Priceonomics

To procrastinate away what’s left of your Friday, or enjoy over a leisurely weekend, Priceonomics offers you five crazy stories from the world of foreign affairs. From the true story behind Argo to the most dangerous bar in the world, these links are anything but politics as usual:  

1) Stoned Arms Dealers 

The story of how two stoned kids in their twenties rode the War on Terror to become international arms dealers. And their downfall.

2) The True Story Behind Argo

Since Ben Affleck filmed the story of the CIA’s daring rescue of American diplomats from 1979 Iran, a few hundred articles and blog posts have been written to separate fact from fiction. Skip them in favor of this 2007 article from Wired magazine on the CIA plan so crazy it just did work.

3) Drug Running Submarines

What’s the best way to transport drugs? Truck? Plane? Drug mule? How about by submarine? Time has great photos of submarines seized by Colombian police that was constructed and used by drug traffickers. Also check out this New York Times reporting on drug smuggling by sub in the Caribbean. 

4) Photos of Liberal Tehran, Iran

This set of photos from the 1970s depicts Tehran back when “the skirts were short, the dance was the twist, and America wasn’t Enemy No. 1.” It’s jarring to recognize these pictures as belonging to a country where “morality police” now crack down on women showing a stray hair in public. Once you’re suitably awed, check out the other old photos - pictaresque Mogadishu, Somalia; Alexandria, Egypt looking like club med; and Kabul, Afghanistan posing as a Mad Men set. (Note: The site may ask you to create an account.)

5) Baghdad Country Club

What does it take to run a bar in the middle of an insurgency? A few connections, a pickup truck, and a bit of a crazy streak. This story investigates the Baghdad Country Club, a bar that catered to expats in the Green Zone of Baghdad during the Iraq War’s most violent years. Although you have to pay to read the full story, you can read about some of the harrowing details here and here: the beer runs down a road full of snipers and car bombs, interactions with the neighbors - the Supreme Council for the Islamic Revolution in Iraq, and the coat gun check.

This post was written by Alex Mayyasi. Follow him on Twitter here or Google



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