Meeting an Al Qaeda Leader


VICE News, November 5, 2015 By Reese Erlich A radical Islamic cleric once described as Osama bin Laden’s right-hand man in Europe says that Syria can no longer function as a nation state, and will be permanently fragmented into zones controlled by various rebel groups.   “Syria will be torn into pieces,” said Abu Qatada … Continue reading

Terror Groups Compete With the West for Rebel Recruits in Jordan


Vice News, November 23, 2015 by Reese Erlich  Earlier this month, a Jordanian police captain opened fire at a police training center in Amman, killing at least five people before he was shot dead himself.   Among his victims were a South African and two US citizens working for DynCorp International, a military contractor used … Continue reading

Comedy is a serious business


The Monthly, December 2015 FROM THE LEFT SIDE OF THE BALCONY Three comics discuss the art of standup, managing to work some funny one-liners into the conversation. By Reese Erlich It’s not easy making comedy from U.S. foreign policy. The policy may be a joke, but few people laugh about it. Will Durst is one … Continue reading

The Black Panthers Are Back


Wednesday, September 30, 2015 The Monthly by Reese Erlich   Seeing a documentary on the Black Panthers while sitting next to Bobby Seale is quite an experience. As we watch a press preview of the film in an East Oakland home, the co-founder of the Panthers sometimes calls out the names of old comrades as … Continue reading

Who’s the Bad Guy? The View on Foreign Policy From Tehran


Vice News By Reese Erlich August 28, 2015 The motorcycle chained to the tree in front of Mansoureh Karami’s house looked like a typical fast food delivery bike. Her husband, nuclear scientist Masoud Alimohammadi, started his car, preparing for his usual drive to the University of Tehran. “The moment he closed the car door I … Continue reading

Here’s What Iranians Hope and Fear About the Future of Western Sanctions


Vice News By Reese Erlich August 13, 2015 The staff at the Dr. Sapir Hospital in Tehran know well the impact of Western sanctions on Iran. The 70-year-old charity hospital was founded by Iranian Jews but now mostly serves Muslims in a poor and working class neighborhood of the city. As recently as 2013, hospital … Continue reading

The heroes of the battle of Kobane want their political reward.


VICE News By Reese Erlich April 8, 2015 In late January, Kurdish fighters backed by US airstrikes routed the Islamic State (IS) in the Syrian border town of Kobane. In Iraq, too, they have been a key bulwark against the extremists amid the collapse of the Iraqi army. Now, seizing their political moment, Syrian Kurds … Continue reading

Right-wing American bloggers have a problem with facts about Iran’s Jews


GlobalPost commentary by Reese Erlich Aug 24, 2015 Two prominent right-wing websites took aim at my GlobalPost article showing that Iranian Jews support the nuclear agreement with Iran and disagree with the views of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. A blogger for the “Committee for Accuracy in Middle East Reporting in America,” also known as … Continue reading

Iran’s Jewish community gets behind nuclear deal with U.S.


GlobalPost and USA Today Reese Erlich August 7, 2015   TEHRAN, Iran — Tapo, one of six kosher restaurants in Tehran, has become an informal hangout for the city’s small Jewish community. During a lunchtime rush last week customers ate savory kebabs while excitedly discussing the signing of the U.S.-Iran nuclear accord. “There was lots of … Continue reading

In Tehran’s bustling markets, high hopes for sanctions relief may not live up to the reality


Foreign Policy By Reese Erlich August 13, 2015 TEHRAN — Thousands of shoppers wend their way deep into Tehran’s bazaar, the ancient Persian answer to the shopping mall. Among the wealthy rug merchants and housewives bargaining for clothes, the main topic of conversation is the recent nuclear deal struck between Iran and six world powers, … Continue reading