Columnist

Sir John Jenkins

Sir John Jenkins is a senior fellow at Policy Exchange. Until December 2017, he was Corresponding Director (Middle East) at the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS), based in Manama, Bahrain and was a Senior Fellow at Yale University’s Jackson Institute for Global Affairs. He was the British ambassador to Saudi Arabia until January 2015

Latest published



Elections won’t improve the Middle East, good governance will

Elections are like London buses: You wait impatiently for one to turn up and then a whole fleet arrives at once. This year we have already seen Egypt’s latest presidential election, and in May we’ll have parliamentary elections in Iraq and Lebanon.

April 04, 2018

The dawn of a new world Order?

Just over 100 years ago, the great Anglo-Polish novelist Joseph Conrad published “The Secret Agent.” The story’s central character is a man called Verloc, who is in the pay of a foreign power represented by a diplomat named Vladimir, who presses him to commit an act of violent provocation against

March 22, 2018

UN has to be the forum for achieving peace

The UN Security Council last month adopted Resolution 2401 calling for an immediate ceasefire, the protection of civilians and unrestricted humanitarian access across the whole of Syria.

March 06, 2018

At last, the world wakes up to Iran’s malign ambitions

Signs of the times; you know things are changing when you find Saleh Al-Hamwi, a founder of Jabhat Al-Nusra now reportedly affiliated with Ahrar Al-Sham, tweeting his welcome for recent Israeli military action in Syria and urging them to do more to combat Iranian influence there.

February 17, 2018

Suu Kyi essential to finding a solution in Myanmar

I wrote about the situation in Myanmar’s Rakhine State last August, after the murderous attack on a police post by self-proclaimed Rohingya militants and the massive and often brutal military response.

January 30, 2018

US should heed the lessons of King Lear

In what is perhaps his greatest tragedy, King Lear, William Shakespeare depicted a king who surrendered power without really meaning it or thinking through the consequences.

January 23, 2018

How the Kurds’ referendum blunder has rippled through the Middle East

The once wildly popular German author Karl May, a favorite of Einstein and Hitler, wrote stories of the Old American West — which he had never visited.

November 14, 2017

Do not be too quick to condemn Aung San Suu Kyi

I recall 15 years ago, as British Ambassador in Rangoon, a lengthy and winding river journey to the ancient capital of the Buddhist Rakhine Kingdom in Myanmar, at Mrauk U. It was magnificent, a testimony to the power and wealth of one of the most distinctive polities of early modern Myanmar.

August 26, 2017