• Middle East Report, N. 276 (Fall 2015

    "Children of the Stone" weaves together two stories of heroism and resilience: the tale of a boy from an impoverished refugee family who dreams of making music and sharing its liberating beauty and that of a conquered community that dreams of freedom and finds its voice in a largely nonviolent revolt that runs up against both their occupiers and their erstwhile liberators. 

  • Middle East Report, No. 276 (Fall 2015)

    Eritrea’s refugee crisis makes news when asylum seekers from the country's central highlands show up at Europe’s borders after trekking through Sudan and Libya—or drown crossing the Mediterranean. But Eritrean Afars who flee—and there are thousands—live on the other side of the Horn of Africa facing the Arab world where they are ignored by western media and aid agencies alike.

  • Foreign Policy in Focus (December 4, 2015)

    Tens of thousands of refugees from Eritrea's Afar minority fly below the radar of most western media, aid agencies, and analysts because they remain in the region rather than joining the flood of other Eritreans trying to reach Europe.

  • Foreign Policy in Focus (November 11, 2015)

    Hundreds of Eritreans are marooned at a remote camp in a desolate corner of southern Djibouti.

  • Foreign Policy in Focus (August 14, 2015)

    Neema and Afrah, both Muslims from Eritrea’s Blin minority, fled Eritrea a year apart. Today they share a small house in the Sudanese capital of Khartoum with Neema’s husband and young daughter. Both also dream of reaching Europe.

  • Middle East Report (Summer 2015)

    Hundreds of Eritrean refugees each year seek safe haven in the United States through the back door—flying to Ecuador and traveling overland, often at great risk, to reach the Mexican border. I caught up with two last March in Tapachula.

  • Mail & Guardian (June 26, 2015)

    Eritreans who fled political or religious persecution, forced labour and arbitrary imprisonment over the past 15 years, find themselves the targets of anger and hate merely for being foreigners. Knowing South Africa's history, many expected a different reception.

  • The Guardian (April 20, 2015)

    To stem the tide of Eritrean asylum seekers heading for Italy, policymakers need to ensure the country is really on a path from dictatorship to nascent democracy.

  • Mail & Guardian (March 6, 2015)

    Stripped of an opportunity to pursue his own education and placed in a dysfunctional school where he despaired of educating others as teachers went hungry and children went wild, Binyam finally gave up and left to make a new start in Kenya. 

  • Foreign Policy in Focus (February 2015)

    For Eritreans seeking refuge in Israel, fear and uncertainty are their constant companions.

  • Middle East Report Online (January 19, 2015)

    The kidnapping & torture of refugees in the Sinai and the drowning of hundreds in the Mediterranean each offer a window into the perils of human trafficking that stalks Eritreans in their quest for a safe haven. Nataniel’s experience tells it all. 

  • Foreign Policy in Focus (October 2014)

    Central Americans are not the only ones risking their lives to get to the United States through Mexico. Tucked in among this northward flow are hundreds of migrants and asylum seekers from Eritrea.

  • Foreign Policy in Focus & (April 2014)

    Eritrean refugee flows run in all directions—facilitated by smugglers with regional or global reach who are engaged in numerous criminal activities, of which human trafficking is a lucrative new line of business. An effective approach to this crisis starts with education and empowerment of the target population and involves efforts to identify and protect refugees throughout their flight.

  • Middle East Report (Fall 2013)

    A firsthand look at the trafficking, torture and ransom of Eritrean refugees in the Sinai, the efforts by Sinai Bedouin to stop it, and some new and sinister developments in the highly profitable criminal operation.

  • Middle East Report (Spring 2013)

    Thousands of Eritreans are fleeing a repressive dictatorship to seek sanctuary elsewhere. But many confront a new peril—a kidnapping and trafficking operation that starts in Sudan refugee camps and ends in the Sinai, where captives are tortured and ransomed for huge sums. Survivors who reach Israel face a growing anti-African backlash and live with daily uncertainty.

  • "Middle East Report" (Fall 2012)

    Thousands of Eritreans are fleeing their homeland to escape the tyranny there, but many find themselves in even more peril when they try to reach Israel through the lawless Sinai—or are captured as far away as Sudan and taken to Sinai as part of a criminal trafficking scheme. Ironically, the safest place may be in the country their government deems its arch enemy—Ethiopia.

  • Review of African Political Economy (Sept. 2011)

    Less than a decade after independence, the Eritrea's government shut down the press, jailed its critics, and turned the country into a political prison. This article situates this reversal within the transition from colony to independent state, explores its specific characteristics, and considers prospects for a more democratic outcome.

  • A chapter from "Change Not Charity: Essays on Oxfam America's First 40 Years" (2010)

    A critical account of Oxfam America's emergency assistance program in Lebanon during and after the 2002 Israeli invasion and how its cancellation in 2003 led to the formation of Grassroots International whose aid and information programs expanded to include Eritrea, Ethiopia, South Africa and other conflict areas.

  • A chapter from "Eritrea's Foreign Relations: Understanding its Regional Role" (2009)

    Eritrea’s relations with the United States have been fraught from the outset—shaped through and overshadowed by those with Ethiopia, almost always to Eritrea’s disadvantage. The arrival of a new U.S. administration under President Barack Obama offers both sides an opportunity for a fresh start, but it must build on—and overcome—a weighty legacy.

  • A chapter from "Eritrea's Foreign Relations: Understanding its Regional Role" (2009)

    Power in Eritrea is exercised through layers that are increasingly opaque as one approaches the center, like a set of Russian matryoshka dolls, nesting one inside the other. An exploration of this as it developed within the circle that now rules Eritrea sheds light on the way former guerrilla commander Isaias Afwerki governs and how he and his circle act to extend Eritrea’s influence across the Horn of Africa.

  • Presented at annual African Studies Ass'n conference and published by (2003)

    A political assessment of Eritrea's retreat from emerging democracy to fiercely repressive dictatorship and a personal account of the author's journey from supporter to critic.