Syria

World Views
11:49 am
Fri November 8, 2013

Two Things To Know About The Middle East This Week

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with U.S. Ambassador to Israel Daniel Shapiro, U.S. Special Envoy for Israeli-Palestinian Negotiations Martin Indyk, and Deputy Special Envoy Frank Lowenstein about Middle East peace negotiations before departing Ben Gurion International Airport in Tel Aviv, Israel, en route to Geneva, Switzerland, on November 8, 2013.
Credit U.S. Department of State / Flickr Creative Commons

Four world powers are dispatching their top diplomats to Geneva on Friday to add their weight to negotiations aimed at putting initial limits on Iran's ability to make atomic weapons.

The meeting comes shortly after the 34th anniversary of the start of the Iran hostage crisis, and the end of diplomatic relations between the United States and the Islamic Republic.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the election of Hassan Rouhani earlier this year marks a crossroads as the moderate leader tries to promote understanding with the United States.

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The Two-Way
7:16 am
Thu October 31, 2013

Syria's Chemical Weapons Facilities Destroyed, Watchdog Says

In the northern Syrian city of Aleppo last month, there was a class about how to protect against chemical weapons attacks.
J.M. Lopez AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu October 31, 2013 9:15 am

A key deadline in the quest to rid Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime of its chemical weapons has been met, according to international observers.

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World Views
10:48 am
Fri October 18, 2013

NPR’s Kelly McEvers Drafts History, Documents Her Own Story In Syria

NPR's Kelly McEvers interviews a U.S. soldier in the Middle East.
Glen Carey

Kelly McEvers spent three years based in Baghdad and Beirut covering the Middle East for NPR. She started her assignment with instructions not to miss a day in Iraq as the 2011 U.S. troop withdrawal deadline approached.

“Then in late 2010, a guy set himself on fire in Tunisia, and everything changed,” McEvers told KGOU’s World Views host Suzette Grillot. “I was swept up with millions of other people in this thing called the Arab Spring.”

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Oklahoma Voices
10:02 am
Mon October 14, 2013

Reporting On The Middle East: Syria And Egypt After The Arab Spring

Participants during an October 2, 2013 panel discussion about Syria, Egypt, and the Arab Spring. Left-to-right: NPR correspondent Kelly McEvers, Egyptian scholar Samer Shehata, Syria expert Joshua Landis, and KGOU's "World Views" host Suzette Grillot
Credit Joe Wertz / StateImpact Oklahoma

NPR assigned correspondent Kelly McEvers to Iraq in 2010 with instructions not to miss a day ahead of the expected troop withdrawal by the end of 2011.

“Then in late 2010, a young man in Tunisia set himself on fire, and literally changed everything,” McEvers says. “At first I was watching it on TV in Baghdad, sitting there thinking, ‘Do we really have to stay in Baghdad? C’mon, you know? Put me in coach!’ asking to be sent out on the stories.”

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Parallels
2:48 pm
Fri October 11, 2013

Syrians Are Widely Critical Of Nobel Peace Prize Decision

Men chat Thursday in front of badly damaged buildings in the central city of Homs. Many Syrians are critical of the Nobel Peace Prize that was announced Friday for the group that is in Syria to dismantle its chemical weapons program.
Yazan Homsy Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Fri October 11, 2013 3:54 pm

Many Syrians are frustrated, disappointed and generally upset that the Nobel Peace Prize was awarded to the group that recently arrived in the country to dismantle the government's chemical weapons.

The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons is a small, low-key outfit that has been placed in the international spotlight with its Syria mission and now a Nobel Prize.

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Parallels
8:57 am
Tue September 17, 2013

Why The U.S. Needs Bashar Assad To Stay For Now

President Obama is no longer calling for the ouster of Syrian President Bashar Assad, as the U.S. presses him to dismantle his stockpile of chemical weapons. Assad is shown here on Sept. 8.
AP

Originally published on Tue September 17, 2013 9:57 am

Throughout the Syrian war, President Obama has insisted that President Bashar Assad must go. But now, the U.S. may want, or even need, Assad to remain in power for a while longer so he can oversee the dismantling of his chemical weapons stockpile.

"For the sake of the Syrian people, the time has come for President Assad to step aside," Obama said back on Aug. 18, 2011, in his first explicit call for Assad's ouster, something the U.S. president went on to repeat on multiple occasions.

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The Two-Way
7:53 am
Sun September 15, 2013

Assad Regime Hails Chemical Weapons Deal As 'Victory' For Syria

The Syrian regime calls a new deal on its chemical weapons a victory, in a reaction that came one day after the U.S. and Russia announced the plan. On Saturday, live coverage of the the deal drew the attention of a Damascus flower shop owner.
Anwar Amro AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sun September 15, 2013 11:06 am

One day after the United States and Russia announced a deal to rid Syria of its chemical weapons, the first official reaction has emerged from the Syrian regime, which calls it a "victory." Syria's rebels are criticizing the plan, saying it doesn't punish President Bashar Assad.

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World Views
4:30 pm
Fri September 13, 2013

World Views: September 13, 2013

Earlier this week President Obama asked congressional leaders to postpone a vote on legislation that would authorize the use of force against Syria. Joshua Landis provides an update on what's next in the volatile region.

Later, journalist Erielle Reshef joins Suzette Grillot for a conversation about covering the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Before returning to her home state last year to anchor and report for KOCO-TV, the Oklahoma City native spent several years working for the Israeli Broadcasting Authority.

World Views
11:32 am
Fri September 13, 2013

Big Winners In Latest Syria Developments? Moscow And Assad

President Obama meets in the White House Situation Room with his national security advisors to discuss strategy in Syria, Saturday, August 31, 2013.
Credit Pete Souza / The White House

Earlier this week President Obama asked congressional leaders to postpone a vote on legislation that would authorize the use of force against Syria.

“We will work together in consultation with Russia and China to put forward a resolution at the U.N. Security Council requiring Assad to give up his chemical weapons and to ultimately destroy them under international control,” the president said in a televised address to the nation Tuesday night.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma and the author of the influential and widely-read blog Syria Comment, says the new diplomatic development is a victory for Moscow.

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The Two-Way
6:00 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 9:13 am

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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