Soldiers of Misfortune: Serbia’s Abandoned Army

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The men who fought for the Serbian cause in the 1990s are now fighting the state for rights and benefits. Their lowly status is in stark contrast to the privileges enjoyed by their victorious counterparts from neighbouring countries. This story traces Belgrade’s neglect of the veterans to its wartime defeats and denials. Report by Mirko Rudic. My edit for BfJE/Balkan Insight and The Guardian.

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Vanity Fair: Iraq’s Homegrown ‘Hurt Locker’ Team

EOD men in Kirkuk (photo: Kamaran Najm/Metrography)

Top story for Vanity Fair’s homepage: “In 2008 The Hurt Locker introduced the Americans who defuse explosives in Iraq. Now that all US troops will be gone by 2012, meet the Iraqi soldiers left carrying the fuse.”

Photograph by Kamaran Najm/Metrography

Financial Times Weekend magazine: Policing Kirkuk

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Kirkuk’s anti-terrorist police ride around in battered pickup trucks, keeping a nervous lookout for the bombers that have killed scores of their colleagues. With the American military eying an exit from Iraq, the force has become a central player in a seemingly intractable conflict over land and oil.

I accompanied the officers as they carried out overnight raids in pursuit of an insurgent cell linked to al-Qaeda.

Photographs by Kamaran Najm/Metrography

Caucasus foes fight cyber war

Hackers from Russia and Georgia open up a new front in cyberspace as their countries go to war in the Caucasus. Experts say it was inevitable that “the dark side of Silicon Valley” would be enlisted for real-life battles. Analysis for BBC News, August 2008

Ossetian official describes fleeing

An account of the Georgian assault on Tskhinvali from a spokeswoman for South Ossetia’s separatist government. BBC News, August 2008

BBC Radio Four’s ‘The World Tonight’: Georgia’s Iraq gamble

In early 2008, Georgia was the third-largest contributor to the US-led coalition in Iraq, sending thousands of troops to guard the border with Iran.

Tbilisi wanted its deployment to pave the way for eventual entry into Nato. But at a summit in April 2008, the alliance balked at encouraging Georgia’s hopes – a move that would have drawn a furious response from Moscow. Georgia’s war with Russia later that summer was seen by many in the West as a further argument against encroaching on Moscow’s “backyard”.

This report from Tbilisi, produced on the eve of the Nato summit, argued that the Iraq deployment had helped Georgia’s military punch above its weight – even if Nato entry remained beyond its reach.

Festival helps Serbia exit the past

By uniting thousands of foreigners and Serbs for an annual party, the Exit music festival is also steering the Balkans away from the legacy of conflict. Report from Novi Sad for BBC News, July 2006

BBC Radio Four’s ‘From Our Own Correspondent’: Legacy of Bosnia’s jihadis

In the decade before al-Qaeda was deemed a direct threat to the West, a small band of jihadis came to Europe to wage war on behalf of the Bosniak government of besieged Sarajevo.

The Bosniak’s foes, the Bosnian Serbs, are keen to project their wartime cause as a precursor to the US-led “war on terror”. But the jihadis’ legacy is fading and they have few friends today on the streets of secular Sarajevo.

Sarajevo massacre survivor speaks

Interview from Sarajevo with Esad Pozder – market trader and witness to a mortar attack that killed more than 60 people. BBC News, March 2006

Sarajevo finds love after the war

Ten years after the siege of Sarajevo was lifted, young couples in the city are once again breaching the ethnic and religious divide. Report for BBC News, February 2006

Women bombers break new ground

Insurgents from Iraq to Chechnya and Kashmir have been recruiting women as suicide bombers. But the jihadists are not the first armed groups to do so – and the practice could prove counter-productive. Analysis for BBC News, November 2005

Turning the camera back on Vietnam

Legendary Magnum photographer Philip Jones Griffiths talks about embedding and censorship from Vietnam to Abu Ghraib. Interview for BBC News, April 2005