• ON THE GROUND

    • On the verge of the Caliphate #2
      ­­­Another car bomb (six dead and scores wounded), this time at the entrance of the governor’s office in Erbil, the usually rather safe capital of the Kurdish autonomous region. It’s a disturbing event: it shows that the 1,000 km common frontier with the  Caliphate is hard to defend and that the Is is not short of fanatics willing to attack civilian and mili […]
    • On the verge of the Caliphate
      The last check point is a maze of sand and gravel mounds at the end of an empty road. Heavily armed kurdish peshmergas are positioned on the ridge of a barren hill looking at the town of Jalawlah, now in the hands of the Is, just two kilometres away: I can see the the minarets and the greenish valley below the setting sun. Here is where I start my journey... […]
    • What’s on, baba?Tunis, October 24, 2014
      Going back home through the windswept alleys of the Hammamet medina at night I ruminated what I was told by a policeman at a checkpoint: something will happen before dawn. He was right. Elections are just three days away and something always happens when Tunisians head to the polls. So I wasn’t surprised when the phone rang in the morning with the news that […]
    • Ground zero in Homs
      A plastic chair and a few plastic flowers in the yard of the jesuit monastery in Homs: this is where the Dutch father Frans van der Lugt was murdered in cold blood on April 7th. A bullet in the head, and he was gone: just a few days before an Iranian-brokered deal ended the worst battle of the Syrian war. After months of negotiations more then 2,000 jihadist […]
    • Just another coup in Bangkok
      Bangkok, May 24th, 2014. Soldiers in the streets, schools and universities closed, 10 pm-5 am curfew imposed, BBC and CNN off air, censorship on media, ex prime minister Yingluck Shinawatra and 135 other politicians arrested, $ 3.5m military US aid (temporarily) suspended, the Senate dissolved. So goes the 18th coup (11 of them successful) since the end of t […]