Our destination is on a high plain some 120 kilometers south of Kabul: a barren area that the native population calls simply “Dasht”: desert. About ten minutes earlier we turned off the main road and now we are advancing with difficulty over sand and gravel. It is a bright, beautiful day. The sunlight is like mica glistening out of a steely blue sky. The car must be somewhere out in front of us: a white Toyota Corolla that is supposed to take us to our scheduled meeting. Our investigations are almost completed. We have been waiting for days for this [...]
‘Osama bin Laden Captured,’ and Other Headlines Not Seen in 2006
“Osama bin Laden Captured” is a headline that wasn’t written in 2006: the same with “Zawahiri Caught,” a reference to al-Qaida’s second-in-command, Ayman al-Zawahiri. A year is the sum total of its failures, as well as its successes; and before going too far into January, it might be sobering to take a quick backward glance at what didn’t happen last year. Iraq, of course, offers dozens of unfulfilled hopes and expectations. The Bush administration likes to boast of its role in bringing free elections to Iraq, Afghanistan, and Palestine. But free elections, it turns out, don’t guarantee democracy. To get [...]
TEHRAN, Iran — A bravura performance by former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein at his own hanging has transformed him into a martyr in the eyes of secular and religious Sunni Muslim nationalists throughout the Arab World and may have sharpened Sunni-Shiite tensions beyond the point of no return. Defiant to the end, Saddam stood with a noose around his neck and expended his last words condemning America and Iran. It was a skillful manipulation of many Arabs’ fears that — with Arab nationalist strongman Saddam gone — a resurgent Iran will dislodge traditional regional powers such as Saudi Arabia and [...]
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