News The roadside bomb attack that killed the Lebanese Prime Minister Rafiq Hariri in Beirut in February 2005

Nine years ago, Lebanon’s Prime Minister was murdered. But his alleged killers won’t be at the tribunal in The Hague as they haven’t been arrested. Robert Fisk says history shows the guilty will never face justice

Robert Fisk: Israel-Lebanon tensions flare after skirmish leaves four dead

Can a tree start a Middle East war? It almost did yesterday.

The oratory of war: In search of the few

Seventy years after Winston Churchill's greatest wartime address, Robert Fisk reflects on the power of words, the problem with famous speeches – and why the best quotes aren't in history books

Syria and Saudi leaders in mission to avert war

An unprecedented show of Arab cooperation reflects worries of fresh conflict in Lebanon. Robert Fisk reports from Beirut

Envoy to Lebanon rapped for praising cleric

The Foreign Office yesterday disavowed – and removed from its website – a blog by Britain's ambassador to Lebanon praising the late Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, a fierce critic of US and Israeli policy who was sometimes described as Hizbollah's spritual "mentor".

Lebanon ambassador sparks anger over blog

Britain's ambassador to Lebanon has sparked anger in Israel by praising a man regarded by many as the spiritual mentor of Hezbollah, it emerged today.

CNN dismisses senior editor for praising 'terrorist' cleric

CNN has has fired a senior editor for Middle East news after she published a Twitter message saying she respected a Lebanese Shia cleric whom the US had branded a terrorist, American and British media said yesterday.

Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah: Prominent Shiite cleric who survived several assassination attempts

As Lebanon's leading Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah was revered in Shia communities in the Gulf and Central Asia and helped to spark increased political awareness among Lebanon's Shia Muslim population. He was also the target of a number of assassination attempts. He had advocated armed resistance by Hezbollah, the Lebanese Shiite party and militia, to Israel's 18-year occupation of southern Lebanon, which ended with the Israeli withdrawal in 2000. Fadlallah supported the creation of a Palestinian state in what is now Israel, the West Bank and Gaza.

Spiritual leader to Hizbollah dies condemning Israel

Lebanon's Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Mohammed Hussein Fadlallah, one of Shia Islam's highest religious authorities and an early mentor of the militant group Hizbollah, died in a Beirut hospital yesterday.

New face of power in the Middle East

Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan's handling of the Gaza crisis has brought him into the spotlight – and his country into the centre of regional politics. Patrick Cockburn reports

Israeli request for more arms from US raises fears of regional violence

Israel has approached the United States for more bombs and asked Washington to increase an emergency arms cache stowed on Israeli soil by 50 per cent, according to the leading newspaper Ha'aretz.

Tension mounts as Israel tests its defences

Israel yesterday kicked off a massive five-day civil defence exercise aimed at testing the Jewish state's preparedness for rocket and chemical attacks. Israeli officials sought to reassure Syria and Lebanon that it has no plans to launch an attack.

Rupert Cornwell: A war that nobody wants

You don't have to be a fan of Dr Strangelove to recognise that wars can start by accident – that if the tinder is properly laid, a small spark can set off an uncontrollable blaze. First comes the miscalculation, a relatively small aggression that provokes a far larger retaliation. Then the concern not to lose face takes over, the refusal by either side to be seen to be backing down. Before you know it, a skirmish has spiralled into full-scale conflict.

Israel bows to pressure and admits arrest of rights activist

The Israeli authorities finally revealed yesterday that they had been holding a prominent Israeli-Arab human rights activist for several days and had accused him of spying for Lebanon's Hizbollah guerrillas.

Meccanomics: The March of the New Muslim Middle Class, By Vali Nasr<br />The Media Relations Department of Hizbollah Wishes You a Happy Birthday, By Neil MacFarquhar

Two new books lift the veil on Middle Eastern life, revealing both social and economic progress
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Where the spooks get their coffee fix: The busiest Starbucks in the US is also the most secretive

The secret CIA Starbucks

The coffee shop is deep inside the agency's forested Virginia compound
Revealed: How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Loch Ness Monster 'sighting'

How the Establishment closed ranks over fallout from Nessie 'sighting'

The Natural History Museum's chief scientist was dismissed for declaring he had found the monster
One million Britons using food banks, according to Trussell Trust

One million Britons using food banks

Huge surge in number of families dependent on emergency food aid
Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths 2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

2,500 years of history in 3,000 amazing objects

Excavation at Italian cafe to fix rising damp unearths trove
The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey, 25 years on

The Hubble Space Telescope's amazing journey 25 years on

The space telescope was seen as a costly flop on its first release
Did Conservative peer Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

Did Lord Ashcroft quit the House of Lords to become a non-dom?

A document seen by The Independent shows that a week after he resigned from the Lords he sold 350,000 shares in an American company - netting him $11.2m
Apple's ethnic emojis are being used to make racist comments on social media

Ethnic emojis used in racist comments

They were intended to promote harmony, but have achieved the opposite
Sir Kenneth Branagh interview: 'My bones are in the theatre'

Sir Kenneth Branagh: 'My bones are in the theatre'

The actor-turned-director’s new company will stage five plays from October – including works by Shakespeare and John Osborne
The sloth is now the face (and furry body) of three big advertising campaigns

The sloth is the face of three ad campaigns

Priya Elan discovers why slow and sleepy wins the race for brands in need of a new image
How to run a restaurant: As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food

How to run a restaurant

As two newbies discovered, there's more to it than good food
Record Store Day: Remembering an era when buying and selling discs were labours of love

Record Store Day: The vinyl countdown

For Lois Pryce, working in a record shop was a dream job - until the bean counters ruined it
Usher, Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert as part of the Global Poverty Project

Mary J Blige and Will.i.am to give free concert

The concert in Washington is part of the Global Citizen project, which aims to encourage young people to donate to charity
10 best tote bags

Accessorise with a stylish shopper this spring: 10 best tote bags

We find carriers with room for all your essentials (and a bit more)
Paul Scholes column: I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England

Paul Scholes column

I hear Manchester City are closing on Pep Guardiola for next summer – but I'd also love to see Jürgen Klopp managing in England
Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

Jessica Ennis-Hill: 'I just want to give it my best shot'

The heptathlete has gone from the toast of the nation to being a sleep-deprived mum - but she’s ready to compete again. She just doesn't know how well she'll do...