Prisoners of Iran

Print this and stick it in your Lonely Planet. Joshua Hammer has a profile of the three American hikers arrested by Iranian guards when they wandered into the country from Iraqi Kurdistan. The hikers, Hammer writes, are “sophisticated nomads”—two speak Arabic and all were apparently eager to study and respect local customs. Yet when wandering through Kurdistan—the so-called “safe Iraq”—they made some rookie mistakes. They relied, for example, on a map printed off the Web instead of on a reputable guidebook. Hammer tracks their moves along the hiking trail and shows how easy it would be to stumble off the path.