Joe Cochrane

Digging In

Visiting a U.S. military base in Iraq can feel a little like a trip down Alice's Wonderland rabbit hole. Inside the barbed-wire fences and flood lights, and just past the tanks and attack helicopters, is a slice of Americana.

Of Faith and Football

For one day at least, soccer took priority over faith in Iraq. Despite an order from one of the country's most revered Islamic clerics against firing weapons in the air, bullets rained down on Baghdad and elsewhere after the Cinderella Iraqi national soccer team won the Asia Cup on Sunday.

Dinner Jackets and Arms Sales

Baghdad can be a surprising place even in the best of times. Not to mention amusing. Grumbles and gasps could be heard among the expatriates here during the weekend when word spread that the only remaining restaurant in the Green Zone had begun enforcing a dress code.

Of Security, Soccer and a Sand Fly

  It was clearly bad luck. A sand fly buzzing around Amman's international airport on Saturday got trapped on a commercial flight bound for Baghdad. As I sat in seat 1C watching the insect bounce pointlessly against the window as the plane's door closed, I could only shake my head and smile.

Oil Money for a Dream

Ten years ago, José Ramos-Horta was a painful pebble in Indonesia's shoe. The charismatic East Timorese intellectual earned a Nobel Peace Prize by trolling the halls of power in dozens of capitals around the world, telling anyone who'd listen that the former Portuguese colony was under a savage occupation.

Trekking Not Required

Nepal—home to eight of the world's 14 tallest mountains—may be a favorite destination for climbers and extreme adventurers. But it is also becoming increasingly popular among those who prefer Egyptian cotton sheets and caviar to sleeping bags and protein bars, and whose idea of roughing it means giving up heated towel racks.

Correspondents' Picks

Cuisine isn't the first thing that comes to mind when most people think of Nepal, unless perhaps it's yak meat on the mountain trails. Nepal is all about the outdoors—mountaineering, trekking, river rafting—where adventurers brave the elements on dried fruit and granola bars.

Jakarta Drifts

During his military career, Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono was known as "the thinking general" for his intellectual approach. One can only wonder what was going through his mind last week, when monsoons caused floods that submerged three quarters of Jakarta, killing 46 people and displacing some 420,000.

The Full Force of Peace

Not long ago, rebels like Sofyan Dawood risked a bullet in the head if they appeared in public in the war-torn Indonesian province of Aceh. But then something unexpected happened: the decades-old separatist war that had killed as many as 20,000 was swept away by the tsunami of 2004, which devastated South Asia.

Drifting Toward Extremism

The meeting of the united Malays National Organization, the ruling pro-Muslim party in Malaysia, was a shocking display of divisiveness. Some UMNO delegates at the rally, which ended Nov. 17, gave speeches that, either explicitly or in veiled terms, were racist or called for violence as a means of settling religious or political differences.

Signs of Stress

Ungrateful" and "gutless." Those are some of the harsh words used by former Malaysian strongman Mahathir Mohamad to describe the government led by his successor, Prime Minister Abdullah Badawi. "I have helped many people [into power]," he told reporters, "only for them to stab me in the back." What prompted such wrath?

Day of Rage

I had wanted to ride the escalator since I arrived in Afghanistan last weekend. The Kabul City Center, a huge new shopping and hotel complex, is a symbol of sorts of the country's rebirth and development after decades of civil war.

Time to Move Ahead

The thought of former Indonesian dictator Suharto lying in a hospital bed, gravely ill after undergoing three surgeries, is undoubtedly comforting to some of his longtime victims.

Techno Revolution?

It could've been mistaken for a Bo Derek look-alike contest. Dozens of young women sporting cornrow hair and revealing outfits strut around under laser lights and pumping music.

A 'Fragile Foundation'

It might look as if history were repeating itself: just as in the 1970s, ' 80s and '90s, defiant protesters have taken to Bangkok's streets in a bid to oust a Thai leader they revile.

The Biggest Sleeper

Sometimes even the starting line is hard to reach in Indonesia. Just ask President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono. A few weeks ago fans converging on a speedway outside Jakarta for the city's inaugural A1 Grand Prix turned nearby roads into parking lots, trapping the presidential motorcade.

Interview: Order In The House

Indonesian President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono stormed into office nearly 18 months ago--and has not stopped running since. The former Army general took power at a time when the world's fourth largest nation was threatened by economic stagnation, lawlessness and terrorism.

Living With Fear

Ratte Kongwat Mai refuses to move away from her beachfront home. One year ago ocean waves measuring up to 21 meters obliterated her neighborhood in the tiny Thai fishing village of Ban Nam Khem, about 160 kilometers north of Phuket.

Looks Can Be Deceiving

Last week Indonesian president Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono showed why more than 90 percent of his countrymen rate him a good leader. The retired Army general, who has broad shoulders and a stern gaze, inspected the sites of multiple suicide-terrorist attacks that killed 22 people on the resort island of Bali on Oct. 1.

Electricity: Turn The Lights On

The political deadlock over a new constitution isn't the only reason Iraqis are nearing a breaking point. From rich businessmen to impoverished farmers, citizens from all walks of life are plagued by a seemingly unsolvable problem: the lack of electricity.


The amateur video looked like something that would appear on Al-Jazeera: a group of men with long, gray beards and white Muslim robes sitting in a spartan room at a hidden location, discussing Islam.

Silence in Jakarta

When a massive tsunami killed more than 100,000 people in Aceh province last December, the Indonesian capital was completely oblivious to the disaster, taking days to fully comprehend the scope of the carnage.