Kim Sengupta

Iran’s hardliners are exploiting Trump’s rhetoric

A year and eleven months ago, Iran’s parliamentary elections ended in a resounding victory for the reformists. Last May, the reformist candidate Hassan Rouhani convincingly defeated his hardline rival, Ebrahim Raisi, in the Presidential election. Rouhani’s inauguration was presented as a celebration of the country’s democracy and stability. But last Thursday demonstrations began at the

Qatar can thank Donald Trump for its current woes

The deadline imposed on Qatar to agree to the demands made by the Saudi-led Sunni coalition has passed without Doha caving in. This was to be expected — the main stipulations, among the 13 made, had no chance of being accepted. The deadline has now been extended by 48 hours and the Kuwaitis are trying

How Libya became a breeding ground for jihadists

In August 2011, I was in Sabratha, the latest city on the road to Tripoli to fall to the rebels. After months of fighting, there was now a clear sense that the endgame was approaching in Libya’s bloody civil war: the trap was closing around Muammar Gaddafi. While admiring an ancient basilica in Sabratha, a

How Donald Trump could decide Iran’s election

Tehran Waiting to vote in Iran’s parliamentary election last year, Navid Karimi told me about his plans: to get a well-paid job with his recently acquired engineering degree, go on a road trip in the US and avoid dying fighting in Syria. Fifteen months on, as the country votes in a presidential election, I met

If only the Government had listened to Henry Worsley

Dust swirled up from Lashkar Gar airfield in the sunshine towards the blue skies; convoys were forming, line after line of bulldozers, oil tankers, 4×4 cars bristling with guns and men in wraparound sunglasses. The American private security company, DynCorps, had come to town to start Afghanistan’s opium war. Lieutenant Colonel Henry Worsley watched the

Monumental heroes

Leptis Magna was deserted when I last visited — no wonder. Tourists daren’t visit Libya these days and so I had the ruins to myself. I climbed the steps of the vast Roman theatre, looked out to where the Wadi Lebda meets the sea, then stopped. Men with AK-47s. My immediate fear was that they

Who’s running Libya?

When I covered Libya’s revolution in 2011, I had a driver named Mashallah. Mashallah was a decent and stoical man with an interesting propensity for malapropisms. He was regarded with fondness by us journalists — so when I decided to return to Libya recently, I sent him an email: did he want to work for

In Gaza, the siege mentality is helping Hamas

  Gaza The main entrance to Al-Shifa Hospital was crowded with what seemed to be journalists. This wasn’t unusual. They wait here most days for ambulances ferrying in the dead and wounded from Israeli air strikes; but this time there seemed to be more of them. Getting nearer, I saw that what I had taken to

The hero of Baghdad

Baghdad We shall slaughter them all. God will barbecue their bellies in hell. We trap and beat them everywhere. I triple guarantee you, there are no American soldiers in Baghdad.’ The last declaration was made while a US army Abrams tank could be clearly seen blazing away across the Tigris. Welcome to the world of