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Beirut: Where Valentine’s Day Belongs to Another Kind of Saint

Though Beirut’s opulent array of lingerie boutiques, jewelry stores, and gift shops do brisk business in the romance trade throughout the year, many of them are shuttered on the most romantic day of all. Valentine’s Day is a semi-official holiday in Lebanon, though not because the citizens of this cosmopolitan, Middle Eastern country are reputedly […]

Libya’s Civil War: The Limits of People Power

The huge plume of black smoke rising above oil refinery in the rebel-held city of Ras Lanuf, the result of air strikes Wednesday by the Libyan government, seemed to mark an ominous escalation in what has all the makings of a protracted Libyan civil war. Though the country’s spontaneous democratic revolution made lightning progress in […]

Libya’s Desert Rebellion: The Lessons of World War II

The whipping sandstorms, low visibility, and stray camels make the five-hour car ride from Benghazi to the oil refinery town of Ras Lanuf a tense one even in normal times. But these days there is nothing normal going on in Ras Lanuf, which lies on the front lines of the clashes between Libya’s volunteer rebel […]

Dispatch from Libya: Why Benghazi Rebelled

With names like the Cafe Venizia, Mundo, and Hot Hot Coffee, the espresso bars on seemingly every block of Benghazi are a pleasant legacy of Italy’s otherwise largely brutal occupation of Libya in the 1930′s. Another is the string of neo-baroque municipal buildings, art-deco cinemas and shopping arcades that the Italian city planners linked up […]

Libya’s Rebel City: How Gaddafi Allowed Benghazi to Rot

With names like the Cafe Venizia, Mundo, and Hot Hot Coffee, the espresso bars on seemingly every block of Benghazi are a pleasant legacy of Italy’s otherwise largely brutal occupation of Libya in the 1930′s. Another is the string of neo-baroque municipal buildings, art-deco cinemas and shopping arcades that the Italian city planners linked up […]