last week of August 2013. I was Her Majesty’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia. The course of the Arab uprisings of 2011, which had been greeted with such naïve optimism at the time, had become bloody, not least in Syria. Only the previous week there had been a chemical weapons attack on opposition-controlled areas of Damascus in

Ayman al-Zawahiri got the death he deserved

At times like this, it’s tempting to channel Bette Davis: only speak good of the dead. Ayman al-Zawahiri’s dead. Good. But perhaps the moment deserves some more considered reflection. There’s striking footage (see below) of al-Zawahiri in the defendants’ cage during the 1982 trial of Islamic Jihad members implicated in the assassination of Anwar al-Sadat.

Iran’s hidden hand in the Houthi drone strike on Saudi Arabia

Over the past six years, Saudi Arabia and its allies have – not always accurately – dropped western-built munitions worth billions of pounds on both military and civilian targets in Yemen. On Monday, the Houthis, the Zaidi militia they are fighting, hit back. The Houthis claimed to have struck a number of targets in the UAE

Will we learn the truth about the Liverpool bomber’s conversion?

It’s been more than a fortnight since the bombing of Liverpool Women’s Hospital, and there remain plenty of unanswered questions. It is a sign of the challenge authorities face that even establishing something as basic as the nationality of the man killed in the blast, Emad Al Swealmeen, has proved difficult. There is also much uncertainty over the circumstances

Don’t be fooled: the Taliban hasn’t changed its spots

Has the Taliban really changed its spots? Those who advocate talking to the Taliban make the case that they have. The organisation, they say, has recognised the mistakes it made in the years culminating in 9/11. Others claim that the organisation is now committed to local and national aims, not international terrorism, and that the Taliban have –

There’s nothing wrong with Macron’s war on Islamism

It’s always the French, isn’t it? Not content with having given the modern world existentialism, structuralism, deconstructionism (with some help from the Belgians) and Marxist psychoanalytic, they have also, it seems, produced something called Islamo-gauchisme — allegedly an unholy alliance between some on the left and Islamists. And a lot of people are very cross

Britain is still failing to confront Islamism

How time flies. In March 2014, quite out of the blue, I was commissioned by then prime minister David Cameron to lead an internal review designed to inform and improve the government’s understanding of the Muslim Brotherhood. It’s been six years since I delivered what has become known as the Muslim Brotherhood Review. And on

We’ve become desensitised to terror

Samuel Paty, a teacher at a school in a sedate suburb of Paris, was beheaded in the street last Friday by an 18-year old Chechen former asylum-seeker. The reason for this act of savagery was that Paty had shown cartoons of the prophet Muhammad to a school class, to illuminate a discussion about civic freedoms

The Muslim leader who offers an example on how to tackle Islamism

The Christchurch attack has prompted a considerable degree of soul-searching in the West about the potential impact of anti-Muslim rhetoric. The need to tackle deadly far-right conspiracy theories is clear for all to see and the debate about how to do so continues. But what lessons might we learn from the response to Christchurch in