Somaliland's Perplexing Limbo

This month in a country that doesn't exist an election is due to be held to choose a government that will not be recognized. This is not a hypothetical puzzle, it is the actual state of Somaliland.

Somalia is the world's most glaring example of a failed state: For the past 18 years Somalia has not had a functioning government and has been marked by widespread violence and chaos.

A Swearing-in in Tehran, a Diplomatic Controversy in Washington

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came out flailing at the West during his inauguration on Wednesday as a White House spokesman touched off a diplomatic crisis with Iran by retracting an earlier statement referring to the controversial Iranian leader as that country's "elected leader."

"Let me correct a little bit of what I said yesterday," White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said. "I denoted that Mr Ahmadinejad was the elected leader of Iran … Whether any election was fair, obviously the Iranian people still have questions about that, and we'll let them decide about that."

Iran Launches Mass Trial of Opposition

A mass trial of about 100 Iranians accused by the government with fomenting a revolution opened in Tehran Saturday and was dismissed as a "politically motivated and illegal indictment" by the pro-reform Islamic Participation Party.

The trial opened after a week in which anti-government protests resumed after a lull in the demonstrations which challenged the June 12 elections, despite harsh crackdowns by authorities.

Somaliland's Addict Economy

Somalia's economy is dominated by trade in khat, a narcotic banned in the U.S. and much of Europe.

Eye-popping, head-buzzing khat is loved by Somali men who chew the leaves for their stimulant effect. While most of war-torn Somalia's economy is moribund, khat does a bustling trade estimated at well over $50 million annually. Doctors warn, however, that the drug is not only a drain on limited Somali resources but is also destroying lives.

A Jailbird's Summer Reading List

Jail cells — alongside yoga studios — are the last bastions of true inner peace. When I became the first foreign journalist in decades to be thrown into Iran's notorious Evin Prison I was exposed to a mixture of intense interrogations amid long stretches of nothingness. Stripped of my laptop, cell phone and all human contact, I was forced to confront my ego and get used to spending time with me, myself and I.

Iran: Jailing the Messengers

Editor's Note: GlobalPost correspondent Iason Athanasiadis reported on the demonstrations in Iran. He was arrested in Tehran and held in jail for three weeks. In his first piece for GlobalPost since his release, Athanasiadis writes of fellow journalists who have been jailed.

I noticed the image as I scrolled down my Facebook page and it chilled me to the bone. Staring back at me from the screen was a younger version of me flanked by two Iranian photographer friends, in a personal photograph taken almost three years ago.

Remittances a Lifeline to Somalis

What began as a way for exiled Somalis to send money to relatives at home has become a company that almost single-handedly keeps the entire war-torn country afloat.

"Remittances are a lifeline to Somalis," said Abdirashid Duale, chief executive of Dahabshiil, at his Hargeisa headquarters. "They are the main income people here receive."

Dahabshiil, a family-owned money transfer company, is a household name among Somalis. It is also Somalia's economic linchpin connecting the wealthy diaspora with the impoverished homebodies.

The Ghost Schools of Pakistan

Despite ankle deep garbage, charcoal-scribbled graffiti of machine guns and the scorched remains of squatters' fires, the dusty green chalkboard still reads "December 2, 2006," the last day that classes were held in the primary school wing of Mirza Adam Khan, a government-run compound of schools in the poor and violence plagued Karachi neighborhood of Lyari.

Unrest Continues in Iran

The third day of protests over Friday's presidential election dawned with heavy clouds rolling over Tehran and premonitions that protests over alleged vote-rigging in the Iranian elections were about to breathe their last.

Tehran's Wild Nights of Protest

Tehran is living strange days. After two nights of rioting, this city that manages to combine the frantic with the lackadaisical takes even longer than usual to get going in the morning.

Street-sweepers brush glass away from shattered bus-stops as slow traffic trundles past torched and blackened bank fronts. An overcast and cooler than usual summer with frequent rainstorms makes for a brooding atmospheric backdrop to the scenes of urban tension unfolding in the streets.

Snapshots from Tehran's Revolution Square

It was the largest non-regime organized demonstration in the 30-year history of Iran's Islamic Republic. And for once, the ruling order had not a jot of influence in organizing it.

All day Sunday, throughout Tehran's urban sprawl, jamblocked traffic and busy markets, young men and women darted in amongst the people to spread the news: Monday, 4 p.m. at Enghelab (Revolution Square).

I was talking to students outside a university dormitory ringed by riot police in a western neighborhood called Amirabad as darkness fell when I felt a light pinch on my waist.