Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 7:41 am
What does President Bashar Assad think of himself? How did his father, Hafez Assad, rise from a dirt yard to rule the country? What happens to those who speak out against the regime? Who wrote the Syrian 1984? Does Syria make the best lingerie in the Middle East? Find the answers to these questions in our roundup of five great books about Syria, recommended by experts at Harvard University, Brown University and the University of Texas at Austin.
At June's G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama sat for some awkward photos. In St. Petersburg, they'll be several seats apart during the formal discussions.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 1:34 pm
Syria's civil war is complicated, but at least there's a consensus among American policymakers: There are no good options.
So let's pretend you're the president and you need to decide what action, if any, the U.S. should take. The possibilities are endless, and plenty of unintended consequences are sure to follow.
To make your decision manageable, we're presenting four basic options. We realize they are not mutually exclusive, but you have to focus on something. You can make your choice at the bottom of this story.
The objective of an American strike on Syria appears to be evolving. Days ago, White House officials insisted their goal was to respond to the use of chemical weapons, not to intervene in Syria's civil war. But it's always been quietly understood that doing one thing could easily affect the other, and that has become more explicit in recent days.
The topic of military intervention is Syria is expected to over shadow the Group of 20 summit going on in St. Petersburg, Russia. President Vladimir Putin hosts but there are no plans for him and President Obama to meet one on one, given the controversy over Syria and Russia's grant of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
Moscow is in the final days of a campaign for Sunday's mayoral election. The outcome isn't in doubt. The winner will be the Kremlin-backed incumbent Sergei Sobyanin. But his main challenger is running a Western-style campaign. Some say that campaign could change the way politics are played in Russia's biggest city.
A big part of the challenge of enforcing President Obama's red line against Bashar al-Assad's regime on the use of chemical weapons is how the region will react. And as a possible strike on Syria looms, the mood among Arabs is something Shibley Telhami is following closely. He's a professor at the University of Maryland and his latest book is "The World Through Arab Eyes: Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Arab World."
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 5:52 pm
On the windswept plateau where Madrid is perched, it's too dry to raise cattle and most crops. So pork has long been a mainstay, from jamón ibérico and charcuterie tapas to stews of pigs' ears and entrails.
But when locals want a really special treat, they go for an entire piglet roasted whole — head, hooves and all — on an oak wood fire.
We're going to hear now from one House Republican who's already on the record opposing a U.S. military strike in Syria. That's New York Congressman Chris Gibson. Before his election to the House in 2010, Gibson served 24 years in the Army, and that includes four combat tours in Iraq. Congressman Gibson, welcome to the program.
REPRESENTATIVE CHRIS GIBSON: Thanks, Melissa. Good to be with you.
BLOCK: Why don't you lay out first just why you oppose a military strike on Syria?