12 Sep 2014

We Give the Scottish Independence Referendum the Middle East Expert Treatment


These days, everyone is talking about the Scottish Independence Referendum, especially when they’re not talking about ISIS. But sadly nobody has managed so far to explain this complicated topic in an easy to understand manner. So we commissioned a panel of Western Middle East experts and asked them to apply their unique approach to the subject with their customary disregard for cumbersome nuance and the stifling requirements of accuracy. The result is this fascinating article.

On Thursday the 18th of September, Scottish voters will be asked to vote in a referendum on Scottish independence from the United Kingdom. The question they must answer is "Should Scotland be an independent country?" They must answer either ‘Yes’ or a ‘No’, in accordance with one of the central tenets of Western culture known as ‘binary oppositions’. This handy guide will give you all the information you need to know about the referendum and what’s it likely to mean for you. (Not much really, aside from maybe needing to get an extra visa.)

8 Sep 2014

Incredible archive of ancient unseen photographs discovered in Lebanon

Julius Caesar at Place de l'Etoile, Beirut
While working at a soup kitchen in London a few months ago, I made a startling discovery that revealed a secret archive of photographs from Lebanon dating back for millennia that I am now sharing with the world. A very, very old man approached me and I detected a hint of a Phoenician accent in the way he spoke English and I quizzed him I realised he is also from Lebanon. Over the next few weeks I built a relationship with the man, Abdeshmun of Byblos, and he revealed to me his fascinating story, and in the process revealed the vast archive of six photographs that he possessed which today we are publishing for the first time.

I wasn't going to make the story public but the appearance of this similar story in the press (A lost Lebanon caught on camera) recently convinced me that people are much more willing to believe fantastic stories, especially if they are accompanied by old photographs. Obtaining the permission of the reluctant Abdeshmun, I convinced him to share this unprecedented trove of archival photographs which he clung onto throughout his travels in the ancient and modern worlds.

3 Sep 2014

The Top-Ten Single-Digit Numbers of All Time

Even before it was published, this post has been described as 'the ultimate listicle', 'the defining new media article' and 'silly but accurate' by major news organisations and well-known pundits. The buzz surrounding the anticipated publication of the post created waves of excitement on social media and other similar clichés usually used by SM types. So what's the fuss about?

In short, we decided to boil down the listicle to is Platonic ideal. How? By choosing and ranking the top-ten single-digit numbers of all time in collaboration with a panel of experts on the genre. The results are published below, in no particular order.

6 Aug 2014

Exclusive: ISIS internal memos from Lebanon

The following documents where retrieved from a building that was occupied by jihadis from the Islamic State of Syria and Iraq (ISIS) in Lebanon following the group's recent entry into the country. They paint a revealing picture of the group's operations there and the type of problems they faced with local recruits. Click on the images to zoom.

3 Jul 2014

The Caliph and His Psychiatrist, Exclusive Transcript

In an unrivalled scoop we have managed to obtain a transcript of a conversation between Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi and his psychiatrist that reveals a hidden and complex side of the jihadi leader who recently declared himself Caliph. The leader of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria who now goes by the name of Caliph Ibrahim reveals his anxieties about the establishment of the caliphate and the toll the pressure is taking on him. For security reasons our sources shall remain unnamed.

12 Jun 2014

Four World Cups and One Long Civil War: A Football and War Memoir

Argentina 1978

In 1978 I was seven and I knew very little about football. But hearing the adults and my older cousins talk about the World Cup that summer made me curious. I remember trying to match their enthusiasm but it wasn’t easy, not least because we didn’t have a television in those days. My father, a military man both by profession and disposition, regarded them as unnecessary distractions.

28 May 2014

Combating voter apathy in the 21st century: Roundtable discussion with Sisi and Assad

The recent European elections highlighted the problems facing democratic systems today as a result of declining voter participation and political apathy. In order to explore solutions for this problem, we organised a roundtable discussion with two of the leading figures in encouraging voter participation, Egypt’s Abdel Fattah al-Sisi and Syria’s Bashar al-Assad. Both men have organised presidential elections that they are going to win, and have resorted to innovative methods to encourage voting.


14 May 2014

Five Maps And Charts That Explain The White Saviour Complex

 Five Maps And Charts That Explain The White Saviour Complex. Click on the images to zoom.




8 May 2014

Exhibition of Sisi's child drawings reveals early genius

An exhibition of Abdel Fattah al-Sisi's drawings as a child opened in Cairo recently, revealing a sensitive and artistic side to the man expected to win the next Egyptian presidential elections.

3 May 2014

Middle East Week Podcast on Presidential Elections in Lebanon

This week I did Middle East Week Podcast with the host Karl Morand, we discussed the presidential election in Lebanon and wider prospects for the country. You can listen to it here.