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Eastern Promises

In June, when four Uighur detainees at Guantánamo were released to Bermuda, the media’s portrayal of their story served as both distraction and palliative: Articles in many papers were written as though the United States had rescued members of an oppressed minority in China and delivered them to a tropical paradise.

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While we don't ultimately know what prompted North Korea's nuclear test, we do know that Kim Jong-Il was hospitalized last fall, and that he is maneuvering to appoint a successor. Last September, TNR reviewed Kim's options: Of Mr. Kim's four children from three mothers, his youngest son, Kim Jong-un, is thought to be his favorite, but being only 24 and third in line, it would seem very difficult to jump two sons in the succession.

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I’m not supposed to be here. This vast training base near the Gaza border where thousands of reservists are preparing for battle is off-limits to the press. Still, everyone in Israel knows someone, and my travelling companion knows a senior army commander who’s willing to break the rules. “Just say you’re my friends,” says the commander, who picks us up in his car near the gate. The commander, whom I’ll call Shmulik, is eager to slip us in. He wants us to meet his men, to tell the world the truth about Israel’s soldiers. Tomorrow morning, he says, they’re crossing into Gaza.

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