World

Lowered Vision
June 07, 2004

America's Iraq policy requires a fundamental strategic reappraisal. The present policy--justified by falsehoods, pursued with unilateral arrogance, blinded by self-delusion, and stained by sadistic excesses--cannot be corrected with a few hasty palliatives. The remedy must be international in character; political, rather than military, in substance; and regional, rather than simply Iraqi, in scope. Rectifying the increasingly messy Iraqi adventure requires understanding its root: the extremist foreign policy pursued by this administration.

Silent Majority
June 07, 2004

Last August, I participated in a town-hall meeting hosted by the administrative council of Dibis, an ethnically mixed town 22 miles northwest of Kirkuk. Locals complained about everything from sporadic electricity to fertilizer shortages to potholes, and their Iraqi representatives listened attentively. It was an encouraging sight, all the more so because the month before, Coalition Provisional Authority (CPA) head L. Paul Bremer had proudly announced, in a televised speech, that "all of Iraq's main cities, and dozens of other towns, now have administrative councils." But there was a problem.

Out of Joint
January 26, 2004

The sunburned Englishman sat at the bar of the Peponi Hotel in Lamu, nursing a vodka-and-grapefruit-juice cocktail and sucking on an Embassy cigarette. A former resort owner who sold out a couple of years ago but still pays regular visits to this island off the Kenyan coast, Gerald had recently returned from a fishing trip to the neighboring island of Kiwayu—a journey that had turned up unsettling evidence of the changes creeping into the region. The Kiwayu beach hotel was deserted, he said, except for a pair of FBI agents who had converted their bungalow into a listening post.

Bosom Buddies
January 26, 2004

This month, the Afghan leaders gathered in Kabul for a loya jirga, or grand council, agreed on a new, progressive constitution for this war-torn country. Unfortunately, Afghan officials say, the new constitution will not guarantee security. In fact, in recent months violence has risen sharply across Afghanistan, much of it instigated by Islamist Taliban remnants who despise President Hamid Karzai's vision of a liberal state.

The Vanishing
July 21, 2003

MUTHANNA, IRAQ Dr. Alaa Saeed is an affable man with a shy smile and a thinning thatch of wispy white hair above thick, gold-rimmed glasses. He wears short-sleeved white shirts and permanent-press gray slacks. He has the polite, self-effacing manner of a small-town pharmacist.

Split Decision
May 05, 2003

Last week, an Iraqi exile named Mohammed Mohsen Zubaidi strode into Baghdad and declared himself mayor, meeting with local sheiks and promising them potable drinking water and electricity. “With your help, we can manage our country by ourselves,” The Washington Post quoted him as saying. Barbara Bodine, the former U.S.

Local Victory
May 05, 2003

During the Oslo peace process, Natan Sharansky, the Soviet dissident turned politician, was a lone, even eccentric, voice on the Israeli right. Where others on the right condemned Oslo for betraying historic claims or vital security needs, Sharansky attacked it for betraying democracy. By imposing dictatorship on the Palestinians, he argued, Israel was repeating the mistake made by Western democracies that sought stability by accommodating rather than challenging communist regimes.

Victim Complex
May 05, 2003

When Saddam Hussein’s army went to war with the United States, it took the hopes, fantasies, and myths of the Arab world into battle with it. Iraq was to play one of two historically sentimental roles, both richly resonant in Arab politics. And, in so doing, it would serve as the vehicle for people from Saudi Arabia to Morocco who yearned for an Arab champion, or at least for a glorious, redeeming defeat. The preferred role was triumphant defender of Arab honor against the imperialist threat.

Slumlords
May 05, 2003

A few days after American troops entered Baghdad, I went to Saddam City, a sprawling slum inhabited almost exclusively by Shia Muslims. But, by the time I got there, Saddam City was gone. Yes, the people were still there, as was the poverty—the kids playing barefoot soccer on dirt lots and the young men carrying AK-47 assault rifles. But it was Saddam City no longer. THIS IS SADR CITY, announced a spray-painted sign as I drove into the slum, renamed for Sheik Mohammed Sadek Al Sadr, who was killed along with two of his sons in 1999 for speaking out against Saddam Hussein.

The Wasteland
May 05, 2003

I have just returned from southern Iraq. It was the first time I had set foot in that part of my country since 1966. Back then, I used to accompany my father, dean of the School of Architecture in the University of Baghdad’s College of Engineering, while he led groups of his students on tours to study the architecture of the south. Two years later, a coup brought the Baath Party to power, eventually leading to the rule of Saddam Hussein. I was both elated to be back and heartbroken at what I saw this time in the wake of the tyrant’s downfall.

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