Christopher Dickey

Stories by Christopher Dickey

  • Dickey: How Homegrown Terrorists Are Made

    The real threat to the West is not from foreign jihadis but from 'unremarkable' civilians within our societies, says an insightful new report from the New York Police Department.
  • The Last Word: Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi

    Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi (his preferred spelling of a name with many variations in English) is the best-known son of Muammar Kaddafi, the Libyan ruler once called "the most dangerous man in the world." Lately, Kaddafi has emerged as a newfound friend of the west, renouncing terror, giving up weapons of mass destruction, and opening Libya for business. Qadhafi, 35, has no official post in government, yet has played a key role in building Libya's ties to the West. Last week he spoke to NEWSWEEK's Christopher Dickey about that role and the recent deal to free five Bulgarian nurses and a Palestinian intern who had been accused of spreading HIV to children in a Libyan hospital. In return for their freedom, Libya got millions of dollars and a nuclear cooperation deal. Excerpts: ...
  • Dickey: Libya's 'Immoral' Games With the West

    The cosmopolitan son of Libyan leader Muammar Kaddafi is surprisingly frank about the Middle East and his former pariah state's nukes-for-prisoners deal with France. 'It's an immoral game,' says Saif al-Islam al-Qadhafi.
  • Dickey: Al Qaeda's New Thinking

    Britain has lowered its state of alert from “critical” to “severe,” which is where it was before bombs almost started going off  in London and Glasgow a few days ago. The cops say they’ve rounded up all the unusual suspects, seven physicians and a woman medical technician who come from India, Jordan and Iraq. “There is no intelligence to suggest that an attack is expected imminently,” said a statement from Home Secretary Jacqui Smith, but the threat remains “serious and real.”If the examples of other busted plots in Britain—and one horribly effective one on London’s buses and underground trains on July 7, 2005—are any indication, the question of just how serious, how real, how extensive, how precisely connected to other networks these alleged conspirators may have been will linger for years, until their trials are over, and possibly long afterward. Yet in a literal sense the “intellectual authors” of the earlier plots and very probably of this one, already are well known. And it’s...
  • Q&A: Tina Brown on Princess Diana

    In "The Diana Chronicles," Tina Brown, former editor of the London magazine Tatler, as well as U.S. magazines Vanity Fair and The New Yorker, has managed to paint a fresh and human portrait of this iconic figure. Brown spoke with NEWSWEEK's Christopher Dickey in New York.
  • The Private Princess Diana

    The most human of icons, Diana was, Tina Brown's new book says, a liar as well as a saint.
  • Dickey: France's Crusading Foreign Minister

    France's new foreign minister is experienced, passionate and righteous. But his good intentions have led to disasters in the past—and could do so again in the future.
  • The Slow Luxury of Oman

    This is not an article about Dubai, which is a place you hear about all the time these days as a great tourist destination. Maybe sun lovers who are there for the first time still think it is. (Or maybe they’re the kind of people who like any place with sun, even if it’s a spoiled tourist trap like Marbella, Ibiza, Phuket or Cancun.) They don’t seem to see the pollution, the congestion: the relentless encroachment of property speculation on the sand, the sea and the formerly blue sky. The national bird of Dubai is the building crane. I’ll tell you, it may be a great place to get rich, but I wouldn’t want to visit there.No, this is an article about Oman, the place where people who’ve made their fortunes in Dubai go when they want to get away from all that. Its landscapes are still arid and pristine: iridescent mountains change color with the changing light of day, and the horizon stretches across open water toward faraway India. The sea is full of life, including spectacular game...
  • Dickey: France's Reality Check for America

    The Republican presidential debate shows just how much American politicians are out of touch with global realities. What the French can teach them about Iraq, terrorism and conflict.
  • The Rise of the Pilgrimage

    In 1986, the best-selling Brazilian author Paulo Coelho walked the ancient religious road from the French border to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in northwestern Spain. In those days, he recalls with a smile, perhaps 450 people made the famous pilgrimage each year. Today, that many do it daily. Some 100,000 pilgrims registered with the Roman Catholic Church in Santiago last year, after trekking along the 764-kilometer route—and European officials believe three or four times as many completed all or part of the journey but never formally presented themselves to be counted.This summer, the numbers are expected to be even higher. Indeed, during the peak months of July and August the sinuous tracks through the Pyrenees (where an English pilgrim died of the cold earlier this month) and the rocky trails along the hillsides of Galicia that are the Camino de Santiago—or "The Way of Saint James," as it is called in English—will at times resemble a carnival boardwalk as much as a...
  • Iraq: The Perils of Pulling Out

    Everyone is talking about whether the United States should withdraw from Iraq. But is anyone actually planning for that day?
  • French Election: Parsing Round 1's Results

    France now faces one of the clearest ideological choices it has had in decades. Exit polls show conservative candidate Nicolas Sarkozy and Socialist Ségolène Royal with commanding leads over other candidates as first-round balloting ended in France today. Neither comes close to the majority needed to secure the top job, but as the two of them face each other in the runoff on May 6, the French will have to decide between two very different visions.Sarkozy presents himself as a partisan of freer markets, tighter law enforcement and warm relations with the United States. Royal—the first woman ever to make it into the second round—proposes a greater emphasis on social justice and education. She is also deeply skeptical of the policies pursued by the U.S. administration of President George W. Bush.Sarkozy, speaking to supporters in Paris only 30 minutes after the first numbers were released, called the highest voter turnout in decades “a victory for democracy” and underscored the...
  • Who Leads the Middle East?

    Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah often has the weary air of a simple man who's lived long enough to see it all, and in many ways he has. He was born more than 80 years ago, into a world of desert warriors where his father had yet to conquer the holy cities of Mecca and Medina or found the nation that Abdullah rules today. No oil flowed from beneath the sands. No Israel existed. The whole of the modern Middle East, for better or worse, has been created in his lifetime.Yet now, say senior Saudi princes and members of the government, Abdullah has grown so angry and "emotional" about the disasters confronting the region that he's decided to take on a new role. No longer will Saudi Arabia play backup while its ally the United States fronts the band. Abdullah has grown frustrated, almost bitter, with the fecklessness of a divided Arab world. As if taking a line from Plato's Republic—"He who refuses to rule is liable to be ruled by one worse than himself"—the old king is now trying to lead on...
  • Hard Man, Tough Job

    On paper, Nicolas Sarkozy offers France its best hope for change. And that's what the French say they think they want. The elegant socialist Ségolène Royal, his rival for the presidency, would certainly be different: France's first woman head of state, who presents herself more as a listener than a leader....
  • The Last Word: Angelina Jolie

    Angelina Jolie began traveling as a good-will ambassador for the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) some six years ago. She has visited the victims of violence in Africa, Pakistan and Cambodia—first as an observer in the background, then using her fame to draw attention to the plight of the helpless. Recently the movie star visited a refugee camp housing Darfur refugees in Chad. NEWSWEEK's Christopher Dickey spoke to her about her mission. Excerpts: ...
  • France's Sarko Is Too American

    Rarely has a foreign dignitary—especially a French one—gushed so effusively about what's right with America. When Interior Minister Nicolas Sarkozy spoke at the headquarters of the Daughters of the American Revolution in Washington last September, he was Mr. Apple Pie—à la mode. He lauded Madonna, Hemingway, Hollywood movies, the New York art scene, American scientific research—even U.S. immigration policies. "Every parent in France dreams of sending his child to an American university," Sarkozy proclaimed in his paean to Yankee Doodledom. Sniping from French elitists is mere "jealousy in the face of your brilliant success," he said. "Nobody in France dares to say the truth: the United States is the greatest economic, military and monetary power in the world."...
  • The Power of Personality

    You are looking at the photographs of a grim refugee camp along the desert border between Darfur and Chad because the movie star Angelina Jolie was there. Her image catches your eye and, indeed, the world's attention.There's no use pretending otherwise. She doesn't. "If I can draw you in a little because I'm familiar, then that's great," she told NEWSWEEK after she came back from her late February visit to the 26,000 residents of Oure Cassoni camp. "Because I know that at the end you're not looking at me, you're looking at them." Well ... "As long as [you] end up looking at them, that's the point."The aid workers on the scene, at the edge of a conflict the U.S. government now calls genocidal, could not agree more. They live month after month in rough conditions amid constant danger as the war spills into their territory. "You can hear it and feel it," says Dr. Ashis Brahma, medical coordinator for the International Rescue Committee in the camp. Skirmishes take place within a couple...
  • Dickey: Kelly and Copycat Terror Fears

    The alleged plot to behead New York's police commissioner and bomb NYPD headquarters, however implausible, suggests the dangers of copycat terrorism.
  • The Third Man

    Jean-Marie Le Pen laughed, and then laughed some more. The right-wing scourge of French politics, now 78, wouldn't say, exactly, whether he thought he'd be up against the Socialists' Ségolène Royal in the final one-on-one duel for the presidency this May. But he clearly liked the idea. "Absolutely! Me, I have nothing against women. I am ... " Le Pen actually giggled as he talked over the phone from the European Parliament in Strasbourg. "I am pretty much a 'gynophile'." And he chortled some more.Does that strike you as funny? Maybe it was something in the air in Strasbourg. But the banter certainly was vintage Le Pen: mocking political correctness, presenting himself as more than a little misunderstood. Oh, no, he is not a bigot or buffoon as his critics charge, much less a fascist or anti-Semite or, in this case, a sexist. He's just speaking up for French values as he sees them.What's unquestionable is that Le Pen, for better or worse, is the driving force behind a major shift in...
  • Intimate Strangers

    The statue of liberty, in her curious way, helps tell the tale of America's long, complicated experiences and profoundly contradictory ambitions in the Middle East. The French sculptor Frédéric Bartholdi wanted to build a colossus bestriding the entrance to the newly opened Suez Canal in the 1870s. She would be veiled, like a peasant woman of the Nile, and would hold aloft her torch as "Egypt (or Progress) Bringing Light to Asia." But the pasha whose largesse was supposed to fund the project went bankrupt, the British occupied his country to collect their debts and Egypt's light failed. Bartholdi rethought his plan, redrew the design, and the Orient's loss was America's gain: "Liberty Enlightening the World."This anecdote about the statue stands near the middle of Michael Oren's vast new best seller, "Power, Faith and Fantasy: America in the Middle East, 1776 to the Present." It served as a metaphor for the mingled, often mirrored fates of two regions strangely bound by grandiose...
  • Dire Straits

    During America’s last and largely forgotten war with Iran, in 1987 and 1988, music meant a lot to those of us in the middle of the action. American warships had deployed in force to the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Sea. Ostensibly they were there to protect Kuwaiti oil tankers from marauding Iranian frigates and speedboats, but in fact they were backing Saddam Hussein in the seemingly endless Iran-Iraq war. “Somebody’s gonna hurt someone, before the night is through,” The Eagles had sung in “Heartache Tonight,” which became a kind of anthem to reporters covering the war. “Somebody’s gonna come undone, there’s nothin’ we can do.”Then, as now, there was a vaguely surreal quality to the looming confrontation. Then, as now, the Americans were looking to reestablish their credibility in the Middle East after successive blunders and humiliations. As more frigates and cruisers moved into the area, the Iranians started laying mines—or letting them float free—up and down the Gulf and around...
  • Liar’s Poker

    Ever since I read an article last year by poker historian (and poet and novelist) James McManus about the Iranian art of bluffing, I’ve been re-thinking the confrontation between Tehran and Washington.McManus argues, most recently in the current issue of Card Player Magazine , that the Iranians actually invented poker, or a game quite close to it, which over the centuries made its way to France, across the Atlantic to New Orleans, then up the Mississippi with riverboat gamblers. His basic point is that chess, where all the pieces are visible on the board, is not a very useful metaphor for Middle Eastern politics the way the Persians play the game. It’s what’s hidden—what your opponents don’t see, and the way you make your bets on that—which gives you strength.President George W. Bush, with his instinct for throwing all the cards up in the air, appears to have been persuaded of this principle, only very slowly.  In 2003 he passed up a “grand bargain” offered by the mullahs, when they...