Roula Khalaf

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Full name: Roula Khalaf

Area of interest: Middle East politics and business

Journals/Organisation: Financial Times


Personal website:







Education: Columbia University: International Affairs (MA)

Career: Forbes magazine (New York): staff writer; joined the Financial Times in 1995: North Africa correspondent, Middle East correspondent, Middle East editor

Current position/role: Associate editor and Middle East editor (oversees Middle East coveage and the Middle East edition)

  • also writes/written for:

Other roles/Main role:

Other activities:



Broadcast media:

Video: appears regularly on national and international TV & radio





Books & Debate:

Latest work:



Financial Times:

Column name:

Remit/Info: Middle East politics and business


Role: Associate editor and Middle East editor



Website: / Roula Khalaf

Commissioning editor:

Day published:

Regularity: weekly

Column format:

Average length:

Articles: 2017

Articles: 2016

Articles: 2015

Articles: 2014

Articles: 2013

Articles: 2012

Articles: 2011

Articles: 2010

Articles: 2009

  • Iran: The enemy within - Iran: Protesters angered by summer’s disputed election are increasingly turning on the regime itself,posing a threat to the stability of an already divided leadership - 12th December
  • Cliffhanger in Dubai's tale of two cities - 8th December
  • Stopped in its tracks - Dubai: As a city with traits of a private equity firm faces scaling back its hallmark brash development, tensions exist – and not only with investors - 2nd December
  • Reality catches up with the Gulf’s model global city - With Dubai’s decision-making wrapped up in palace intrigue, the rest of the world is left to operate on rumours rather than facts - 28th November
  • Why Saudi Arabia should rethink its Yemen strategy - Governments far beyond Yemen’s borders should also be alarmed at the deteriorating security in a country that has long been a breeding ground for the religious extremists of al-Qaeda - 20th November
  • Abbas hits out from the shadows - Mahmoud Abbas’s decision not to contest the next Palestinian presidential election is a reflection of how quickly and dramatically the hopes for peace that accompanied the election, a year ago, of US president Barack Obama have been extinguished - 10th November
  • Forgotten Yemen slides towards the brink of failure - Anti-government violence in the north, a secession movement in the south and fugitive jihadis throughout the country, allied to failing oil production, mean the southern Gulf state is destabilising quickly - 29th September
  • The nuclear options - Uranium enrichment: World powers are stepping up efforts to manage a dangerous moment as Iran moves ever closer to developing a bomb - 23rd September (with Daniel Dombey and James Blitz)
  • Iran wins engagement by obscuring intention - It was not what the optimists might have hoped for - Iran’s much-anticipated five-page proposal to the international community, delivered last week, made no mention of its controversial nuclear programme and referred in the most general terms to the danger of nuclear proliferation - 15th September
  • Triumphal in Tripoli - Libya: As he celebrates 40 years in power, Muammer Gaddafi has reason to feel more secure than ever – unlike many in the country, both foreign investors and citizens - 2nd September (with Heba Saleh)
  • The west struggles with Iran’s game - The election disaster has made the western ability to respond to Tehran’s moves trickier. Inaction is dangerous because it could encourage Israel to launch a military adventure. Rushing to impose new sanctions, particularly on petrol imports, is also risky - 25th August
  • Iran triggers a touch of hypocrisy - Western countries tend to ignore rigged elections in the Arab world that disadvantage Islamist parties, whereas Iran’s reformist opposition drew unqualified support - 7th July (See: Iran: summary)
  • No time for Ahmadi-Nejad to relax - So it’s over. At least that is what the Iranian regime has decreed. The legal path to reviewing the June 12 presidential election result, which goes through the hardline Guardian Council, has been firmly shut - 1st July
  • Iran: at a turning point - With authorities now determined to face down protesters over the disputed election, the stand-off is entering a potentially dangerous phase - 20th June (with Najmeh Bozorgmehr and Anna Fifield)
  • Lebanon’s cry for normality - The results of the election were a reaction to the fact that Lebanon and Hizbollah have become so inexorably intertwined - 16th June
  • A time to deal - Middle East: With Lebanon electing a pro-western coalition and Iran’s moderates gaining ground, peacemaking efforts by Barack Obama could be bearing fruit – but much more will be needed - 11th June
  • Obama must respect the choice of Lebanon’s voters - At a time when Obama is on a mission to improve America’s battered image in the Muslim world it would be a mistake to punish voters for their choice. Indeed, if Hizbollah wins it will be forced to confront its own contradictions - 29th May
  • Lebanon’s facade of unity exposed - The campaign for the parliamentary elections in June has revealed a country still divided by fear and hatred despite the Doha accord designed to avert civil war - 26th May
  • Obama opens door of hope on peace - The US president has transformed expectations about Palestinian-Israeli relations from despair to anticipation, but the obstacles ahead should not be underestimated - 19th May
  • Obama ready to end game of pretence - US leaders rarely use their leverage to deliver Middle East peace. For the current president’s vision to materialise, he will need a few blunt words with Benjamin Netanyahu - 15th May
  • Egypt errs again over swine flu - The government’s decision to kill every pig in the country borders on the ridiculous and the country even lacks the resources to implement the policy - 12th May
  • An assured Assad - Syria: As the Obama administration’s new Middle East policy offers it a way out of isolation, Damascus is in danger of a miscalculation that could cost it political influence - 11th May (with Anna Fifield)
  • Old troubles stir in Baghdad - As Iraq sells itself to the world more vigorously violence has been surging, and reviving some of the old fears that many had assumed were buried - 1st May
  • Arab states have a stake in Iran’s talks - Arab states will have to come to terms with the prospect of a US-Iranian rapprochement. It would deliver greater stability for the region. Tehran will not stop being a regional power. But it might be persuaded to use its influence more co-operatively - 21st April
  • Borderline outcast? - Hostility towards a two-state solution with the Palestinians not only puts Israel at odds with Washington but may also turn it into a diplomatic pariah - 13th April (with Tobias Buck)
  • Don’t rule out Dubai comeback - Even the most cynical residents admit Dubai is down but not out and that it will eventually make a comeback as a less exuberant and, above all, more liveable place - 8th April
  • The PA struggles for relevance - Without radical change within Fatah – and without American pressure on the new Israeli government – the Palestinian Authority will be in perpetual decline - 8th April
  • Islamic finance must resolve inner tensions - The prohibition on dealing in interest has saved the sector from many of the travails of western banks, but a closer look reveals that its outlook is not entirely rosy - 30th March
  • Things I’ve Been Silent About - A memoir about growing up in a turbulent Iran offers both a touching portrait of childhood and a political statement on the Islamic republic’s modern history - 24th March
  • Losers will outnumber winners in Israel’s election - Whether Israel is governed by a coalition led by Kadima or Likud, the public’s shift to the right ensures there are losers abroad - 17th February
  • Tests for Tehran - Iran: the arrival of a US administration more willing to talk presents the Islamic Republic with an opportunity as it enters its fourth decade – but one it may miss - 13th February (with Najmeh Bozorgmehr)
  • US has to deal with Iranian sense of grievance - Iran touts a long list of injustices suffered, without countenancing the fear and instability it has caused, and this will hamper discussions with America - 10th February
  • Arab squabbling need not paralyse region - No show of unity among Arab leaders could erase the farce that the public had watched for three weeks as Israel pounded Gaza - 27th January
  • Torn asunder - Israel and the Palestinians: After the Gaza onslaught, a two-state solution is further off than ever but, for all its problems, it remains the only route to lasting coexistence - 21st January (with Tobias Buck)
  • Obama should tell Israel to face facts - For a year the Palestinian Authority has negotiated with Israel on a peace settlement, knowing nothing would come of it - 20th January
  • Israel’s PR fails to impress away from home - When a power goes to war against a weaker enemy, it can lose the public relations battle - 13th January
  • Cairo’s balancing act over Gaza - So feeble has Egypt looked as the war in Gaza has unfolded that it has become the second villain in the crisis - 5th January (see: 2008–2009 Israel–Gaza conflict)

Articles: 2008

  • Why Israel’s military option is likely to backfire - Israel chose its timing carefully when it decided to try to re-establish its power of deterrence - 29th December 2008
  • Arab states can now help Iraq step towards the future - Arab states may have felt helpless during the past few years, but they too now have a chance to help shape the country’s future - 22nd December 2008
  • The tricky road to US dialogue with Tehran - The Obama administration will have to tread carefully as domestic politics threaten to unsettle negotiators in Iran - 15th December 2008
  • Fashion’s reforming role - The fact Arab first ladies are more visible is not to be dismissed as a detail; they are advancing the cause of women - 8th December 2008
  • Peace plan needs PR backing - The Palestinian Authority has revived the peace initiative, but could benefit from support by its neighbours - 1st December 2008
  • Dubai faces grim realities - When Dubai set up a committee to study the impact of the financial crisis on the emirate, everyone took notice - 24th November 2008
  • Obama offers new approach to Arab democracy - The new president offers a different vision of American foreign policy, one that the Middle East can engage with - 10th November 2008
  • Khatami dilemma echoes Iran’s place at a crossroads - The former president of Iran has an opportunity to unite reformists and send Iran down a less confrontational path. Some even say it is his duty - 3rd November 2008
  • Between Iraq’s needs and dreams - Hesitation over the Status of Forces Agreement with the US should not come as a surprise. Indecisiveness has been characteristic of the Iraqi administration, and this decision is the most important the government – and the Shia bloc leading it – will take - 27th October 2008
  • Syria’s second chance - Eight years after Bashar al-Assad took over upon the death of his father Hafez, Damascus is still struggling to decide on which road it will travel, politically and economically - 27th October 2008
  • Arabs should curb hopes for US president - The Arab world should look forward to an Obama presidency because it would make for a superpower more at ease with itself, less aggressive and less driven by ideological dreams - 20th October 2008
  • Saudi clerics imperil economy - Unless the clerical establishment is confronted, it is reforms and economic transformation that will be threatened - 6th October 2008
  • Sovereign wealth funds do not have all the answers - Sovereign wealth funds have been as confused as everyone else about the extent and repercussions of the Wall Street crisis - 29th September 2008
  • No oasis in financial storm - The implications of the bail-out of Wall Street on the rest of the world are uncertain and Gulf finance officials and central bank governors should not be so sanguine - 22nd September 2008
  • With friends like these, the US hardly needs enemies - The Bush team wants to undermine the image of al-Qaeda – but America’s own reputation is a far more pressing concern - 15th September 2008
  • Abu Dhabi must work on its away game - The Manchester City takeover came out of the blue – and the reaction back home was anything but pleased - 8th September 2008
  • Georgia crisis plays to Iran’s advantage – for now - The situation in Europe fits Iran’s delaying strategy perfectly – but the nuclear dispute is unlikely to go away - 1st September 2008
  • Arabs v Israel: an Olympic sport? - It is difficult not to see the region’s low medal count as part of a wider failure to nurture youth and create role models - 25th August 2008
  • Why Arab states must embrace Iraq - Last week, King Abdullah of Jordan became the first Arab head of state to travel to Baghdad since the 2003 war. From there, he urged his fellow leaders to re-engage with Iraq - 18th August 2008
  • High time UAE applied itself to education - Talent. Knowledge. Skills. These are the buzzwords in the United Arab Emirates. They are on the lips of every official you meet - 21st July 2008
  • The Mediterranean’s new union - Nicolas Sarkozy launched the Union for the Mediterranean at the weekend with the pomp and drama that befits his grand vision of an era of co-operation between the European Union and countries on the other side of the Mediterranean - 14th July 2008
  • ‘Arab centre’ needs introspection - High-ranking Arab officials rarely record their experience in office. For one thing, governments are like revolving doors, with many of the same faces moving from one portfolio to the other. As for leaders, well, most of them stay on for life, and so few have the chance or the time to write their memoirs - 7th July 2008

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