After Gaza, Israel Finds Itself Isolated

Israel has never been more isolated. Its best friend, the United States, had vetoed 41 Security Council resolutions condemning Israel in the past three decades, but was about to vote for the Jan. 8 resolution denouncing the attack on Gaza when President Bush intervened, at the behest of Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. Still, in the face of unprecedented global criticism, the U.S. didn't dare veto, but merely abstained. Europe, never Israel's close ally, erupted in near unanimous outrage over Gaza,...

Watching the Inauguration in Gaza City

There were no cheers in the Ranoush Café in Gaza City when Barack Obama was inaugurated. A few dozen young Palestinians watched the proceedings on one of the place's four televisions, listening to Al-Jazeera's Arabic voice-over as they sucked on Hubbly Bubblies, which are big water pipes with burning charcoal in the bowl. Afterward, the patrons said they were tentatively pleased. "He will be such a change from Bush, and maybe he won't be under Israel's belly like all the other presidents,"...

Worth Your Time: "The Ayatollah Begs To Differ"

"A friend once told me that I was the only person he knew who was both 100 percent American and 100 percent Iranian," writes Hooman Majd in his engaging book, "The Ayatollah Begs to Differ" (published stateside this fall). The grandson of an ayatollah, and the son of a diplomat for the last shah of Iran, Majd grows up in America and comes of age during the Iranian revolution. To his own surprise, he finds himself bristling as Americans criticize his homeland. He becomes a cultural chameleon,...

First Person: Rod Nordland in Zimbabwe

When you hear the brutal details about Zimbabwe, it's hard to imagine how it can get any worse without the government collapsing, or Robert Mugabe resigning. The hyperinflation, the millions going hungry, the canceled anti-AIDS programs, the 3 million (out of a total 11 million) who have fled the country. Then you go there, as I did in June, and the most striking thing is the normalcy amid all that hardship. There's the group of nine high-school graduates meeting with the American ambassador...

Africa's Other Holocaust

Barack Obama spoke often and passionately about Darfur while campaigning. But the African holocaust that will confront him first is the ongoing slaughter in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. More than 5 million have died in that conflict since 1996, and there's no sign of a letup. As rebels commanded by Laurent Nkunda, a renegade Congolese Army general, closed in on the city of Goma in recent weeks, the United Nations' 17,000 troops— its largest peacekeeping force in the world—proved...

Jewel Of Medina Publisher Firebombed

Sherry Jones, whose historical novel about the Prophet Muhammad's favorite wife, Aisha, was dropped by Random House in August over fear of reactions from Muslims, may yet become another Salman Rushdie. The book, "The Jewel of Medina," was picked up by London publisher Gibson Square with plans for an October release. But on Sept. 26, a firebomb found its way inside the $5 million townhouse of Gibson Square's owner, Martin Rynja. Rynja, whose publishing house operates from his home, wasn't there...

General Agwai On UNAMID's Darfur Mission

The general who heads up the U.N.-African Union peacekeeping mission in Darfur came to London last week to talk up his much-maligned force, now almost a year old. "Many have said, 'UNAMID, you are so useless'," says Gen. Martin Luther Agwai. "I say if you go to the grass roots in Darfur, so many good little things are happening every day." Just last week, for instance, a UNAMID patrol intervened to stop two villages from fighting over cattle rustling. More good things might happen if Agwai had...

U.S. and U.K. Struggle To Make Terror Cases Stick

The global war on terror isn't going so well on the judicial front. Last week a London jury failed to convict eight British Muslims of a suicide plot to smuggle sports drinks full of explosives aboard transatlantic flights—the initial catalyst for banning liquids and creams onboard ever since. That's only the latest in a series of police failures in Britain, ranging from an alleged plot to spread nerve gas on the London Underground (which resulted in only four convictions for passport...

Petraeus Prepares to Leave Iraq for Afghanistan

Gen. David Petraeus has no intention of doing a victory lap on his way out of Iraq. As he heads off next month to take over the U.S. military's Central Command, in charge of Afghanistan as well as Iraq, he leaves a country on the rebound. People in Baghdad feel so safe they are out on the streets at midnight. The scourge of Al Qaeda in Iraq is a spent force. They've lost Anbar province and Baghdad, where at best they can mount a couple of mostly insignificant attacks a day. They've vacated the...

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