Simon Mayall is a former soldier in the British Army, and an acknowledged expert on the history of the Middle East, and of the Crusades. Much of his 40-year professional career was focussed on the Middle East, and he has strong family and academic interests in the region. His last appointments were as the British Government’s Defence Senior Adviser for the Middle East, and the Prime Minister’s Security Envoy to Iraq and the Kurdish Region. He has written book on Turkey’s post-Cold War security policy, and a thesis on Jihadist ideology. He most recently published Soldier in the Sand – A Personal History of the Modern Middle East. This work is a combination of military memoir, family story, and an examination of the history, religion, ideologies and culture of the Middle East. He is a regular media contributor on Middle East and defence and security issues.