Me, Clinton and the funding ISIS scandal

So it was bound to come out sooner or later; Me, Clinton and the funding ISIS scandal.

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Just Another Day of War in Damascus

From my back-dated Damascus Diary. Emerging from Hamadiyah souk the light is almost blinding, the shoppers silhouetted, the modern world outside the Old City is noisy and harsh; in the summer the heat slaps you in the face and where the traffic is frustrated and angry. The Old City an urban oasis offers protection, a…

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Take Your Bombs And Fuck Off Damascus 2012

Bomb in Bab Touma Square Damascus 21st Oct 2012 From my Damascus Diary: I have no idea now why I was in a good mood; my diary doesn’t mention the small details which is stupid now I think about it, I’m hardly likely to forget the car bomb exploding but that’s pretty much all I…

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Besiktas Carsi’s leader: Alen Markaryan


Besiktas Carsi’s leader: Alen Markaryan

Meeting Besiktas Carsi’s leader, Alen Markaryan, is a daunting prospect. The scene at his kebab restaurant in Besiktas on a recent September evening could be a set from The Sopranos: a dozen men sit around a table deep in heated conversation about football. No one else sits within earshot. They are the elite of the Besitkas Carsi leadership; dangerous men with violent pasts. Markaryan, dressed all in black, has a stare to match and is clearly someone not to be messed with. He is a revered figure among many Besiktas supporters, but crucially, hasn’t attended a game in months.
Markaryan has been criticised by some Carsi members for an article he wrote perceived as supportive of Erdogan’s government. For him, politics and football shouldn’t mix.
“The idea that Carsi was part of the Gezi protests was overdone. If you went to the park during the protests, you would have seen no Carsi group, no flags,” he said.
“All messages in our stadium are social messages – there is no place for politics in the stands.”
Further probing about the link between football and politics elicits only anger.
He takes my pen and draws a line across a page in my notebook. “I thought you came here to ask me about football? No more politics!” He gets up and returns to the table of dons.
Yet in Istanbul, football and politics are impossible to separate.

Stephen Starr for the National

Damascus The Sky is Black

The Sky is black again, another morning of explosions, nothing new, I woke to the sound of a fighter jet screaming through the sky, the usual sounds now, some days better than others, today is fine, accept really it’s not fine, it’s quite terrible but now we have learned to live this way and we…

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Egyptian Street Art

Scream from the streets of Cairo, the echo of an entire nation cheated and traumatized by successive repressive regimes embodied in one image etched into the tarmac of Tahrir Square.

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Revolt in Syria Eye-Witness To The Uprising By Stephen Starr

Syria is once again the focus of the worlds media, a bloody conflict that has raged for two and a half years, the use of chemical weapons by the Syrian regime has been splashed over the front pages of every newspaper from Abu Dhabi to Aberdeen, expert analysis on every channel. So now we all…

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Peace, Love and Freedom in Damascus

Another deceptively beautiful November day in Damascus, things had seemed calmer, the Old city was bustling with people, Hamadiyya was crowded with shoppers and in front of the Mosque the pigeons were being teased and chased, just for once there wasn’t a TV crew filming the normality and informing their disinterested audience that they had…

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