Middle East

Egypt
12:37 pm
Thu February 20, 2014

3 Al-Jazeera Journalists In Egypt Plead Not Guilty To Terrorist Links

Journalists hold placards as they demonstrate across the street from Egypt's embassy in central London, on Wednesday.
Lefteris Pitarakis AP

Originally published on Thu February 20, 2014 2:44 pm

Three journalists working for Qatar-based network Al-Jazeera English who are on trial in Egypt for their alleged links to the Muslim Brotherhood have pleaded not guilty on Thursday. The trio were denied bail and their trial was adjourned until March 5.

Australian Peter Greste, Mohamed Fahmy and Baher Mohammed, wearing white prison outfits, appeared in metal cages, according to Reuters, which says several others identified as al-Jazeera journalists are being tried in absentia.

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Military Engines
9:38 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Former Pratt Worker Pleads Not Guilty to Shipping Secrets to Iran

A U.S. Navy variant of the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter in a test flight.
Credit U.S. Navy

A former defense worker charged with trying to ship stolen proprietary information to Iran about the Air Force F-35 Joint Strike Fighter Program and military jet engines has pleaded not guilty in Connecticut.

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Reconstruction of Iraq
8:18 am
Thu January 23, 2014

Iraqi Ambassador to the U.N. to Speak in Stonington

The La Grua Center was founded in Stonington to promote arts and culture programming in the town.
Credit La Grua Center

The Iraqi Ambassador to the United Nations will speak in Stonington Thursday evening. Mohammed Alhakim is expected to talk about the challenges to Iraq's reconstruction.

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Middle East
6:40 am
Wed January 22, 2014

What's At Stake In The Syrian Peace Conference

A man runs with a child after an attack Tuesday in the northern Syrian city of Aleppo. Activists said President Bashar Assad's military carried out an airstrike.
Ammar Abdullah Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Wed January 22, 2014 9:34 am

With a major push from the U.S., a new Syrian peace conference opened Wednesday in Switzerland, the first such effort since the middle of 2012. It wasn't easy getting everyone there, and it will be harder still to achieve a breakthrough.

Here are a few key things to know about the conference:

1. What's the goal?

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Israel
8:47 am
Sat January 11, 2014

Ariel Sharon, Whose Life And Career Shaped Israeli History, Dies

Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon speaks during a news conference in his offices on Nov. 21, 2005, in Jerusalem. Sharon announced his split from his right-wing Likud party to form a new political party, Kadima. He was on the way to re-election in 2006 when he suffered a stroke and fell into a coma from which he never awoke.
David Silverman Getty Images

Originally published on Wed January 15, 2014 12:09 pm

Former Prime Minister Ariel Sharon, a towering figure in the history of Israel as a soldier and politician, died on Saturday. He was 85.

His death was announced by Shlomo Noy, the director of Sheba Medical Center where Sharon was being treated. Sharon had been in a coma since he suffered a massive stroke in January 2006 during the last Israeli election campaign, in which he was assured of re-election.

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Coming Home Project
12:32 am
Thu January 9, 2014

Iraq War Veterans Reflect on Fallujah

Retired Lieutenant Colonel Michael Zacchea in Fallujah, 2004.
Courtesy of Michael Zacchea

It’s been two years since the U.S. military left Iraq. Some of the deadliest fighting was in the western cities of Fallujah and Ramadi, where more than 1,400 Americans died battling Al Qaeda insurgents. This week, news broke that Al Qaeda has taken control of the cities. 

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Veterans
5:39 pm
Tue January 7, 2014

Fallujah Veterans Ask Hard Questions About Their Sacrifices

A U.S. Army soldier guards the remains of a burned-out military ammunition truck after it was attacked in Fallujah, Iraq, on Oct. 19, 2003. Fallujah and its surrounds were the site of some of the bloodiest fighting for U.S. troops during the Iraq war.
Khalid Mohammed AP

Originally published on Wed January 8, 2014 9:17 am

Will Walsh got to know the Iraqi city of Fallujah while running across its bridges in the middle of the night, under fire, looking for IEDs. That was nearly 10 years ago.

Last weekend, the former Army captain heard the news that Fallujah had fallen, again, to al-Qaida-linked groups.

"The question I have to ask myself is was that effort in vain?" he says now. "Was all the work that we did, all the sacrifice that we had, what is the benefit?"

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Coming Home Project
2:36 pm
Mon January 6, 2014

Special Visa Program For Iraqis Extended

During the Christmas holiday, President Barack Obama signed a bill into law that has the potential to help more than 2,000 Iraqis. It extends the special immigrant visa program for Iraqis. 

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Afghanistan
8:59 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Three NATO Personnel Killed By Bombing In Afghanistan

An Afghan security officer runs toward the scene of Friday's bombing in Kabul. Three NATO personnel were killed and at least six Afghan civilians were wounded.
Omar Sobhani Reuters /Landov

A bomb explosion Friday in Kabul killed three members of the NATO coalition serving in Afghanistan and wounded at least six civilians, NPR's Sean Carberry reports from the Afghan capital.

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Lebanon
6:41 am
Fri December 27, 2013

Bomb Blast In Beirut Kills Former Ambassador To U.S.

Some of the destruction at the scene of Friday's car bombing in Beirut.
AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri December 27, 2013 8:23 am

  • Correspondent Susannah George describes the scene in Beirut

An explosion in Beirut on Friday killed at least six people, including a former Lebanese ambassador to the U.S. who was a leader of the Western-backed coalition that opposes the militant group Hezbollah.

More than 70 other people were injured by the car bomb, authorities say.

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Iran
10:26 am
Fri December 13, 2013

American Who Disappeared In Iran Reportedly Worked For CIA

A "proof of life" photo provided to the family of ex-FBI agent Robert Levinson in April 2011.
Uncredited AP

Originally published on Fri December 13, 2013 6:05 am

The Associated Press reports in an investigative piece that an ex-FBI agent who disappeared in Iran in 2007 and was last seen in a "proof of life" photograph more than two years ago had been working for the CIA, despite official denials from the U.S.

Robert Levinson, who would now be 65, vanished after traveling in March 2007 to the Iranian island of Kish, described by The Associated Press as a resort "awash with tourists, smugglers and organized crime figures."

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Iran
11:05 pm
Sat November 23, 2013

Deal Reached To Limit Iran's Nuclear Program

President Obama speaks at the White House on Saturday.
Susan Walsh AP

Originally published on Sun November 24, 2013 1:17 pm

Updated at 5:01 a.m. ET Sunday

Iran and six world powers have reached a preliminary agreement in Geneva on curbing Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for some sanctions relief.

In a late-night statement from the White House, President Obama called the breakthrough "the most significant and tangible progress" with Iran since he took office. It calls for specific actions over the next six months, while negotiations continue on a longer-term deal.

Obama said:

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Coming Home Project
9:43 am
Sat November 2, 2013

A New American Citizen

Falah Abdullatif and Tim Coon.
Credit Chion Wolf

A few months ago we told you the story of an Iraqi translator for the U.S. Army who moved to Connecticut under a special immigrant visa program.

WNPR caught up with 49-year-old Falah Abdullatif on Thursday, October 31, right before his U.S. citizenship ceremony.

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Where We Live
7:13 am
Fri October 18, 2013

Life With Cerebral Palsy; "The Israeli Perspective"; and a Connecticut Pirate

Christopher Capozziello
Chion Wolf WNPR

Photographer Christopher Capozziello has been photographing his twin brother Nick for years. Despite being twins, there was a major difference between these two: Nick was born with cerebral palsy. Chris was not.

The photography of both brothers’ is featured in the book The Distance Between Us. It tells the story about how both Capozziellos are living and coping with Nick’s condition.

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Where We Live
7:22 am
Thu October 10, 2013

One Life in Afghanistan and Another at Sea

Qais Akbar Omar and Roz Savage
Picador/Chion Wolf

This week marks the 12 year anniversary of the U.S. invasion of Afghanistan. But war in this country pre-dates the U.S.’s involvement. In his memoir A Fort of Nine Towers, Qais Akbar Omar recounts his life in Kabul, pre-9/11 when Afghanistan was engulfed in civil war and Taliban rule.  Qais recently stopped by our studios to talk about life in war-torn Afghanistan and some of the happier moments.

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Middle East
9:47 am
Fri October 4, 2013

Working Together For Peace in the Middle East, But Differences Remain

Adi Greenfield works with Combatants for Peace.
Credit Chion Wolf / WNPR

At a time when a lot of attention is focused elsewhere, Israelis and Palestinians will join together for an interfaith march for peace in New Haven this weekend.

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Where We Live
3:03 pm
Wed October 2, 2013

The Middle East's "Combatants For Peace"

Erez Krispin is a former Captain in the Israeli Defense Forces and currently an activist with "Combatants for Peace."
Chion Wolf WNPR

There has been a lot of international news lately: the Syrian civil war, new discussions with Iran, and U.S.-Russia relations just to name a few. But the decades-long conflict between Israel and Palestine continues on the back burner in the minds of many. We talk with several people whose lives have been directly affected by this conflict and they're in Connecticut as Combatants for Peace.

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Iran
1:54 pm
Mon September 23, 2013

High-Level Meeting Set Between Kerry, Iranian Counterpart

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks during a news conference earlier this month.
Ahmad Al-Rubaye AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue September 24, 2013 11:26 am

Secretary of State John Kerry plans to meet his Iranian counterpart this week for the highest-level face-to-face between Washington and Tehran in six years.

The meeting with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and representatives of five other world powers — Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany — would come as newly elected Iranian President Hassan Rouhani visits the United Nations in New York. The talks would center on Iran's nuclear program.

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Iraq
12:38 pm
Sat September 21, 2013

Bombings Kill Dozens Of Mourners At Baghdad Funeral

Originally published on Sat September 21, 2013 4:04 pm

In Baghdad's Sadr City, a bombing attack that struck during a funeral has killed dozens of people, with the death toll continuing to rise Saturday. Multiple reports are citing at least 65 deaths in the attack, one of several in Iraq today.

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Syria
11:03 am
Fri September 20, 2013

In First Step, Syria Outlines Chemical Weapons Program

Secretary of State John Kerry at the State Department on Friday, where he addressed the situation in Syria and the recent U.N. report on the use of chemical weapons.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri September 20, 2013 12:45 pm

Syria has submitted the first details of its chemical arsenal to an international watchdog in the Netherlands that monitors compliance with agreements on such weapons.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons, or OPCW, says it has received an "initial declaration" from Damascus outlining the extent of the Syrian program — a requirement under a U.S.-Russia deal "to ensure the destruction of the Syrian chemical weapons program (CW) in the soonest and safest manner."

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Syria
7:41 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Assad: Syria Is Committed To 'Full Requirements' Of Agreement

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 7:56 pm

"We are committed to the full requirements of this agreement."

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Iran
3:44 pm
Wed September 18, 2013

Iran Frees Political Prisoners

Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh smiles at her house in Tehran on Wednesday, after being freed from prison.
Behrouz Mehri AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Wed September 18, 2013 5:17 pm

Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was among several political prisoners released by Tehran on Wednesday, just days ahead of a visit by Iran's newly elected moderate president to the United Nations in New York.

Sotoudeh, who had been held since 2010, was one of eight women and three men released, according to the BBC. Reformist politician Mohsen Aminzadeh was also among the prisoners freed.

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Syria
8:37 am
Sat September 14, 2013

U.S. And Russia Form A Plan On Syria's Chemical Weapons

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov announced a plan to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons arsenal from Geneva on Saturday.
Larry Downing AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 1:06 pm

Secretary of State John Kerry and his Russian counterpart have reached a deal that calls for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons. The plan, which Kerry announced in a news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in Geneva on Saturday, gives Syria a week to detail its chemical arsenal.

"The world will now expect the Assad regime to live up to its public commitments," Kerry said. "And as I said at the outset of these negotiations, there can be no games, no room for avoidance, or anything less than full compliance by the Assad regime."

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Syria
6:31 am
Sat September 14, 2013

U.S., Russia Reach Deal On Syrian Chemical Weapons

Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, his back to camera, and senior aides talk outside at a Geneva hotel Saturday before announcing an agreement on securing Syrian chemical weapons.
Larry Downing AP

Originally published on Sat September 14, 2013 7:15 am

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said Saturday they have reached an agreement on a framework for Syria to destroy all of its chemical weapons, and raised the specter of a potential U.N. Security Council resolution that could authorize sanctions — even military action — if President Bashar Assad's government fails to comply.

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Syria
7:00 am
Thu September 12, 2013

Russian Plan 'Is Just A Lie,' Syrian Rebel General Says

A Free Syrian Army fighter in eastern Syria on Wednesday.
Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 10:13 am

  • On 'Morning Edition': Free Syrian Army Gen. Salim Idris

As Secretary of State John Kerry was preparing to sit down with his Russian counterpart Thursday to discuss whether the Assad regime's chemical weapons can be handed over to international monitors, the commander of the rebel Free Syrian Army was telling NPR that "the Russian initiative is just a lie."

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Where We Live
11:09 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Twists and Turns of Syria

President Obama speaks to his cabinet about the situation in Syria.
Pete Souza (White House)

It’s been an amazing few days in the life of the Syrian crisis. On Monday morning, we heard Bashar al-Assad address his country’s chemical weapons in an interview with Charlie Rose. "We don't discuss this issue in public because we never said that we have it," said Assad. "And we never said that we don't have it. It's a Syrian issue. It's a military issue. We never discussed it in public with anyone." 

Last night, during a speech to the nation, President Barack Obama laid out his case for military intervention in Syria: "If we fail to act," he said, "the Assad regime will see no reason to stop using chemical weapons. As the ban against these weapons erodes, other tyrants will have no reason to think twice about acquiring poison gas and using them."

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Analysis
7:54 am
Wed September 11, 2013

Obama's Shift On Syria: A Show Of Strength Or Fear?

President Obama walks along the West Wing Colonnade toward the Oval Office ahead of Tuesday night's speech on Syria.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Wed September 11, 2013 11:00 am

One line President Obama might have borrowed for his speech to the nation Tuesday night was a famous one from John F. Kennedy's inauguration address: "Let us never negotiate out of fear, but let us never fear to negotiate."

Always admired as a fine turn of phrase, what meaning does this have in our own time?

Perhaps it might have helped Obama make the turn from indicting the Syrian regime's alleged use of chemical weapons to explaining why he backed off his own earlier threat of military retaliation against Syria.

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Syria
12:25 pm
Tue September 10, 2013

A Viewer's Guide To Obama's Syria Speech

President Obama walks toward the Oval Office of the White House on Tuesday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 1:14 pm

If ever a speech seemed to be President Obama's last, best chance to win public and congressional support for his plan to launch military strikes against Syria, it's his prime-time talk to the nation Tuesday.

With polls indicating that 60 percent of Americans oppose action against Syria for using sarin gas and congressional approval looking ever more like a long shot, Obama's speech is a high-stakes endeavor.

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Syria
10:19 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Obama's Toughest Audience: His Die-Hard Supporters

President Obama returns to the White House on Friday after the G-20 summit in Russia.
Evan Vucci AP

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 12:37 pm

Brent Rosenberg was an early and enthusiastic Barack Obama supporter at a place and time when it mattered most: Iowa 2008, in the run-up to the first-in-the-nation presidential-nominating contest.

"I worked hard during the caucuses," said Rosenberg, a Des Moines lawyer and lifelong Democrat. "I led all my friends and relatives to him."

So it's with evident pain that he now speaks about the president, on the eve of Obama's speech on military action against Syria, with disappointment, if not regret.

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News
7:39 am
Tue September 10, 2013

Ordinary Americans React To Calls For Strikes On Syria

Soldiers rappel at the Sabalauski Air Assault School at Fort Campbell, Ky.
U.S. Army Jennifer Andersson AP

Originally published on Tue September 10, 2013 9:55 am

Before we hear from President Obama Tuesday night, let's hear now from some concerned citizens. The president will go on television to ask for support to press Syria to stop using chemical weapons.

Polls suggest Americans are largely opposed to military strikes in Syria. For a sampling of opinions we have reports from Pennsylvania, Los Angeles and Kentucky.

We begin at a place whose residents know a lot about overseas conflicts: Fort Campbell, Kentucky. Our report is from Blake Farmer of member station WPLN.

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