• About Irwin Arieff

    Irwin Arieff is a veteran writer and editor with extensive experience writing about international diplomacy and food, cooking and restaurants. Before leaving daily journalism in 2007, he was a Reuters correspondent for 23 years, serving in senior posts in Washington, Paris and New York as well as at the United Nations. He also wrote restaurant reviews for The Washington Post and Washington City Paper in the 1980s and 1990s with his wife, Deborah Baldwin.

    Africa’s War Problem

    by  • July 12, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    An artisanal miner in southern Mali. JOE PENNEY/REUTERS

    Too much of Africa is a mess. While there are, of course, great success stories, many countries continue, despite the end of colonialism and the Cold War, to suffer wildly from poverty, illness, corruption, coups and wars — too many compared with the rest of the world. Even as an outsized slice of United...

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    Falling Flat in Syria: How Not to Fight Jihad

    by  • February 20, 2016 • BOOKS • 

    tktktk

    Sun Tzu’s classic work on the art of war advises would-be warriors to “know your enemy.” What were Western powers and the United Nations thinking when they first pondered ways to stop Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from beating, torturing, bombing and even gassing his own people after the first hesitant protests against his rigid...

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    Housing in South Africa: Making the Most Out of Very Little

    by  • August 18, 2015 • Africa, Cities • 

    Pelican Park

    CAPE TOWN — Declarations that people have a right to adequate housing are a dime a dozen. Among the many documents spelling out or elaborating on this right are the 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and at least nine other international treaties, plus numerous...

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    The Surprising Confessions of a Peacemaker

    by  • July 18, 2015 • BOOKS • 

    Jean-Marie Guéhenno

    When war breaks out, you would think the easy answer would be to send in a United Nations peacekeeping mission, right? In fact, it is fairly rare and extraordinarily challenging to pull such a mission together. Even then, the mission can end up a flop, making little or no difference as the years crawl...

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    If Africa Is So Rich, Why Is It So Poor?

    by  • May 18, 2015 • BOOKS • 12 Comments

    Coltan mining in DRCMining coltan, a mineral used in the fabrication of cell phones, in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Photo by Responsible Sourcing Network

    They call it the Curse of Riches. Although the African continent is blessed with gold, diamonds, oil, coltan, bauxite, uranium, iron ore and other valuable resources, its inhabitants have long numbered among the world’s poorest. While a few sub-Saharan African nations are doing relatively well, most are mired in poverty. That a continent’s abundant...

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