Archive

The Drones Are Coming Home to Roost

Almost exactly fifteen years after the first time the United States used a remote controlled flying robot to attack its enemies abroad, the chickens started coming home to roost. Oct. 2, 2016 was the day ISIS used a kamikaze drone to kill a pair of US-allied Kurdish troops and severely wound two French commandos in Iraq.

The American era of drone warfare had begun when the US military tried to assassinate the Taliban leader Mullah Omar

In Rio de Janeiro, A Red Wedding For Organized Crime

At the worst possible moment for Rio, a new kind of criminal organization is moving into the city, writes Maria Martin in Brazil’s El Pais. Sophisticated, genteel, and extremely violent, the First Capital Commando appears to be too well organized for the city’s poorly equipped and underfunded police to handle.

The giveaway wasn’t a particular phone call or a specific sentence; it was the accents.

Like an Occupying Army, Egypt Battles its Own Citizens in the Sinai

In the satellite pictures, it looks as if someone has taken an eraser to the lines of houses and farms, smearing them over the arid landscape. But it is Egyptian army bulldozers that are blotting Rafah away, block by block. It is the desolation of Sisi, the most shocking and lurid of the many ways that Egypt’s military has gotten everything wrong in Sinai, behaving like an occupying army on its own land, fighting a terrorist insurgency in the most inept way possible.

The last time I visited Northern Sinai, it was a windy winter week in 2008, under a morose sky.

A Map of War Without End

Last week’s American air attack on a Syrian army convoy in the country’s southeastern desert passed largely unnoticed in the US media, but it suggests that Donald Trump and his generals are electing to shift to a strategy of long term geographic isolation of Bashar al-Assad’s regime.

Syria’s civil war began in widespread Arab Spring demonstrations demanding that the country’s hereditary dictator leave office.

The Prince Who Only Charms Journalists

Though they are one of the world’s most authoritarian and dangerous regimes, the family that rules the self-titled Kingdom of Saudi Arabia gets a remarkably free pass from the international media. In this close look at the scheming of the kingdom’s deputy crown prince, who is angling to jump the line of succession and succeed his aging father, Al-Akhbar’s Sabah Ayyoub shows how the millions of dollars the kingdom’s rulers spend on American public relations firms every year bend the western press to serve their interests.

Prince Mohammed Bin Salman regularly invites western journalists to visit him in his Riyadh office

Invasion as Investment Opportunity: Emirati Capital Follows Its Troops into Yemen

For the clever Sheikhs who run the United Arab Emirates, jumping headfirst into Saudi Arabia’s ill-considered invasion of Yemen was clearly a business decision, writes Abdelhadi Khalaf. Once they had secured their hold on a few ports, airports, and developable tourist destinations, they stopped participating in the military operations and got down to the business of securing their new assets.

When Saudi Arabia launched an attack on Yemen in March 2015,

How Erdogan Lost the Referendum by Winning

By narrowly supporting Tayyip Erdogan’s presidential power referendum, Turks this month voted away their own democracy: that was the consensus of opinion on April 16. But International Boulevard’s Baris Altintas finds paradoxical hope in how excruciatingly close was Erdogan’s victory, in the many violent and authoritarian measures he took to achieve even that, and in the hypothesis that accounting for widespread fraud, Erdogan actually lost the referendum.

Inside Turkey and abroad, many are describing President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s slim referendum victory on April 16, 2017 as a “Pyrrhic victory,”

Confronting Goliath, a Yemeni David

Saudi Arabia’s bloody intervention in Yemen has not merely bogged down, writes Yahya al-Shami, Al Akhbar’s correspondent in northern Yemen: it has induced the ruling princes to pursue such questionable strategies as recruiting vast numbers of religious extremists into the armed forces.

For two years, Saudi Arabia has been trying with little success to take back a vast strip of its own territory, comprising dozens of military outposts and Saudi towns

On a Trickle of Midnight Electricity, Syria’s Refugees See Home Receding

In a blaze of publicity, the Jordanian government and the UN announced last summer that the largest camp for refugees of Syria’s civil war would at last get legal electricity to replace its dangerous hodgepodge of illicit hookups. But in the precarious life of a refugee camp, even apparent improvements have their pitfalls, writes Dana Jebril.

“A grandmother will no longer tell stories to her grand children in the dark and children can now study in the evenings…”

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