Rick Perry Inadvertently Raises Good Point about Turkish Terrorism

Danny Gold · 01/17/12 11:30PM

Another GOP debate was held last night, providing ample opportunity for disconnected rich old white men to say ignorant, mildly racist things. Stem-cell experiment/bad suit wearing mannequin Rick Perry is widely acknowledged to have made the gaffe of the night for the answer he provided on an oddball question regarding Turkish relations.

Here's Steve Jobs' Biological Dad, Defending iPhones From Syrian Oppression

Lauri Apple · 12/03/11 12:45PM

Steve Jobs "didn't like what [he] learned" about Abdulfattah John Jandali, his Syrian-American biological dad, and therefore never reestablished a relationship with Jandali before his death in October. But that absence of connection hasn't stopped Jandali from defending his son's products—and, in a sense, his legacy—from the oppressive Syrian government, which has banned iPhones to keep people from filming killings and other atrocities being committed by local authorities.

NYC's Oldest Bialy Shop Saved by Two Muslims

Seth Abramovitch · 11/03/11 12:19AM

Here's a delicious template for peace in the Middle East: Coney Island Bialys and Bagels — at 91, the oldest bialy shop in New York City — was on the brink of shutting down after the founder's grandson had called it quits. But the bialys will live on, thanks to two Muslim businessmen harboring a deep fondness for the ways of the shmear.

Iran Condemns Two Soccer Players For Celebratory Butt Squeeze

Seth Abramovitch · 11/02/11 12:02AM

The Iranian football federation has scrutinized controversial footage of Persepolis defender Mohammed Nosrati (below, left) squeezing teammate Sheis Rezaei's (right) firm buttocks following a goal during the Persian Gulf Cup, and ruled that the two players be fined $40,000 each and "banned indefinitely from all football activities for committing immoral acts."

Obama: Troops Will Be Out of Iraq by Year's End

Jim Newell · 10/21/11 12:36PM

President Obama announced that he'll pull (very nearly) all 41,000 remaining U.S. troops in Iraq by the end of the year, fulfilling his earliest campaign promise and finally wrapping this whole debacle up. This is fine news.

The Israeli-Palestinian Prisoner Swap is On

Seth Abramovitch · 10/18/11 01:03AM

Haaretz is live blogging the exchange of the first group of 1,027 Palestinian prisoners for Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier held by Hamas militants for five years. He'll be the first captured Israeli soldier returned alive in 26 years.

Hikers Back in U.S. After Two Years in Iranian Prison

Seth Abramovitch · 09/25/11 07:35PM

Shane Bauer and Joshua Fattal, American travelers who spent two years of an eight-year sentence in Iran's notorious Evin prison for hiking near the wrong border at the wrong time, were back on U.S. soil on Sunday. The two men, both 29, emerged from their plane on the JFK tarmac at 11 a.m. surrounded by loved ones, including Sarah Shourd, the third hiker arrested with them (and Bauer's fiancee), who was released in September 2010. Bauer and Fattal later delivered statements at a press conference, but took no questions.

Grave Containing 40 Missing Taxi Drivers Found in Iraq

Seth Abramovitch · 09/11/11 08:25PM

For the past two years, an Iraqi gangster had a lucrative little auto-theft business going. He'd send one of his men to hail a cab in Baghdad — preferably a new car — and ask for a ride to Dujail. (Dujail is the Iraqi town where Saddam Hussein had 148 boys and men killed in 1982.) When the taxi got to a deserted stretch of road, a group of gang members would appear, kill the driver, bury the body, and sell the car.

President Ahmadinejad Asks Syrian Leader to Show Some Compassion

Seth Abramovitch · 09/09/11 12:08AM

You know how you know you're probably a miserable, murderous, Middle East tyrant? When Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls you up and says, "Bashie? Mahmoud here. Oh, good, good. Azam and the kids are terrific! Thanks for asking. Listen, Bash, I absolutely adore your work. You know that. Great stuff. There's no one who can brutally put down an uprising like you can. Oh, stop, you flatter me. That? That was barely an uprising! That was, like, two undergrads with a Tweeter machine and a little tear gas. No, but you. You're the man. You can't see this, but I'm high-fiving you right now! Ha ha ha! No, but listen hear me out for a second here. Maybe you should think about turning down the dial a bit on this whole 'mass-murdering of your own people' thing? What? No! Not too much! Never too much. But you know how the Westerners are. They're all 'barbaric' this, 'unarmed protesters mowed down with gunboats' that. Oh crap! I'm late for my two o'clock gay hanging. Can we pick this up tomorrow? You got it. Send my love to Asma. Saw the Vogue spread. Fabulous."

Stephen Colbert Butts Heads with Author Over Muslim Revolutions

Matt Cherette · 09/08/11 12:30AM

On tonight's Report, Robin Wright (the journalist/author, not the Sean Penn ex-wife) stopped by for an interview with Stephen Colbert about her new book, Rock the Casbah, which argues that the recent Middle East uprisings prove the United States' post-9/11 policy of "gunboat diplomacy" was both misguided and ineffective. And in a rare instance of earnestness—mixed in with his requisite schtick, of course—Colbert repeatedly challenged Wright's arguments. Here's a video of the interview's more combative moments.

Syrian Dictator Now Beating Up Cartoonists

Jeff Neumann · 08/25/11 06:27AM

Renowned Syrian political cartoonist Ali Ferzat was found severely beaten early this morning on the Damascus Airport road, apparently by plain clothes government thugs, or shabiha. A picture from the hospital today shows both of his hands appearing to be severely injured. Long critical of the Assad family, Ferzat was nonetheless tolerated and, as the Guardian notes, even respected by Bashar al-Assad at one point. Ferzat told the paper in 2001 about an encounter he had with Bashar the aspiring opthamologist:

Rebels Are Inside Qaddafi's House

Adrian Chen · 08/23/11 10:55AM

According to reports, "hundreds of Libyan rebels" have stormed Muammar Qaddafi's compound at Bab al-Aziziya. There's still fighting going on, though Reuters reports that Libyan rebels have entered Qaddafi's home in the compound. Jubilant rebels are bringing out official government files from the compound and showing them to CNN's reporter right now.

New York Gets Al Jazeera English Today

Jeff Neumann · 07/31/11 11:27PM

Starting today, New Yorkers with Time Warner and Verizon FiOS cable can watch Al Jazeera English for 23 hours a day through a subletting deal the channel reached with a suburban New York channel, RISE. [NYT]