Paul Wood

Paul Wood was a BBC foreign correspondent for 25 years, in Belgrade, Athens, Cairo, Jerusalem, Kabul and Washington DC. He has won numerous awards, including two US Emmys for his coverage of the Syrian civil war

Have the Houthis gone rogue?

The US and Britain really didn’t think they had a choice about bombing Yemen in retaliation for Houthi attacks on ships in the Red Sea – one of the world’s busiest waterways, carrying almost a sixth of global shipping. But the airstrikes overnight are unlikely to stop the attacks and in the short term will

Israel’s challenge

42 min listen

On the podcast: Anshel Pfeffer writes The Spectator’s cover story this week. He voices concern that support from Israel’s allies might begin to waver if they don’t develop a viable plan after the war finishes. Paul Wood – former BBC foreign correspondent – and Dennis Ross – former Middle East coordinator under President Clinton and advisor to

Can the killing of innocent civilians ever be justified?

Israel has made the first, rather tentative, moves of its ground operation against Hamas – but there’s nothing tentative about its aerial bombing. Here’s a report of one incident: at 4.30 p.m. on 10 October, an explosion collapsed a six-storey building in Sheikh Radwan, a district of Gaza City, killing, it was said, at least 40

Can Israel’s hostages be saved?

The last message that Shaked Haran saw from her father was just after 7.30 a.m. on the Saturday of the Hamas attacks in Israel. Her parents were in the safe room of their house in Kibbutz Be’eri, just outside the Gaza Strip. The message said that ‘masked terrorists’ were ‘swarming’ everywhere. ‘We don’t think we’ll

Paul Wood, James Heale and Robin Ashenden

23 min listen

This week Paul Wood delves into the complex background of the Middle East and asks if Iran might have been behind the Hamas attacks on Israel, and what might come next (01:11), James Heale ponders the great Tory tax debate by asking what is the point of the Tories if they don’t lower taxes (13:04)

Unholy war

53 min listen

This week: Paul Wood writes for The Spectator about the role that Iran potentially played in the Hamas attack on Israel over the weekend. He says that it is unlikely that the proscribed terrorist group acted alone and joins the podcast alongside Uzi Arad, former national security advisor to Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. (01:22) Also this

What Iran gains from the conflict in Israel

A little more than a week before Hamas carried out its Operation Al-Aqsa Flood, the US National Security Advisor, Jake Sullivan, said: ‘The Middle East region is quieter today than it has been in two decades.’ Sullivan was expressing a consensus view, one apparently shared by the Israeli government. Then came the attacks of last

Prigozhin sent ‘to hell’, but who gave the order?

As the first reports came in that Yevgeny Prigozhin had been killed, I spoke to Marat Gabidullin, who was a senior commander in Prigozhin’s mercenary army and for a time his personal assistant for military affairs. Gabidiullin is living in exile in France and well known as a bitter critic of Prigozhin – he was

Isabel Hardman, Paul Wood and Alexandra Shulman

18 min listen

This week: Isabel Hardman examines our curious obsession with glucose monitoring gadgets (01:03), Paul Wood wonders what exactly went on between Putin and Prigozhin (07:11), and Alexandra Shulman shares the contents of her weekly diary (12:15). Produced and presented by Linden Kemkaran.

What really happened between Putin and Prigozhin?

In the absence of facts, it’s hard to understand what got into Yevgeny Prigozhin. I spoke to the former oligarch Mikhail Khodorkovsky about Prigozhin and Putin and their odd relationship. He says that criminality unites and explains the pair. Prigozhin went to prison for almost ten years, for robbery. The legend is that he opened the

Prigozhin’s bid for death or glory

Up until this point, it was possible to believe that Putin was tolerating, or even orchestrating Yevgeny Prigozhin’s increasingly outspoken attacks on the military leadership and ‘the elites’ in Moscow. Vladimir Putin himself didn’t seem especially pleased with his generals. Only a few days ago, he turned his back on his defence minister, Sergei Shoigu,

James Heale, Paul Wood and Hermione Eyre

21 min listen

This week: James Heale takes us through the runners and riders for the conservative nomination for mayor of London (1:00), Paul Wood discusses how Saudi Arabia is trying to buy the world (06:02), and Hermione Eyre reads her arts lead on the woman who pioneered colour photography (12:51).  Produced and presented by Oscar Edmondson. 

Get Rishi: the plot against the PM

35 min listen

This week: For her cover piece, The Spectator’s political editor Katy Balls writes that Boris Johnson could be attempting to spearhead an insurgency against the prime minister. She joins the podcast alongside historian and author Sir Anthony Seldon, to discuss whether – in light of the Privileges Committee’s findings – Boris is going to seriously up the

How Saudi Arabia bought the world

What do you get for the man who has everything? Saudi Arabia’s ruler, Mohammed bin Salman, is said to have a $500 million yacht, a $450 million Leonardo painting and a $300 million French château. Now he’s acquired a new bauble: American golf. Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund (PIF) has negotiated a controlling interest in

The dangerous shadow war between Iran and Israel

Beirut, Lebanon The secret police tail was impossible to miss but easy to lose. Two men in Saudi national dress – white thobe and chequered shemagh – drove a large black American saloon slowly behind me as I walked on the baking hot road. I turned into a shopping mall and they parked outside, not

Meet the architect behind ‘Putin’s palace’

Lanfranco Cirillo, architect and interior decorator to the Russian elite, is shaking his head in horror. ‘Absolutely not. No.’ He is answering my question about whether he put a gold toilet and even a gold toilet brush into a villa he built that the Russian opposition says belongs to President Vladimir Putin – and which

Is Iran at a turning point?

Mashhad is Iran’s holiest city; it has the country’s most important shrine. It’s not the place for an Iranian woman to walk around without a hijab. But in September, Katayoun began leaving hers at home, going out with her head uncovered to join the daily protests against the country’s theocratic regime. A policeman struck her

How Syria became the world’s most profitable narco state

Lebanon Abu Hassan puts down his Kalashnikov and reaches into a pocket on his bodywarmer to hand me a small white pill. ‘Here,’ he says in Arabic, ‘a gift. This’ll keep you awake for 48 hours.’ He grins and adds in English: ‘Good sex!’ The pill is Captagon, an amphetamine known as ‘the poor man’s

Cornered: what will Putin do now?

41 min listen

In this week’s episode: For the cover of the magazine, Paul Wood asks whether Putin could actually push the nuclear button in order to save himself? He is joined by The Spectator’s assistant online editor Lisa Haseldine, to discuss (01:03). Also this week: Why is there violence on the streets of Leicester? Douglas Murray writes about this