Jonathan Littell

Jonathan Littell is a former aid worker. His first novel, The Kindly Ones, was published in French in 2006.

Lost in the Void: In Ciudad Juárez

Jonathan Littell, 7 June 2012

‘Over Sixty Hours without an Execution.’ When PM, the biggest tabloid in Ciudad Juárez, can’t find a corpse to put on its front page, it has to come up with something. On 21 November last year it announced that ‘the city has just experienced an unusual outbreak of peace … the longest for three years. Newspaper statistics show that from 29 December 2008,...

Syrian Notebooks

Jonathan Littell, 8 March 2012

‘They’ve​ been calling me Al-Ghadab, “Fury”, from the beginning,’ the smuggler said, his big beard split by a mischievous smile, ‘But I laugh all the time!’ A stocky man wearing a black tracksuit and carrying two mobile phones, Fury stood in a freezing apartment in Tripoli. Two men were with him, both Lebanese, smugglers apparently. But he...

They’ll never pull it off, people said. Too little time, too little money, obstruction from the North … The April 2010 elections – both presidential and local – had gone poorly, ‘highly chaotic, non-transparent, and vulnerable to electoral manipulation’, as the international observers from the Carter Center declared. And a failed referendum would be even...

Chechnya, Year III: Ramzan Kadyrov

Jonathan Littell, 19 November 2009

Since Ramzan Kadyrov, the young president of Chechnya, is, as everyone knows, ‘the greatest builder in the world’, it’s a happy chance that has the visitor from abroad arriving in Grozny on 27 April, the eve of Dyen Stroitelei, Builders’ Day, so called to celebrate the fifth anniversary of the Ministry of Construction. Tamir, a young Chechen press attaché...

American intelligence saw Islamic State coming and was not only relaxed about the prospect but, it appears, positively interested in it.

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On the night of 4 February 1983, Klaus Barbie was sitting on the cold metal floor of a transport aircraft. Kidnapped in Bolivia, the former head of the Gestapo in Lyon was being flown back to...

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