Belarus, the Land of No Applause Unlike other dictators, who speak of their love for “freedom” and “liberty,” President Aleksandr Lukashenko of Belarus is admirably blunt about his disdain for any trace of liberalism. “We have had so much so-called democracy that it has made us nauseated,” he said in April, after a mysterious bomb struck the Minsk metro, killing eleven...

The People, No Egypt’s Populist Problem On September 9, a mob of Egyptian protesters stormed the Israeli embassy here, necessitating the emergency evacuation of the ambassador, most of his staff, and their families. The attack represents a significant downturn in relations between Egypt and the Jewish state, a relationship that was bound to get more complicated when President...

Free Libya Raises its Head “Raise your head,” reads a graffito as you cross the Libyan border on the desert road coming from Tunisia. “You’re in Libya.” Most of the graffiti along the route leading to Tripoli that refer to the one-time “Brother Leader,” Muammar Qaddafi, aren’t as dignified. But having suffered for over four decades, Libyans can be excused...

The Free Shores of Tripoli Libyans are ecstatic about the overthrow of Qaddafi, and they love America. TRIPOLI, Libya — Adham had never picked up a gun before, never mind fired one. But all that changed on Aug. 20, when the tall, lanky, 26-year-old Tripoli resident was handed a weapon and a grenade to fight against the 42-year regime of Muammar...

Playing with Fire Government: “an institution which prevents injustice other than such as it commits itself.”—Ibn Khaldun, 1377 In my relatively short career as a journalist, I’ve been on the receiving end of some nasty ad hominem attacks. That’s the price you pay for writing about politics and foreign affairs, a rather meager one, at least in my estimation. By...

In Minsk, Fighting Democracy with Disco MINSK — Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has used most of the instruments in the dictator’s toolbox to repress his people. He’s beaten and jailed political opponents. He’s thrown student activists out of university. He’s established a monopoly on television and radio, and continually harasses the handful of independent journalists who work here. On the evening...

Rumor Debunked The upheaval in Egypt revealed the true divide between Israelis and U.S. neocons. Herzliya, Israel—For years, American neoconservatives have been accused of being lackeys for Israel, namely the Likud party. In 2008, Time’s Joe Klein wrote, “The fact that a great many Jewish neoconservatives—people like Joe Lieberman and the crowd over atCommentary—plumped for [the Iraq] war,...

Home Stand Tajikistan was home to thousands of Bukharan Jews, and conditions seemed right for it to stay that way. But the legacy of Soviet persecution and recent Central Asian ties to Iran have made Jewish life more difficult to maintain. Mikhail Abdurakhmanov, a gaunt, mustachioed man with salt-and-pepper hair and sharp facial features, is the last...