Globe Trot 10.22

by Mindy Belz
Posted 10/22/12, 02:34 pm

A likely centerpiece to tonight’s presidential debate—focusing on foreign policy—is the report that the United States and Iran have agreed in principle for the first time to one-on-one negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Some analysts are pointing out that direct negotiations are an improvement over the P5 + 1 nonsense (the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany on one side of the table, Iran on the other), but others are right to suspect the timing of the Obama administration's likely leak, and to recall the president’s statement to then-Russian President Dimitry Medvedev last March: “This is my last election. After my election I have more flexibility.”

Ahead of certain discussion tonight about the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, Black Hawk Down author Mark Bowden serves up five myths about the raid from interviewing officials and participants. Tonight's debate moderator, CBS News anchor Bob Schieffer, announced that he will ask questions on five topics: America’s role in the world, Afghanistan and Pakistan, red lines for Israel and Iran, the new face of terrorism in a changing Middle East, and the rise of China. Mitt Romney is sure to work in the debacle over Benghazi.

With Lebanon linking to Syria a massive car bombing on Saturday in Beirut, the government has deployed tanks on the streets of Lebanon’s capital today to restore order and threats of a wider war from Syria. 

Wissam Hassan, Lebanon’s security chief killed in the bombing, has been at the heart of the entrenched tension between Syria and Lebanon.

The youngest son of former Libyan dictator Col. Muammar Qaddafi has been reported dead at least nine times, according to NPR’s Andy Carvin. But now he’s officially dead: Authorities on Oct. 20 announced he’d been killed in fighting and his body recovered, a year to the day after the former Libyan leader's death.

Remember the Darfur refugee camps? They are still there, still traumatizing, just out of the spotlight. Diseases in some camps are reportedly on the rise. Yet, ”the disappearance of Darfur from the international agenda now seems complete, perversely at the very moment when the region may be facing its most dangerous season of violence,” writes expert Eric Reeves.

It’s official: International cycling today stripped Lance Armstrong of his seven Tour de France titles, accepting the findings of the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency. Earlier this month it released evidence that Armstrong masterminded an elaborate scheme of cheating and sophisticated blood doping. Former teammates are confessing to past sins and trying to clean up what’s become the dirtiest professional sport, “leaving the once-heralded sports superstar nearly alone in his insistence of innocence.”

One Indiana high school teacher for 27 years has had his students individually chronicle their state’s several thousand war dead, including 1,750 from Iraq, Afghanistan, and Vietnam—now a significant archive of personalized war stories. “This textbook is going to say 58,142 died” in Vietnam, he told his class. “Is that meaningful? No. That's why I do this.”

Mindy Belz

Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.

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