Martin Woollacott

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Full name: Martin Woollacott

Area of interest: EU and World Affairs (esp. Middle East, Far East, Balkans)

Journals/Organisation: The Guardian


Personal website:







Education: Manchester Grammar School; Merton College, Oxford University

Career: Sun, reporter, 1965/1967; Agence France Press, 1967/1968; The Guardian: reporter, 1968/1971; Far East correspondent, Vietnam war, 1971/1976; Middle East correspondent, 1976/1989; foreign editor, 1983/1989; commentator and occasional correspondent, 1989; retired from full-time Guardian employment in 2004, but continues to contribute an occasional foreign affairs column as well as book reviews -

Current position/role: contributes occasional comment pieces

  • also writes/has written for:

Other roles/Main role:

Other activities: member of the board of Institute for War & Peace Reporting since 1993, and joined International Alert's Board of Trustees in 2005



Broadcast media: Occasional radio and TV



Awards/Honours: International Reporter of the Year (IPI), 1975; Journalist of the Year, British Press Awards, 1991; David Watt Award, 1993; Journalist of the Year (IPI), 1994; James Cameron Award, 1995; David Watt prize, 1995



Books & Debate:

Martin Woollacott After Suez.jpg

Latest work:


Current debate:

The Guardian:

Column name:

Remit/Info: Foreign affairs


Role: Commentator - occasional contributions



Website: / Martin Woollacott

Commissioning editor:

Day published:

Regularity: infrequent

Column format:

Average length:

Articles: 2014

Articles: 2013

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2011

  • End in sight for a fresco - A massive fresco by Robert Tressell, sign painter and decorator extraordinary, and author of the Socialist classic, "The Ragged Trousered Philanthropists," is about to be destroyed - From the archive, 26 August 1970: Originally published in the Guardian on 26 August 1970 - 26th August
  • How cities – and governments – fall - With Libya on the brink of deposing Gaddafi, a look at the unpredictable final moments of other regimes - 24th August 2011
  • Gerald Brooke: the long hello - Gerald Brooke's return to capitalist society was dominated by a three-ring press circus of the most old-fashioned kind, and one not without a certain period charm – although the Brookes probably didn't think so - From the archive, 25 July 1969: - Originally published in the Guardian on 25 July 1969 - 25th July
  • Dead Reckoning by Sarmila Bose - review - A long-overdue study of Bangladesh's war of independence - 2nd July
  • Here on Earth by Tim Flannery - review - Words of hope from a prophet of doom - 26th March
  • Politics Weekly podcast: Egypt, crime maps and ancient forests - Can the British government offer the people of Egypt anything more than platitudes? Plus: online crime maps; and the plans to sell off ancient forests. With Rafael Behr, Michael White and Martin Woollacot - 3rd February

Articles: 2010

  • Sikh busmen win battle to wear turbans - The Sikh employees of Wolverhampton Transport Committee have won their battle to wear their turbans while working on the town's buses - From the archive, 10 April 1969: Originally published in the Manchester Guardian on 10 April 1969 - 10th April

Articles: 2009

Articles: 2008

  • The war on coherence - Two months after the Caucasus conflict broke out, some sober lessons are emerging for all sides - 8th October 2008
  • National insecurity - The Pakistani army must change its tactics against the militants if it is to halt a descent into chaos - 30th July 2008
  • Decline and fallacy - Is the US finished as top nation? Martin Woollacott on a book that offers too much reassurance and too few answers - 12th July
  • Cyanide on the table - The threat of war will not recede until there is regime change both in Washington and Tehran - 10th July 2008
  • Chicanery in Turkey - The AKP is crying foul over the attempt to rule it unconstitutional, but it too has been playing fast and loose with democracy - 2nd July 2008
  • Friends reunited - James Sheehan examines Europe's retreat from military solutions in Monopoly of Violence, says Martin Woollacott - 19th January
  • Charlie Wilson's flaw - You don't expect good history from Hollywood, but this cold war comedy is shamefully cavalier with the truth about US backing for the mujahideen - 14th January 2008

Articles: 2007

  • Win, win? - Annapolis: Saudi Arabia's decision to attend next week's conference is to make sure Arab states cannot be blamed for failure - 23rd November 2007
  • Why peace has no price - Is it possible for Tony Blair's economic measures for Palestine to succeed while Israel still controls society? - 19th November 2007
  • Heed Iran's dissidents - An attack would fortify Tehran's nuclear hawks, and we would all suffer the consequences - 17th Novemeber 2007
  • The grace-free Russian - Vladimir Putin is an enigma: some of his criticisms of western hegemony are valid, but his vision is frequently arid and lacking in nuance - 29th October 2007
  • Iran and the US must talk - Diplomatic structures are needed to bypass the rhetoric of conflict in Washington and Tehran - 25th September 2007
  • Joined-up solution - Martin Woollacott is impressed by Ghada Karmi's eloquent argument for a single Israeli-Palestinian state, Married to Another Man - 16th September
  • Beyond the bravado - It would be foolish to discount the dangers of a clash between the US and Iran, but they are more remote than the words of their leaders would suggest - 29th August 2007
  • This is a war for credibility - His motives are suspect but in certain crucial respects Bush is right to compare Iraq to Vietnam - 23rd August 2007
  • Where are we going? - Eric Hobsbawm's pessimistic view of the world's future in Globalisation, Democracy and Terrorism worries Martin Woollacott - 7th July
  • The Delia Smith of intervention - Martin Woollacott welcomes Paddy Ashdown's intelligent survey of recent western military operations, Swords and Ploughshares - 16th June
  • 1967: The price of victory - It was Israel's stunning success in the 1967 war that led to many of the Middle East's problems today - 5th June 2007
  • Mission not yet accomplished - In vetoing the Iraq funding bill, George Bush intends to shift the focus of debate towards the importance of an American victory - 2nd May 2007
  • The slow artillery of time - Martin Woollacott on Geert Mak's masterly pilgrimage to the hotspots of a continent's recent history, In Europe - 14th April
  • Appreciation - John O'Callaghan - 11th April
  • The importance of unity - Scepticism, as usual, is in order over a breakthrough in the Middle East process - particularly with Hamas and Fatah at odds - 22nd January 2007
  • Home and away - Iran's president appears to have lost the wider support he enjoyed across the country - just as the US piles on the pressure - 16th January 2007

Articles: 2006

  • A reluctant alliance - The relevance of Nato, with its strange mixture of determination and footdragging, is increasingly being called into question - 29th November 2006
  • The roads from Suez - Fifty years ago today, British troops were advancing along the Suez Canal. The operation proved a crossroads from which everyone set off in the wrong direction - 6th November 2006
  • Rising to the challenge - Iraq's neighbouring states ought to initiate cooperation over conflict in the region; western states should merely be ready to help if asked - 6th November 2006
  • Clearly the lessons of Suez were lost on the Americans - The events of 50 years ago marked the end of the British Middle East. For the US, there are uncomfortable parallels - 19th October 2006
  • The Great Satan vs the Axis of Evil - As sabre rattling mounts in Washington, Martin Woollacott surveys studies of the contradictions and complications of modern Iran - 7th October
  • Iran has called the west's bluff on the nuclear standoff - The US cannot risk imposing stricter sanctions or military action. Fairness is now the only option - 21st September 2006
  • Absolutes are not possible in the Middle East - Israel is bedeviled by its search for absolute security solutions. It is time it was abandoned - 27th July 2006
  • The new world immaturity - Newt Gingrich has read Starship Troopers one too many times. But his declaration of world war three represents a global return to adolescence - 24th July 2006
  • Blow for blow - Israel has lashed out after seeing its soldiers captured, but the likely conclusion remains a prisoner exchange - 13th July 2006
  • The Inshallah occupation - Bush and Blair agree that Iraq's future is clouded, and presume only to hope, and not to dogmatically insist, that the final outcome will be good - 26th May 2006
  • Cool heads required - My own starting point on the big question, of how dangerous a nuclear armed Iran would be, is that weapons don't make wars 28th April 2006
  • A turn for the worse - Hopes of pragmatic cooperation between incompatible Palestinian and Israeli governments are endangered - 14th March 2006

Articles: 2005

Articles: 2004

Articles: 2003

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