About 2017-12-21T15:16:03+00:00

Why Mashrek?

The term Mashrek originates from the Arabic root sha-ra-qa or “where the sun rises” and the east. The word is used to encapsulate the overarching eastern region which includes all the Arab countries to the east of Cairo and north of the Arabian Peninsula including Lebanon , Syria , Iraq , Turkey and Jordan, Saudi Arabia , Bahrain , Qatar , UAE , Oman , Yemen, Egypt. From a historical context, Mashrek also referred to as Bilad al-Sham is not only a geographical expression but includes a vision for policy. Within the region, major conflicts have taken place within the Muslim world both of which arose from large global geo-strategic and geo-political interests.


Observatory Mashrek is a specialised information platform addressing major issues on the Middle East and Central Asia. Observatory Mashrek is designed and run by Nino Orto and supported by fellow journalists, industry experts, and entries in the field. Observatory Mashrek aims to provide the reader with fresh analysis about the events evolving in the Arab-Muslim world with a blend of historical and contemporary research and reporting. Honesty, objectivity, transparency, and field presence are the characteristics which distinguish us. Our approach is multi-layered and one which seeks to analyse the geo-political and geo-strategic developments from different points of views and perspectives. In a world of information increasingly politicised, polarised and fragmented, where news is subject to opinions rather than facts, Observatory Mashrek stands as a non-political and non-political platform, which aims to inform rather than to influence the reader.

Who We Are

Nino Orto

Bachelor Degree on  Journalism and Master Degree on International Relations at LUISS Guido Carli. Analyst and journalist specialized in Middle East, jihadist groups, and Security issues. He has written for newspapers including The New Arab, The Conflict Archive, Equilibri, Osservatorio Iraq, Il Manifesto, L'Indro, L'Occidentale. First in Italy, he has published in 2015 his book"Business,Piombo,Dollari. La privatizzazione della guerra irachena" on the privatization of Iraqi war. He is the founder and Editor in Chief of Osservatorio Mashrek where he cover the conflicts in Syria and Iraq, area MENA, the evolution of jihadist groups around the world.

Matthew Williams

A British freelance journalist and analyst who is complimented by an MA degree in Conflict, Security and Development at King's College London including studying modules focused on war, insurgency and occupation in the Middle East. Also has written for various NGOs and papers including Aegis Trust, Amnesty International, Strife, Impact Magazine, The Scottish Times, and The Conflict Archives. His current work for Osservatorio Mashrek is focused on the Arab-Israeli conflict, the Syrian and Iraqi Civil Wars, and jihadism.

Leonida Reitano

Leonida Reitano (Chairman, Association of Investigative Journalism) Media Studies PhD and McLuhan Fellow since February 2003. Reitano set up the first Investigative Journalism Master Degree held in Italy at the University of Urbino. He has been the Chairman of the Italian Association of Investigative Journalism (AGI) since 2007, the first of its kind founded in Italy. He cover for Osservatorio Mashrek Terrorism and transnational organized crime issues, investigative journalism and OSINT topics.