Ian Birrell

Mexican soldiers stand amidst poppy flowers and marijuana plants (Photo: Getty)

The war on drugs is stupid and counter-productive

18 July 2015 9:00 am

Rosalio Reta was 13 years old when recruited by a Mexican drug cartel. He was given a loyalty test —…


Crimean notebook: ‘They’ll have to break all my bones to make me a Russian citizen’

15 March 2014 9:00 am

Vladimir Putin still swears that there are no Russian troops in Crimea, so their mission is to say as little…

Burkina Faso President Blaire Compaore (

Africa’s Afghanistan

14 July 2012 6:00 am

Al-Qa’eda has found a new stronghold: Mali

Big charity

18 February 2012 3:00 pm

The aid business has grown fat. It’s time there was proper scrutiny


Hell or high water

22 January 2011 12:00 am

As his battered bomber hurtled towards the Pacific in May 1943, Louis Zamperini thought to himself that no one was going to survive the crash.

The making of the coalition

4 December 2010 12:00 am

David Cameron was despondent on the evening of 10 May.


That turbulent decade

23 October 2010 12:00 am

On 2 January, 1980, a new decade was ushered in with a strike by steelworkers.


Caught in the crossfire

24 July 2010 12:00 am

Maqbool Sheikh dreaded hearing a knock at the door of his home.

The hell I share with David Cameron

22 October 2005 12:00 am

Ian Birrell on the shocking state of the NHS, and the desperate experience of having a disabled child