Red Sea

We Were Pirates Once, and Young: An American Way to Understand Somali Pirates
October 22, 2011

When Somali pirates started making international news, journalists and politicians said, in so many words, “Forget the romance of eye patches and parrots. These guys are mean.” They are mean, and getting meaner—Jeffrey Gettleman’s terrifying piece for this magazine (“The Wages of Anarchy”) made this very point—but they’re actually not all that foreign: The seventeenth-century Christian pirates of the Caribbean resorted to murder and torture, too.

The Wages of Anarchy
September 14, 2011

The Pirates Of Somalia: Inside Their Hidden World By Jay Bahadur (Pantheon, 300 pp., $26.95) The monsoon winds are dying down and the Indian Ocean is getting smooth again. This happens at the end of every summer, and September marks a new season: pirate season. Somalia’s wily, indefatigable buccaneers are just coming off their summer break.

No Arab Society Is Immune
January 19, 2011

That is a simple fact, no matter what the apologists, paid and unpaid, say. And what they are not immune from is murder activated by politically motivated killers. It almost doesn't matter who the victims are. It's the numbers that count, the bigger the better. Yesterday, Stephen Lee Meyers reported in the New York Times that at least 49 hopefuls for the police academy were blown to smithereens in Tikrit, Saddam Hussein's home town. Meyers wrote that the ministry of the interior had announced that there had been 60 dead. The reporter's own number for the wounded and maimed was 116.

The Patriarch
July 01, 2010

Moses Montefiore: Jewish Liberator, Imperial Hero By Abigail Green (Harvard University Press, 540 pp., $35) In 1827, an upright, well-to-do English gentleman, traveling through the Levant with his lady wife, ran into some dirty weather en route from Alexandria to Malta. But this particular gentleman was called Moses and his notion of calming the sea was to throw the afikoman half of the middle matzoh of the Passover seder into the churning waters. Apparently, as Abigail Green tells it, in some Sephardi traditions the breaking of the afikoman symbolizes the parting of the Red Sea.

Yes, We Have To Save Yemen, Too
February 13, 2010

No, I am not deserting the president on this one either. Any country that is under siege by Al Qaeda is likely to have strategic and/or ideological interest to us. But it’s a big stretch to argue that we have a democratic interest in Yemen’s future. It will not be before hell freezes over that we may have such an interest in Yemen. That time is neither now nor tomorrow. And since history in the Arabian Peninsula moves in geological time, let’s stop deluding ourselves about another democratic ally. Our interest in Yemen is strategic.

Out of Beijing
November 15, 2004

All summer, the U.N. Security Council debated whether to condemn the Sudanese government for supporting the murderous Janjaweed militias in Darfur. In July, it passed a weak resolution threatening sanctions against Khartoum.

Out of Beijing
November 15, 2004

China's Africa strategy.

In Memoriam
April 21, 2003

Last week, Michael Kelly, who edited The New Republic from 1996 to 1997, died while traveling as an embedded reporter with the Army's 3rd Infantry Division in Iraq. Michael's association with TNR began when he covered the first Gulf war, for which he won a National Magazine Award. It was through his courageous, eloquent reporting that this magazine came to understand the importance, for the United States and the world, of a free Iraq at peace with its neighbors.

Embargo Russian Arms?
January 01, 1970

This piece originally ran on September 2nd, 1957. C. L Sulzberger, the scholarly editorial columnist of The New York Times, had the courage in a recent dispatch from Paris to put forward a daring brink-of-war proposal for the Middle East -- a Western blockade of Russian arms shipments. The Soviet arms buildup in Egypt during 1956, he assumes, precipitated the Israeli attack. Likewise, Russian arms shipments to Yemen led to the more recent Yemini attack on British Aden.