Iraq

Joshua Landis updates Suzette Grillot on the situation in Syria, and they talk about the rise of the Islamic State and this week’s murder of journalist James Foley.

Later, a conversation about the 100th anniversary of the Panama Canal with Noel Maurer, Raisa Banfield, and Julie Greene.

Pete Souza / The White House

The beheading of American journalist James Foley this week is the latest in a series of brutal attacks in Iraq and Syria perpetrated by the Islamic State (ISIS).

The killing comes in response to President Obama's decision to provide aerial and tactical support to Iraqi government forces and Kurdish Peshmerga as they attempt to retake areas seized by IS in recent weeks.

Rebecca Cruise and Suzette Grillot discuss the escalating situation between Israel and Palestine, both the real and potential impact of host nation Brazil’s loss this week in the World Cup.

Then a conversation with national security analyst Linda Robinson about her book One Hundred Victories: Special Ops and the Future of American Warfare. She spent two years in Afghanistan joining U.S. Special Forces on combat missions, while still knowing when to stay out of the way.

Sgt. David Russell / U.S. Army

The so-called “light footprint strategy” has been a hallmark of President Obama’s military engagement strategy as he pulled U.S. troops out of Iraq and winds down the U.S. presence in Afghanistan. That drawdown of massive units of soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines and civilian support staff means a stronger reliance on smaller, more elite military groups.

Joshua Landis joins Suzette Grillot for a conversation about the situation in Iraq and the U.S. response to the escalating violence by Sunni militants.

And Rebecca Cruise and University of Oklahoma Iranian Studies professor Afshin Marashi speak with Mohamad Tavakoli, a professor of history and Near and Middle Eastern civilizations at the University of Toronto. He studies Persianate society – arguing that in the pre-modern world, Iranians, the Ottoman Empire, the South Asian Indian Mogul empire, and even Central Asians all spoke a common language.

Suzette Grillot, Joshua Landis, and Rebecca Cruise discuss this week's national elections in Iraq, and the growing ethnic tensions and violence in Western China.

Later, a conversation with historian and geographer Abigail Neely. Tuberculosis and HIV co-infection is one of Sub-Saharan Africa’s biggest health challenges, but she questions how closely they’re related, and how poverty affects the immune system.

Rebecca Cruise and Joshua Landis join Suzette Grillot to discuss subtle reminders of Nelson Mandela's controversial legacy during a week of celebration of the late president's life, and Pope Francis's selection as Time  magazine's 2013 "Person of the Year.'

Later, a conversation with Oklahoma native and former Army interrogator Eric Maddox. Ten years ago Friday, months of his intelligence work paid off when U.S. soldiers captured deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein.

Lt. Gen. Ricardo Sanchez and Amb. L. Paul Bremer speak to the media during a press conference at the Iraqi Forum in Baghdad, covering the capture of Saddam Hussein - December 13, 2003.
Staff Sgt. Steven Pearsall, USAF / U.S. Navy / Wikimedia Commons

Ten years ago Friday, hundreds of interrogations and months of intelligence work paid off for Eric Maddox when his fellow U.S. Army soldiers pulled deposed Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein from the now-infamous underground “spider hole” near his hometown of Tikrit.

More than a decade after the start of the conflict, and nearly two years after the final withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, Maddox says once Hussein was apprehended, the U.S. had no idea how to rebuild the country.

Suzette Grillot hosts the program from London, and Joshua Landis joins her by phone from Vermont to provide an update on the civil war in Syria, and how recent events in Iraq contribute to the growing violence in the region, particularly in Syria.

Later, a conversation with journalist and author Kelsey Timmerman. His book Where Am I Wearing: A Global Tour to the Countires, Factories, and People That Make Our Clothes tells the stories of the workers and conditions in the developing world's garment industries.

Scott Bobb / VOA News

Last month, at least 500 prisoners reportedly escaped from the Baghdad Central Prison in Abu Ghraib during an attack al-Qaida’s Iraq arm claimed responsibility for.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of the widely-read blog Syria Comment, says the audacious prison break re-energized al-Qaida in Iraq.

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