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When the Jihad Came to Mali
Joshua Hammer • New York Review of Books
A history of how Tuareg separatists, jihadists, cigarette smugglers, and narcotraffickers have turned Northern Mali into "the globe's most significant terrorist threat."
On my second morning in Mopti, the French seized Timbuktu. Fighters from al-Qaeda and Ansar Dine paused before fleeing to commit one last act of desecration: they set fire to hundreds of manuscripts at the city's Ahmed Baba Center, a library that I had visited in 2006 and 2009. Timbuktu's citizens had buried thousands of other ancient books in holes in the desert and elsewhere, and prevented a far graver loss. "We are joyful," I was told by Azima Ag Mohammed Ali, the Tuareg who had been my guide in 2009. In November 2011 Azima's last client, a German backpacker, had been shot dead outside a Timbuktu hotel after resisting gunmen's attempts to kidnap him. Azima got there a few minutes later and "saw his body lying in the street." Three other Europeans had been dragged off and still remain hostages in the desert. After nearly a year's absence, Azima was preparing to return home to Timbuktu with his wife and children to try to start his life again in the city.
Joel Saget/AFP/Getty Images
Alwaleed and the Curious Case of Kingdom Holding Stock
Kerry A. Dolan • Forbes
Investigating the real worth of an image-conscious Saudi billionaire.
Any reporter who shows an interest in Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal of Saudi Arabia can expect at some point to get a little gift from His Royal Highness. A driver will courier over a thick, tall green leather satchel, embossed with the oasis palm logo and name of Alwaleed's Kingdom Holding Co., weighing at least 10 pounds. Like Russian nesting dolls, the green leather satchel reveals a green leather-bound sleeve, which in turn encases a green leather-bound annual report. About the only thing not shrouded in leather are thin versions of a dozen of the best-known magazines in the world, each boasting the prince on its cover.
Fayez Nuraldine/AFP/Getty Images