Graeme Wood

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Trouble in Timbuktu

At the Boston Globe Ideas section, I wrote about the history of Timbuktu.

Filed under: Boston Globe, ,

Invisible Hand to Mouth

Originally appeared in the Wall Street Journal.

An Economist Gets Lunch

By Tyler Cowen

Dutton, 293 pages, $26.95

“Let’s be clear,” Tyler Cowen writes in “An Economist Gets Lunch: New Rules for Everyday Foodies,” an eccentric first-person hodgepodge of gastronomic thoughts, strategies and travel stories. “Every meal really matters to me.” Readers of his blog, Marginal Revolution, know that he means it. Nominally devoted to economics, the site also catalogs meticulously the ethnic restaurants in the Washington area. In a typical post, he’ll review a new Bolivian restaurant and compare it not only with other Bolivian restaurants but with others serving food from the Cochabamba region. Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: Wall Street Journal, ,

About the Rampage in Panjwaii

A brief comment for the IHT.

Filed under: International Herald Tribune,

Death of a Poseur

Jonathan “Jack” Idema, the pseudo-mercenary who was jailed after being convicted of operating a private prison in Kabul, died of AIDS in Mexico last week.

For the International Herald Tribune, I visited his semi-abandoned office building in Fayetteville, N.C., and found chains on the doors.  Idema’s adjoining apartment, where he allegedly conducted his assignations, had a poster for the Broadway musical Urinetown on the wall and a single cowboy spur rusting in the grass outside.

Filed under: International Herald Tribune, , ,

A Turkish Assad?

Which is scarier: a government that hunts down and kills dozens in cold blood, or a government that hunts down and kills dozens by accident?

Read more at the IHT.

Filed under: International Herald Tribune,

Mercenary Hires Self, Has Fool for a Client

I reviewed Simon Mann’s memoir, Cry Havoc, for The National.

John Blake Publishing Ltd

Dh51

Everyone’s favourite kind of coup d’état is the bloodless one: El Presidente is surprised in his pyjamas, or while shopping in London, his trusted military aides turn out to be snakes, and he ends up, along with his loyalists, either under house arrest or in exile – padded at first, then increasingly threadbare as the secret accounts are frozen, one by one. Meanwhile, if you are an average citizen of his beleaguered country, not much changes. The money flows to anyone but you: meet the new Presidente, same as the old Presidente.

Simon Mann, one of the most famous living mercenaries, set out in 2004 to manage what he insisted would be a bloodless coup to topple Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo, president of oil-rich Equatorial Guinea. But the Wonga Coup was so bloodless that it barely got started. Mann chartered a Boeing 727 full of armed men and planned to fly into the capital of Malabo, where an advance team led by the South African mercenary Nick du Toit intended to take over the airport. Mann hoped to install Severo Moto, the leader of a government-in-exile headquartered in Spain, as president, and in return reap millions in oil revenues.

Read the rest of this entry »

Filed under: National, , ,

Clinging to the Egyptian Army

I visited Nag Hammadi for the IHT and found an Egyptian Wild West.

Read my story here.

Filed under: International Herald Tribune, ,

Afghan Oil Fields Not a Curse — Yet

I visited the northern oil fields of Afghanistan.

Read about it at the IHT Global Opinion site.

Filed under: International Herald Tribune, ,

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