Ian was a former Middle East editor, diplomatic editor and European editor for the Guardian newspaper. In recent years he reported and commented extensively on the Arab uprisings and their aftermath in Syria, Libya and Egypt, along with frequent visits to Iran, the Gulf and across the MENA region. His book, a new history of the Palestine–Israel conflict, was published in 2017 to mark the centenary of the Balfour Declaration and the 50th anniversary of the 1967 war. He held an MA in history and social and political science from the University of Cambridge and a PhD in government from LSE.
Ian wrote for the Economist, the Washington Post and many other publications, and was a regular commentator on TV and radio on Middle Eastern and international affairs. He wrote the introduction to The Arab Spring: Revolution, Rebellion and a New World Order (Guardian Books, 2012); Israel's Secret Wars (Grove Press, 1991), Zionism and the Arabs, 1936–1939 (Taylor & Francis, 1986, 2015); and contributed to the Encyclopedia of the Modern Middle East and North Africa (Macmillan Library Reference, 2004). His most recent book was Enemies and Neighbours: Arabs and Jews in Palestine and Israel, 1917-2017 (Allen Lane, 2017).