Middle East

Pakistan
10:30 am
Tue December 16, 2014

Taliban Gunmen Storm School, Kill Dozens In Pakistan

A Pakistani girl, who was injured in a Taliban attack on a school, is rushed to a hospital in Peshawar, Pakistan, on Tuesday.
Mohammad Sajjad AP

Originally published on Tue December 16, 2014 2:21 pm

(This post was last updated at 2:07 p.m. ET.)

Taliban militants stormed a school in northwest Pakistan on Tuesday, leaving scores of students dead.

Quoting Pakistani officials, multiple media outlets say the death toll is at least 140, including at least 80 students in grades 1 through 10.

A little before 8 p.m. local time, police announced that the operation had ended after the gunmen were killed. Security personnel, police official Abdullah Khan told the AFP, were now in the process of sweeping the rest of the building.

Read more
Middle East
8:29 am
Sat December 13, 2014

2 U.S. Soldiers Among More Than A Dozen Killed In Afghan Attacks

Afghan security personnel inspect a damaged bus at the site of a suicide attack in Kabul, Afghanistan, on Saturday. There was no immediate report of casualties, but the attack was one of several in the last 24 hours that have been blamed on the Taliban.
Rahmat Gul AP

Originally published on Sat December 13, 2014 1:12 pm

It's been a violent 24 hours in Afghanistan:

-- 12 workers clearing mines on Saturday were attacked by Taliban militants and another dozen were wounded, a police spokesman said.

Read more
Middle East
6:44 am
Tue December 9, 2014

Chuck Hagel Lands In Iraq To Meet With Officials

Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel greets U.S. troops upon his arrival at Camp Buehring, Kuwait, on Monday.
Mark Wilson AP

Outgoing Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel landed in Iraq this morning. Hagel is scheduled to meet with Iraqi officials and U.S. commanders about the U.S.-led war against the so-called Islamic State.

This visit is of note because Hagel is the first secretary of defense to visit the country since President Obama ended American combat involvement in Iraq in 2011.

Since then, the U.S. has beefed up its military presence in Iraq to combat ISIS, which started an assault on the country over the summer.

Read more
Middle East
4:58 pm
Mon December 8, 2014

Facing Threats From ISIS And Iran, Gulf States Set To Join Forces

A member of the Saudi border guards mans a machine gun at the border with Iraq in July. Since the so-called Islamic State launched its offensive this summer in Iraq, Saudi Arabia has sent thousands of troops to the region.
Faisal Nasser Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue December 9, 2014 11:17 am

Alarmed over rising threats in the Middle East and North Africa, the Gulf Cooperation Council is set to launch an unprecedented joint military command, according to regional officials and military analysts.

"At the moment, we are witnessing a new spirit," says Abdulaziz Sager, head of the Gulf Research Center, a think tank that focuses on the GCC, a six-member group of Arab monarchies.

Read more
Online Business
3:37 am
Thu December 4, 2014

A Syrian Entrepreneur Looks To Build The Amazon Of The Arab World

Ronaldo Mouchawar, a native of Syria, is the founder of Souq.com, which is now considered the leading e-commerce site in the region. He says his company, which is based in Dubai, reflects a quiet transformation that is taking places in parts of the Arab world.
Courtesy of Souq.com

Originally published on Thu December 4, 2014 9:11 pm

When Ronaldo Mouchawar was working in a Boston engineering firm he dreamed of moving back to the Arab world. Born and raised in Aleppo, Syria, he had come to the U.S. to study, then got a high-paying job, but he believed he "owed something" to his home region.

It turned out his ticket back was a smart idea at the right time.

Read more
Middle East
8:13 am
Wed December 3, 2014

Kerry: Coalition Offensive Against ISIS Having 'Significant Impact'

Secretary of State John Kerry, left, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, center, and Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari prior to a round table meeting of the global coalition to counter the Islamic State.
Virginia Mayo AP

Originally published on Wed December 3, 2014 1:00 pm

Meeting with representatives of nations that have joined the United States in its fight against the so-called Islamic State, Secretary of State John Kerry said the offensive was having "significant impact."

Reuters reports:

Read more
Afghanistan
11:17 am
Sat November 29, 2014

Taliban Attack A Second Foreign Guesthouse In Kabul

Afghan security personnel secure the site of a bomb explosion in Kabul on Saturday.
Jawad Jalali EPA/Landov

For the second time in as many days, a foreign guesthouse in the Afghan capital came under attack by Taliban suicide bombers and gunmen.

NPR's Sean Carberry reports that police initially believed two or three militants entered the compound in Kabul's western Karte Seh district. He said one South African woman who was a resident at the house and managed to escape told him that as many as 12 people, including children, were trapped inside. Later, Reuters quoted an Afghan official as saying "all three" attackers were dead.

Read more
ISIS
3:35 pm
Fri November 21, 2014

Joe Courtney: Recent Events in Middle East Give "Validation" to Support of Rebels

Rep. Joe Courtney discusses his support of Syrian rebels and other priorities for the coming session.
Chion Wolf WNPR

Rep. Joe Courtney from Connecticut's second congressional district was the only member of the delegation to vote in favor of arming and training Syrian rebels in the fight against the so-called Islamic State.

Read more
Middle East
11:59 am
Tue November 18, 2014

Toll In Jerusalem Synagogue Attack Rises To 5

People react as they stand outside a synagogue on Tuesday in Jerusalem, Israel. Four Israelis were killed and several others wounded in a terrorist attack at the synagogue.
Ilia Yefimovich Getty Images

Originally published on Tue November 18, 2014 5:29 pm

(This post was last updated at 5:15 p.m. ET.)

Two assailants, armed with a gun, knives and axes, launched an attack on worshippers at a Jerusalem Synagogue on Tuesday. It left five dead and at least six others wounded.

The U.S. State Department said three of the four killed were dual American and Israeli citizens. A policeman injured in the attack died late Tuesday, Haaretz reported.

Read more
Iran's Nukes
7:05 am
Mon November 17, 2014

With Deadline Looming, U.S. And Iran Meet In Vienna For Nuclear Talks

Secretary of State John Kerry (right) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif shake hands as Omani Minister Responsible for Foreign Affairs Yussef bin Alawi and former EU top diplomat Catherine Ashton watch Nov. 9 in Muscat, Oman.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 12:54 pm

American and Iranian negotiators are gathering in Vienna this week for what's expected to be a final push toward a deal over Iran's nuclear program.

The stakes are huge for both countries, and the deal could reshape the Middle East and pave the way for a new relationship between two bitter rivals.

But if you look at the headlines this morning, it'll give you an idea of just how tenuous a deal may be:

Read more
Islamic State
5:34 am
Sun November 16, 2014

ISIS Issues Video Showing Beheading Of American Aid Worker

Peter Kassig, who changed his first name to Abdul-Rahman when he converted to Islam, is shown with a truck filled with aid supplies for Syrian refugees.
Courtesy of Kassig family

Originally published on Mon November 17, 2014 4:37 pm

Updated at 4:45 p.m. ET

The White House has confirmed that a video released by the self-declared Islamic State that shows the beheading of hostage Peter Kassig, an American aid worker in Syria who was kidnapped in 2013, is authentic.

The radical jihadist group posted the video on social media early Sunday.

President Obama said in a statement that he offered his condolences to the family, describing the beheading as "an act of pure evil."

Read more
Middle East
7:49 am
Sat November 15, 2014

At A Tense Jerusalem Holy Site, Palestinians Stand Watch

Palestinian men shout slogans next to Israeli police as they await permission to enter what Jews call the Temple Mount and Muslims call the Nobel Sanctuary, on Nov. 5, in Jerusalem, Israel. On Friday, Israel dropped age restrictions on men attending Friday prayers, a move aimed at lowering tensions around access to the contested shrine.
Lior Mizrahi Getty Images

Originally published on Sat November 15, 2014 4:09 pm

Muslims call it the Noble Sanctuary. Jews call it the Temple Mount. On the contested hilltop that has been the focus of so much of the unrest in Jerusalem, Muslims who see themselves as "defenders" of the sanctuary raise their voices in a call to God whenever Jewish visitors enter.

Read more
Military Forces
12:50 pm
Thu November 13, 2014

U.S. Would Consider 'Modest' Force For Complex Iraq Operations

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel testifies on Capitol Hill Thursday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Thu November 13, 2014 2:58 pm

Updated at 12:55 pm. EST

Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, the top U.S. military commander, told lawmakers today that the U.S. would consider sending some U.S. troops to fight alongside Iraqi forces in more complex missions against militants of the Islamic State.

He told the House Armed Services Committee that though Iraqi forces were tackling the militants, operations such as retaking the city of Mosul or restoring the border with Syria could need help.

Read more
Veterans Day
8:25 am
Tue November 11, 2014

A 3-Star General Explains 'Why We Lost' In Iraq, Afghanistan

Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Originally published on Tue November 11, 2014 7:57 am

"I am a United States Army General, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism."

Those are the frank opening words of a new book by retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bolger continues:

"It's like Alcoholics Anonymous. Step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem. To wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry."

Read more
Iraq War
7:56 am
Fri November 7, 2014

10 Years After Battle For Fallujah, Marines Reflect On 'Iconic Fight'

U.S. Marines take position on the outskirts of Fallujah, Iraq, at the start of a major operation to combat insurgents in the city, on Nov. 8, 2004.
Anja Niedringhaus AP

Originally published on Wed November 12, 2014 3:58 pm

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base." This is the first installment of the ongoing series.

Even 10 years after the battle for Fallujah, it's hard for Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Torain Kelley to talk about some things that happened.

"We had people shooting at us from up [on] the rooftops, from the houses, from the sewers or wherever they could take a shot at us from," he says.

Read more
Middle East
8:29 am
Thu November 6, 2014

NATO's New Secretary General Makes First Visit To Kabul

NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg on this way to Kabul.
NATO

Originally published on Thu November 6, 2014 6:39 am

The new secretary general of NATO and Pakistan's Army chief were in Kabul on Thursday to meet with newly-sworn-in President Ashraf Ghani.

As NPR's Sean Carberry reports the visits mark a continued honeymoon between the international community and Afghanistan's new government. Sean sent this report to our Newscast unit:

"Neither visit resulted in any new policies or initiatives. Rather, they appeared to be about marking a new chapter in Afghanistan's relations with NATO and Pakistan.

Read more
Law
3:21 am
Mon November 3, 2014

Supreme Court To Consider Case On Passports Of Jerusalem-Born Citizens

Ari Zivotofsky (center) walks with then 9-year-old son Menachem, outside the Supreme Court in Washington on Nov. 7, 2011. Their case, regarding the desire to have their son's U.S. passport list his place of birth as Israel, returns to the Supreme Court this Monday.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Mon November 3, 2014 8:00 am

The U.S. Supreme Court hears arguments Monday for a second time in a case that combines Middle East policy with the dueling foreign policy roles of the president and Congress. It's a political hot potato that asks what U.S. passports should say about the birthplace of American citizens born in Jerusalem.

Read more
Syrian Civil War
3:11 pm
Tue October 28, 2014

Syrian Peace Activist Reflects on How Civil War Changed His Country

Rami Nakhla, a Syrian pro-democracy activist and Yale World Fellow.
Credit Yale University

Speaking Tuesday on WNPR's Where We Live, Rami Nakhla, a noted Syrian peace activist, said the Syrian Civil War started as a pro-democracy uprising, but has since changed, facilitating the rise of groups like the so-called Islamic State. 

Read more
Middle East
9:40 am
Tue October 28, 2014

ISIS Rakes In Millions Through Slick Black Market For Oil

Originally published on Wed October 29, 2014 3:13 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue October 28, 2014

"The Rise of ISIS" and What to Do About It

Fighters from the Islamic State march in the northern Syrian
Raqqa Media Center

A new PBS FRONTLINE documentary explores "The Rise of ISIS." Producer and reporter Martin Smith joins us to talk about his reporting from Iraq, chronicling the conditions that allowed for the so-called Islamic State to become so powerful. He was also on the ground when U.S. airstrikes began this summer.

We also check in with Senator Chris Murphy, who has been a vocal opponent to U.S. military intervention in the crisis, and with a Syrian peace activist who is a part of the Yale World Fellows program.

Read more
Middle East
8:21 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Facing The Islamic State Threat, Kurdish Fighters Unite

Three female members of Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) and an Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga fighter stand near the front line in Makhmur, in northern Iraq, on Aug. 9. The Turkish and Iraqi Kurds have been fighting together against the Islamic State.
Safin Hamed AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 1:17 pm

At a checkpoint outside the northern Iraq town of Makhmur, I saw something I'd never seen before in Iraq.

Two men were checking cars. One was young and wearing a sand-colored uniform of the official Iraqi Kurdish forces, called the peshmerga. The other was older, grizzled and dressed in an olive-green, traditional Kurdish overall, and he's with Turkey's Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK).

"We're happy to be working together," said the older man, Hajji Hussein Abdulrahman.

Read more
Divestiture
10:21 am
Thu October 23, 2014

Connecticut UCC Agrees to Non-Violent Protest of Violence in West Bank

Credit Physicians for Human Rights

The annual meeting of Connecticut conference of the United Church of Christ passed a resolution to divest itself from companies the conference says is profiting from the occupation of the Palestine Territories by the state of Israel.

Read more
Iraq
1:43 pm
Wed October 22, 2014

Blackwater Guards Found Guilty In 2007 Shootings In Iraq

Former Blackwater Worldwide guard Nicholas Slatten leaves federal court in Washington in June. Slatten on Wednesday was found guilty of first-degree murder in the deaths of 14 Iraqi civilians in 2007.
Cliff Owen AP

Originally published on Wed October 22, 2014 2:42 pm

Four private security guards working for the Blackwater Worldwide firm who were charged in the 2007 shootings of more than 30 Iraqis have been found guilty by a federal jury.

Nicholas Slatten was found guilty of first-degree murder, and three others — Paul Slough, Evan Liberty and Dustin Heard — were found guilty of multiple counts of voluntary manslaughter.

Read more
Energy
1:10 pm
Thu October 16, 2014

As Oil Prices Fall, Who Wins And Who Loses?

Saudi Arabia's oil minister, Ali Al-Naimi, shown in Kuwait last month, has played down the drop in oil prices. The country continues to pump oil at high levels, saying it wants to preserve its market share. But this has also contributed to a 25 percent drop in oil prices since June.
Yasser Al-Zayyat AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 16, 2014 2:47 pm

With oil around $85 a barrel and tumbling to its lowest levels in several years, here's the upside: Gasoline prices are down, the U.S. is feeling less dependent on foreign crude, and serious economic pressure is growing on oil producers such as Iran and Russia.

Here's the downside: The low demand for oil reflects a fragile global economy that's vulnerable to additional shocks, like falling stock markets around the world.

Read more
World
9:15 am
Tue October 14, 2014

British Lawmakers Vote To Recognize Palestinian State

A man wears a Palestinian and Union flag outside the Houses of Parliament in London on Monday to show his support for the symbolic vote.
Luke MacGregor Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue October 14, 2014 12:26 pm

Britain's Parliament has voted to support the recognition of a Palestinian state in a symbolic vote that follows a similar move by Sweden.

The BBC says the 274-to-12 vote in the House of Commons is being described by the chamber " 'as a contribution to securing a negotiated two-state solution' — although less than half of MPs took part in the vote."

Read more
Middle East
10:42 am
Mon October 13, 2014

U.S. Strikes At ISIS In Kobani As Kurds Claim Progress

Smoke rises after a U.S.-led coalition airstrike on Kobani, Syria, Monday, as seen from the Turkish side of the border. Kurdish fighters say they're making progress against ISIS in the area.
Tolga Bozoglu EPA/LANDOV

Originally published on Mon October 13, 2014 4:06 pm

The besieged city of Kobani, Syria, has seen an increase in air strikes and fighting, with Kurdish fighters in the area saying they've stopped the extremist group ISIS from advancing. As the U.S.-led coalition carried out strikes on areas east and south of Kobani, new reports emerged about Turkey's role in supporting the fight against ISIS.

Read more
Foreign Policy
1:01 pm
Tue October 7, 2014

Panetta: Fight Against Terrorism Will Be A Long, Sustained War

Leon Panetta says he and other top national security advisers to the president argued to keep some U.S. forces on the ground in Iraq after 2011.
Frederic J. Brown AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 12:04 pm

As a member of the Obama administration, Leon Panetta was involved in many of the major foreign policy decisions of the past six years. He stepped down as secretary of defense last year.

As director of the CIA, Panetta carried out President Obama's decision to end enhanced interrogation of terror suspects, and he oversaw the operation to kill Osama bin Laden.

Read more
Where We Live
9:00 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Voices of Muslim Women, and Art With a Sense of Place

A new initiave called Muslim Women's Voices at Wesleyan runs through April 18, 2015.
Suzanne Chapman Creative Commons

The United States continues its air assault on the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. But if the bombings haven’t stopped them, what will?

"The extremists were and they are afraid of books and pens," said Malala Yousafzai, a 16-year-old speaking at the United Nations last year. "The power of education frightens them. They are afraid of women. The power of the voice of women frightens them."

Read more
ISIS
4:25 pm
Fri October 3, 2014

In New Video, Islamic State Beheads British Citizen

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 7:13 pm

The militant group that calls itself the Islamic State has released a video that shows the beheading of British citizen Alan Henning.

The video is made in much the same style as the others, and shows a masked militant begin to cut the head off a man who looks like Henning.

"The brutal murder of Alan Henning by ISIL shows just how barbaric and repulsive these terrorists are," Prime Minister David Cameron said, using an alternate name for the militant group.

Read more
Middle East
3:37 am
Fri October 3, 2014

ISIS Captives Tell Of Rapes And Beatings, Plead For Help

Displaced demonstrators from the minority Yazidi sect demonstrate outside the United Nations offices in Irbil, Iraq, on Aug. 4 in support of those held captive by the self-proclaimed Islamic State.
Azad Lashkari Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 3, 2014 8:57 am

When militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State swept through the Sinjar area of northern Iraq in August, they killed hundreds and kidnapped unknown numbers of men, women and children.

The fate of most of them is still unknown, but activists and those who have escaped recount horror stories of rapes and beatings. They're trying to focus international attention on those still being held.

Read more

Pages