Christian Caryl


Mecca Deal

f you’re one of those people who believe that history is basically a comedy of errors, you’ll love Yaroslav Trofimov’s The Siege of Mecca: The Forgotten Uprising in Islam’s Holiest Shrine and the Birth of al-Qaeda. It describes a savage, bloody, and remarkably consequential event that was staged by a bunch of deluded radicals, kept… Read more »

All About Us

totally understand where Cullen Murphy is coming from. As I was reading his new book, which tries to tell us what the United States can learn from ancient Rome, I kept experiencing flashbacks. If, like me, youve had the good fortune to spend the past few years traveling around the world to report on U.S…. Read more »

The Gift That Keeps on Spinning

Sistani is a jurist, an authority on Islamic law who runs the prestigious seminary in the holy city of Najaf. In his role as a marja al-taqlid, a “source of emulation,” he is a living exemplar of the spiritual values that almost every Iraqi Shiite holds dear. That means that he commands the passionate loyalty… Read more »

In the Imperial Weeds

Oh, yes, and don’t forget that Yemen just happens to be a key strategic location in the post-9/11 GWOT (Global War on Terrorism). Osama bin Laden’s family originally comes from the Hadhramaut, the desolate hinterland bordering Saudi Arabia. Not long before Kaplan’s arrival in 2003, the CIA rubbed out an alleged Qaeda operative by blasting… Read more »