Geographies
Cossacks for Hire

Cossacks for Hire

Last October, a Russian private military contractor, the Moran Security Group, shanghaied another PMC, the Slavonic Corps, by promising recruits $2,000-5,000 a month if they went to Syria to guard strategic facilities (military bases and power plants) to free up the regular Syrian Army guards for the front line. More»

Red Islam

Red Islam

For decades, there have been calls for a Protestant Reformation in the Muslim world. There’s something to it. Unfortunately, most press for a vaguely defined liberal secularism against an equally unclear Islamic backwardness. This can be particularly sinister when Muslims do it, since it contributes to a senseless dichotomy between secular elites and religious extremists that paralyzes the Islamic world. More»

Revenge on Turkey

Revenge on Turkey

On July 27th, 1983, the Turkish Ambassador’s residence in Lisbon was seized by militants of the Armenian Revolutionary Army, following a failed attempt at storming the embassy. After a standoff with 170 Portuguese riot police, the building was blown up, killing the four ARA fighters inside, one Portuguese policeman and Cahide Mıhçıoğlu, wife of the embassy’s charge d’affaires. More»

Leaving Yemen

Leaving Yemen

The world ended on December 27th. Or so it seemed. My visa sponsor at Yemen College of Middle Eastern Studies sat me down and told me that I had to leave the country by the end of the weekend. Defeated, I began packing my belongings, and walked around Sana’a with the knowledge that I may never see it again. I arrived in Berlin on New Year’s Day. More»

Erdogan in Germany

Erdogan in Germany

It was a sight to behold. Yesterday, a large crowd of German Turks gathered at Brandenburg Gate in order to protest against Recep Tayyip Erdogan. The location was perfect. Multiculturalism is frequently attacked as being unsuccessful in Germany. Berlin itself can be seen as evidence of it. More»

Rock Against Zia

Rock Against Zia

Zia ul-Haq was disgusted by Western culture. Much to the horror of Pakistan’s elites, the late President took his cues from Iran’s Ayatollah Khomeini, and sought to limit its corrupting influence on the country’s youth. Still, Pakistanis rebelled. Pioneering Punjabi rock band Junoon led the charge. More»

Ukrainian Domino Effect

Ukrainian Domino Effect

There’s been a chilling feeling of déjà vu in Yerevan since the Ukrainian government’s decision to opt out of the EU Association Agreement. Though, as in the Ukraine, many Armenians depend on links to Russia for their livelihood, those who prefer a European course sense that Ukrainian demonstrators are managing to do what Armenians cannot. More»

Pakistan's Uncertain Future

Pakistan’s Uncertain Future

Pakistan has no shortage of divisive leaders, but the most controversial is General Zia ul-Haq. Although he presided over a decade of relative stability and prosperity, the late President is frequently criticized for allowing an aggressively conservative Islamism to take center-stage in Pakistani society. More»

Now is Not Forever

Now is Not Forever

Sometimes the Internet surprises us with the past or, to be more precise, its own past. The other day my social media feed started to show the same clip over and over. It was one I had seen years before and forgotten about, back from the bottom of that overwhelming ocean of content available to us at any given moment. Why was it reappearing now, I wondered? More»

Democracy in Afghanistan

Democracy in Afghanistan

You’ve heard it all before. Whenever analysts discuss how to bring democracy to Afghanistan, they emphasize the need for security and development as necessary prerequisites. It’s an appealing model, for sure. Security means an end to feudal politics. Infrastructure means a better standard of living. Democracy comes next. More»

India's Weimar Moment

India’s Weimar Moment

It’s a leftist cliché. Every crisis-ridden country risks its own Weimar moment. Whether it’s true or not is almost beside the point. The original German reference is unique to its circumstance. Still, the admonition is not without merit. It works precisely because the analogy has a universal quality to it. India’s forthcoming elections are a good example. More»

Learning From Syria

Learning From Syria

76 people had been killed during a Syrian assault on Aleppo. 28 of the casualties were said to be children. Despite the high death toll, I was pessimistic that the West would take notice. “It seems few care about Syrian lives, unless they’re killed by a chemical weapon,” I angrily tweeted. My despair reflected a decline in public interest in Syria’s civil war. Yes, the attack made the news, but it elicited no outcry. More»