Charles Glass

Charles Glass was a Middle East correspondent for ABC News for many years. He is the author of many books about the region, including Tribes with Flags: Adventure and Kidnap in Greater Syria, as well as several books about the Second World War, including Deserter and Americans in Paris: Life and Death under Nazi Occupation 1940-44.

Diary: In Beirut

Charles Glass, 2 March 2023

When I returned last year, the garbage was piled so high on the pavements that pedestrians had to compete with lunatic drivers for right of way. The private electricity generators that Saghie remembered in the 1980s were mostly quiet – few can afford the fuel needed to run them. The Ponzi scheme that the Lebanese central bank had been running for years caused the private banks to collapse in 2019. Last month, European prosecutors arrived in Lebanon to determine whether Riad Salameh is guilty, along with his brother, of having embezzled more than $300 million from the state.

Time​ magazine called him ‘Henry of Arabia’ and featured him on a cover in 1974. The headline read ‘Mideast Miracle’. Newsweek depicted him that same day as ‘Super K’ in a fluttering blue cape. The New York Times, Washington Post and the television networks piled on their own encomia. Henry Kissinger, already a media darling, had become the Middle...

Hush-Hush Boom-Boom: Spymasters

Charles Glass, 12 August 2021

Alexander Cockburn​ blamed Ian Fleming for the creation of the CIA. Without Fleming, Cockburn wrote on the fiftieth anniversary of the first James Bond novel, ‘the Cold War would have ended in the early 1960s. We would have had no Vietnam, no Nixon, no Reagan and no Star Wars.’ As adjutant to Britain’s chief of naval intelligence, Lieutenant Commander Fleming undertook a...

In No Hurry: Anthony Shadid

Charles Glass, 21 February 2013

When Anthony Shadid was born in Oklahoma in 1968, the only Lebanese personality most Americans knew was not Lebanese at all. Hans Conried was a comic actor of Austrian Jewish origin, who portrayed the gauche Uncle Tannous (a diminutive of Antonius/Anthony) on a weekly sitcom called The Danny Thomas Show. Danny Thomas was the son of Maronite Christian immigrants from Kahlil Gibran’s...

Hyper-Retaliation: The Levant

Charles Glass, 8 March 2012

‘A man may find Naples or Palermo merely pretty,’ James Elroy Flecker, one-time British vice-consul in Beirut, wrote in October 1914, ‘but the deeper violet, the splendour and desolation of the Levant waters, is something that drives into the soul.’ A month later, Russia, Britain and France declared war on the Ottoman Empire in response to the Turkish fleet’s...

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