The Living and the Dead

The New York Times Magazine   July 19, 2017

In October, Iraqi forces set out to retake Mosul, one of Iraq’s largest cities and ISIS’s biggest stronghold in the country. It would take them nine months and cost thousands of lives.

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Paolo Pellegrin/Magnum, for The New York Times

They Will Have to Die Now

The New York Times Magazine   November 14, 2016

With the Kurdish peshmerga on the road to Mosul.

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Surviving the Fall of ISIS

National Geographic   October 2016

As Iraqi and coalition forces invade Mosul, the last ISIS stronghold in Iraq, the grim details of the extremist group’s rule come to light.

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The Prosecutor and the President

The New York Times Magazine   June 26, 2016

The International Criminal Court embodied the hope of bringing warlords and demagogues to justice. Then Luis Moreno-Ocampo took on the heir to Kenya’s most powerful political dynasty.

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On the Run in Burundi

The New Yorker   April 27, 2016

“Where there are people, there is conflict,” a Burundian saying goes. It has been relevant in this tiny Francophone country for as long as most of its inhabitants can remember.

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The Doctor

The Atavist   October 2015

Tom Catena is the only surgeon for thousands of square miles in southern Sudan. His hospital, and his life, are constantly under threat. There is no end to the carnage he must treat, and no sign of it letting up. Why does he refuse to leave?

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Escape or Die

The New Yorker   April 13, 2014

When pirates captured a cargo ship, its crew faced one desperate choice after another.

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Dr. Machar, I Presume

National Geographic   October 2014

How the world’s youngest nation descended into civil war.

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Close Your Heart

Slate   June 2, 2014

The Central African Republic’s sectarian civil war has divided a once peaceful nation, and pitted brother against brother.

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Reconciliation Is Hard Won

National Geographic   April 2, 2014

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the genocide, Rwandan villagers try to forgive the unforgivable.

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Should the United Nations Shoot First?

National Geographic   March 2014

The UN allowed its troops to attack armed groups in Congo, which led to the defeat of the vicious M23 militia. But the battle for Africa’s heartland is far from over.

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Love and Ruin

The Atavist   February 2014

There were the lovers: Louis, a paratrooper-turned-archaeologist, and Nancy, a travel writer, wife of a CIA division chief. Then there was the place: Kabul, Afghanistan, in the 1960s.

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The War for Nigeria

National Geographic   November 2013

A bloody insurgency tears at the heart of Africa’s most populous nation.

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After Westgate

National Geographic   October 4, 2013

Nairobi’s Indians showed extraordinary courage during the Westgate mall attack.

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Surviving Westgate

The New Yorker   September 27, 2013

“Then I heard the sound,” she said. “PAH! There were three shots.”

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Youssou N’Dour Has Left the Building

Departures   October 2013

By 30, he was the sound of Dakar, the most listened-to musician in Africa. Now he’s mulling a run for the presidency of Senegal.

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Terror At The Westgate Mall

The New Yorker   September 22, 2013

When I arrived Saturday afternoon in the mall’s parking lot, policemen, AK-47s and pistols drawn, were running around, speaking into walkie-talkies. The crowd of journalists and onlookers was growing.

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The Kenyatta Affair

Foreign Policy   March 20, 2013

What Africa can learn from Austria’s Nazi legacy.

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The Fall and Rise of Raila Odinga

Foreign Policy   March 2, 2013

In Kenya’s contested election, the tortured past of family dynasty is alive but not quite well.

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Vote M For Murder

Foreign Policy   February 26, 2013

In Kenya, politics is the continuation of war by other means.

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Debate Night in Kenya

The New Yorker   February 2o, 2013

Kenyan candidates are referred to in the British manner, as aspirants, but they study American campaigns, so the country’s first-ever televised presidential debate was a slick production.

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The Battle for Nuba

Foreign Policy   January 22, 2013

Will total war in Sudan ever cease?

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The Last Stand of Somalia’s Jihad

Foreign Policy   December 17, 2012

Will Kenya’s invasion of Somalia put an end to al-Shabab?

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The Tunnels of Gaza

National Geographic   December 2012

The tunnels of Gaza are a lifeline of the underground economy but also a death trap. For many Palestinians, they have come to symbolize ingenuity and the dream of mobility.

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In Rebel Country

Foreign Policy   November 27, 2012

How did 1,000 militiamen in rubber boots conquer a city of 1 million people in a matter of hours?

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The Cult of Massoud

Foreign Policy   November 23, 2012

How Afghanistan’s Che Guevara still haunts the country.

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Prisoners Rule

Foreign Policy   November 2012

Welcome to the deadliest city in the deadliest country in the world.

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Posthuman Pop

Wired   November 2012

How virtual singer Hatsune Miku became a star.

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Christopher Nolan’s Games

The New Yorker   July 19, 2012

Nolan’s films are contests with rules and phases, gambits and defenses, many losers and the occasional victor, usually a Pyrrhus type.

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The Fast and the Ridiculous

Foreign Policy   July 27, 2012

In Mexico, it’s taken as fact that the United States is backing the drug cartels.

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Obama’s Deportation Problem

Washington Monthly   July 2012

By giving a reprieve to 800,000 undocumented immigrants, the president put out a fire of his own making. How Obama’s immigration enforcement policies got away from him.

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This Must be the Song

The New Yorker   June 14, 2012

In the late 1970s, in primordial downtown Manhattan, Talking Heads sonified longing and regret.

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A Terrible Act of Reason

The New Yorker   May 17, 2012

Suddenly, self-immolation is everywhere.

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Bernard Hopkins and the Endless End of Boxing

Grantland   January 25, 2012

A look at the always-changing prizefighter.

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The Obama Effect

Slate   October 5, 2011

A surprising new theory for the continuing crime decline among black Americans.

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An UNconvenient Truth

Foreign Policy   September 22, 2011

For years, even Israelis have known that Palestine is a state.

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Mexican Roulette

Foreign Policy   August 30, 2011

A deadly gun-running gamble just cost America’s ATF chief his job. But the gun lobby gave him little choice but to try.

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The Unquiet Life of Franz Gayl

Washington Monthly   July 2011

A Marine who made too much noise, helped save the lives of countless troops in Iraq, and paid with his career.

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The Good Bad Son

New York Magazine   May 22, 2011

Seemingly overnight, Saif Qaddafi became a new man: not the deliverer his supporters had hoped but someone indistinguishable from his father.

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The Curious Case of Joseph and Nicholas Brooks

New York Magazine   February 7, 2011

The father was an Oscar-winning songwriter. The son, a college dropout bon vivant. Their alleged crimes: serial sexual assault and a  murder in a hotel bathtub.

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The Great Cyberheist

New York Times Magazine   November 14, 2010

According to the prosecutor in the case of hacker and government informant Albert Gonzales, “The sheer extent of the human victimization caused by Gonzalez and his organization is unparalleled.”

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Obama=Bush?

Boston Globe Ideas   November 14, 2010

Barack Obama isn’t the new Jimmy Carter, but he may be the new (first) Bush

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Show Him the Money

Washington Monthly   July 2010

Tom Donohue scares millions of dollars out of corporations. Is his U.S. Chamber of Commerce good for business?

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The Real Deal

Slate   June 15, 2010

The unjustly unheralded Michael Winterbottom blurs the line between fiction and documentary.

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The Vatican Loves a Good Story

Slate   June 3, 2010

It takes money, a medical miracle, and a compelling vita to make it as a saint.

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Lost Exile

Vanity Fair   February 2010

The unlikely life and sudden death of Russia’s angriest newspaper.

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D’Escoto Inferno

The New Republic   June, 2009

Meet the Sandinista who runs the U.N. General Assembly.

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Meth Mouth

Fast Company   May 2009

A tech tycoon believes keeping teens off crystal meth is a matter of scary advertising. Could he be right?

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Arming the Drug Wars

Portfolio   June 2008

American demand for drugs provoked the cartel wars in Mexico, and American guns smuggled over the border have made them staggeringly lethal.

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Big Brother Inc.

Vanity Fair   December 2007

Knowing your business is big business for Aristotle Inc., whose  database of voter records has been an essential campaign tool for every president since Ronald Reagan.

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Putin’s Power Grab

Portfolio   November 2007

The Russian president’s real power comes not from the KGB, but from the oil and gas in his country’s far east.

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The Devil’s Advocate

The New Republic   September 2007

Is Environmental Defense Fund an ecological savior or a corporate stooge?

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A Budding Invasion

Men’s Vogue   March 2007

Mexican cartels have made marijuana a cash crop worth billions by infiltrating America’s national forests.

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The Pruner

Washington Monthly   June 2006

Arizona’s other maverick.

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Will Success Spoil MySpace?

Vanity Fair   March 2006

MySpace has become the most popular social-networking site on the Web, a virtual city of sex and youth culture, with its own celebrities, Casanovas, and con artists. Its most unlikely character is its conservative new owner, Rupert Murdoch.

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Two if by Sea

The American Prospect   March 2005

The Port of Los Angeles may be the country’s most attractive target for economic terrorism.

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