Edward R. F. Sheehan is a former US diplomat in the Middle East, a novelist (Cardinal Galsworthy), and the author of The Arabs, the Israelis, and Kissinger. He is a former Fellow of Harvard’s Weatherhead Center for International Affairs. (April 2004)

The Disintegration of Palestine

Nablus is a pleasing city, the most populous in the West Bank. A visitor is struck by the limestone dwellings on verdant mountainsides that surround the ancient town, first settled three millennia ago in the northern part of the West Bank. The city is now inhabited by nearly 200,000 Palestinians …

The Map and the Fence

As the Iraqi war has wound down, the United States has been promoting a “road map” intended to solve the conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Together with the European Union, the United Nations, and Russia, the US defines the road map’s destination as “a final and comprehensive settlement of …

In the Heart of Somalia

Shortly before the United States military forces intervened in Somalia, I spent several weeks visiting feeding centers where thousands of Somali children are surviving on porridge from the West, while thousands more have been dying. Like so many others, I wonder how aware the US is of what it may …

The Open Border

In mid-December I revisited Sarita, a place in the open, flat range country on Texas Route 77, where the only building is a wooden shed—a long converted trailer that houses the US Border Patrol. The Rio Grande and Mexico lie about sixty miles south, but the Sarita checkpoint is the …

The ‘Clean’ War

Colonel Mauricio Ernesto Vargas is the commander of the Fourth Detachment of the Salvadoran army’s Third Brigade in San Francisco Gotera, capital of the warravaged department of Morazán, about a hundred miles northeast of San Salvador. He is thirty-nine years old but looks about twenty-five. I met him early one …

The Country of Nada

In early December of last year, the season of Advent, Monseñor Geraldo Scarpone, a diminutive Franciscan of middle age from Watertown, Massachusetts, sat in a room of his seventeenth-century Spanish cloister, sorting out and tearing up the personal papers of a young priest, a Honduran who had just been killed …