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Uri Friedman

Uri Friedman is a senior associate editor at The Atlantic, where he oversees the Global Channel. He was previously the deputy managing editor at Foreign Policy and a staff writer for The Atlantic Wire.
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The Symbolism of the New U.S. Medal for Fighting ISIS

April 1, 2016 During the Crusades of the Middle Ages, a typical Frankish knight wore “a coat of chain mail or scale armour, [a] shield and a helmet,” Piers Mitchell tells us in hisbook on warfare and medicine during the period. The chain mail, a mesh formed with interlinked metal rings, offered protection,...

The Changing Logic Behind Suicide Bombings

March 24, 2016 In October 2015, two suicide bombers killed more than 100 people outside a railway station in the Turkish capital of Ankara. It was the deadliest terrorist attack in the country’s modern history, but it was also something more, something not fully appreciated at the time, according to Robert Pape, a...

Remember the Time Fidel Castro Asked FDR for $10?

March 18, 2016 Earlier this week, just ahead of making the first visit by a sitting American president to Cuba in 88 years, Barack Obama cultivated a very special pen pal. Sitting at the Resolute desk in the Oval Office, he wrote a note to Ileana Yarza, a 76-year-old retired economist in Cuba...

The US-Iran Conflict That Never Happened

January 21, 2016 We have just witnessed one of the most consequential weeks for U.S.-Iran relations since diplomatic ties were broken in 1980, amid the Iranian hostage crisis. Last week began as it ended: with the release of captives. U.S. sailors were seized and set free; international sanctions against Iran were lifted in...

How Harry Truman Announced the Hydrogen Bomb in 1953

January 10, 2016 Thermonuclear weapons, otherwise known as hydrogen bombs or H-bombs, are unimaginably ruinous. In 1952, the United States carried out the first successful test of such a device, which eclipses the lethality of atomic weapons by relying not just on a nuclear-fission explosion, but also a fusion reaction. The testobliterated an...

There's Far More to the Saudi-Iran Feud Than Sunnis-Vs.-Shia

January 7, 2016 In recent days, news of Saudi Arabia’s execution of the Shia leader Nimr al-Nimr, and the diplomatic clashes with Iran that followed, has often been accompanied by an explanation that, in simplified form, goes something like this: The schism between Sunni and Shia Islam is an ancient one, expressed today...

The Global Conflicts to Watch in 2016

December 18, 2015 In the summer of 2012—around the time that the Islamic State’s inchoate plans for a caliphate merited a mere footnote in a U.S. congressional report on the year-old Syrian conflict—Robert Satloff argued that a civil war was taking shape in Syria, and that its terrible consequences would extend far beyond...

Should Mexico Respond to Trump?

September 8, 2015 On Friday, Mexico’s president, Enrique Pena Nieto, made news by commenting on a matter he’d until then remained silent about: Donald Trump. “Some have hoped for the president to take a position on what Trump has said. The government … fully discredits and condemns any expression of a discriminatory character...

Satellite Imagery Is Revolutionizing the Way We Respond to Wars

February 11, 2015 On January 8—just hours after the attack on Charlie Hebdo in Paris—reports emerged of another massacre by Islamist extremists, this time in northeastern Nigeria. Compared with the carnage in France, the extent of the destruction in Nigeria was transmitted with far less precision. Some sources said the militant group Boko...

The War America Doesn't Want To Own

January 22, 2015 Tuesday's State of the Union address was the first since 2001 to not mention al-Qaeda. It opened with the promise of a post-post-9/11 era. "We are 15 years into this new century," President Obamaobserved. "Fifteen years that dawned with terror touching our shores; that unfolded with a new generation fighting...