KGOU

Syria

(We most recently updated this post at 9:10 a.m. ET.)

"Two Syrian pro-opposition groups are claiming that dozens of people were killed Wednesday in a poisonous gas attack near Damascus," NPR's Jean Cochran reported earlier this morning on our Newscast. The groups are blaming the attack on government forces, she said.

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.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise discuss Friday evening's "Syria: Not Our War" protest at the State Capitol, and what questions it raises about the growing U.S. involvement in Syria.

Rajdeep Singh, the Washington, D.C. Director of Law and Policy for the New York City-based Sikh Coalition, discusses his organization's civil rights work, including their 2009 effort in Oklahoma to stop legislation from advancing that would have prohibited motorists from wearing head scarves or other coverings in their driver’s license photos.

Oklahoma House of Representatives / YouTube

A bipartisan group of state lawmakers and other activists plan to hold a rally at the Oklahoma Capitol Friday evening to protest growing U.S. involvement in Syria’s civil war.

State Rep. Paul Wesselhoft (R-Moore) is one of the organizers of the rally. He says giving arms, ammunition, and political support to a disunited group of rebels is a “grave error.”

“There are [sic] a coalition of over six groups that are involved in trying to overthrow the Assad government,” Wesselhoft said in a press conference Wednesday. “At least two of these groups we know to be known terrorist organizations that have attacked us in the past.”

Joshua Landis offers an update about the situation in Syria, and how chemical weapons affect the public’s view of the civil war. The panel also talks about the Edward Snowden case and the complexities of asylum and extradition.

Stigler, Oklahoma native Pamela Olson moved to Palestine  after she graduated in 2002. She settled in Ramallah, where she worked as the head writer and editor for the Palestine MonitorShe just wrote a book about her experiences called Fast Times in Palestine.

Bernd Schwabe / Wikimedia Commons

Earlier this month President Obama told Charlie Rose the use of chemical weapons would change his calculus in the region, but not his goals for Syria.

Joshua Landis, the author of the blog Syria Comment and the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the United States supplying lethal aid to Syrian rebels is a big change that makes a big difference.

“Once you get all the CIA and everybody else in there - our trainers and Special Forces - then they want to win,” Landis says. “They're not going to do it to play patty-cake."

Over the past 11 months, the Zaatari refugee camp in Northern Jordan has hosted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing that country’s civil war.

Suzette Grillot and Rebecca Cruise visited the camp in early June, and witnessed some of the newest arrivals.

Real-time updates on social media are revolutionizing traditional journalism. By following Twitter feeds and other forms of social media, journalists like NPR Senior Strategist Andy Carvin now identify breaking news faster and do a better job following international stories.

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Over the past 11 months, the Zaatari refugee camp in Northern Jordan has hosted hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees fleeing that country’s civil war.

World Views host Suzette Grillot and regular contributor Rebecca Cruise visited the camp in early June, and witnessed some of the camp's newest arrivals.

“They had their life's belongings in a wheelbarrow,” Cruise says. “They were coming in with some hope, and unfortunately, I don't know hopeful the situation really is going to be for them. So that was very sad to see."

(This post was last updated at 1:31 p.m. ET.)

On Thursday, the United States revealed that it now has "high confidence" that the Syrian regime had used chemical weapons against rebel forces.

"The constant flow of killings continues at shockingly high levels," the U.N. high commissioner for human rights said Thursday as her office reported there have been at least 92,901 conflict-related deaths in Syria since March 2011.

Ammar Abd Rabbo / Flickr

Real-time updates on social media are revolutionizing traditional journalism. By following Twitter feeds and other forms of social media, journalists like NPR Senior Strategist Andy Carvin now identify breaking news faster and do a better job following international stories.

“Crowdsourcing is basically just a fancy term for asking for help from the public,” Carvin says. “It's something journalists have always done at various points, but now social media has made it easy to engage people all over the world.”

Carvin calls himself an “informational DJ.” He has used crowdsourcing to cover stories ranging from the Newtown, Connecticut shooting to the Arab Spring.

Suzette Grillot continues to host the program from Istanbul. A week since protests broke out across Turkey, she and Joshua Landis discuss where things stand in the normally peaceful and stable country.

On Friday June 14 Iranians head to the polls to elect a successor to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. The Tehran Bureau founder and editor Kelly Niknejadjoins World Views for a look at the elections, and a conversation about Western journalism in the Islamic Republic.

KGOU's "World Views" contributor Joshua Landis tells the PBS Newshour more arms will certainly lead to more killing in the short run, but if the Western countries are willing to go toe to toe with Russia, Iran and Hezbollah in Syria, they can certainly give better arms and provide more lethal air power.

KGOU's "World Views" contributor Joshua Landis's blog "Syria Comment" makes this list from "Policy Mic."

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Tens of thousands of Turks have joined anti-government protests expressing discontent with Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s 10-year rule.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says the protests started over green space in the middle of Istanbul’s Taksim Square. Developers, with the backing of Erdoğan, want to build a large shopping mall.

“Very quickly political parties and the opposition parties joined in,” Landis says. “But much more than that, lots of middle-class people and particularly young students began to crowd into the squares.”

Suzette Grillot / KGOU

Monday marked the fourth day that riot police used tear gas in Istanbul and Ankara against protesters.

Demonstrations started Friday over plans to rip out trees and redevelop an area of Taksim Square in Istanbul, but quickly spread as urban, secular Turks vented frustration that prime minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan is an authoritarian figure who wants to force his religious outlook on them.

KGOU's World Views host Suzette Grillot is in Ankara leading the University of Oklahoma College of International Studies "Journey to Turkey" program.

"We are half-a-mile away from the protests in Ankara – we can hear them from our hotel,” Grillot says.  “But interestingly, life continues as usual outside the protest areas with people shopping and eating at outdoor cafes with little interest in what is happening."

Suzette Grillot reports from Antalya, Turkey, where she speaks with Middle East expert Joshua Landis about Turkey’s booming economy and domestic anxieties.

Desmond Shawe-Taylor and Anna Somers Cocks join the program to discuss art appreciation in the 21st century. Shawe-Taylor is the Surveyor of The Queen’s Pictures, overseeing nearly 7,000 oil paintings and 3,000 miniatures from the British Royal Collection. Somers Cocks is the founding editor and CEO of The Art Newspaper.

Joshua Landis / Facebook

Over the last decade, Turkey has averaged at least five percent growth of gross domestic product per year with a per capita income now more than $17,000, according to the country’s Ministry of Finance.

Those numbers are only expected to rise, even as a revolution continues to boil over next door in Syria, Iran faces severe economic sanctions, and economies in Greece and Cyprus melt down.

Joshua Landis, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Oklahoma, says after Turkey’s attempt to join the European Union failed, Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan forged a new path, facing neither East nor West.

FreedomHouse2 / Flickr

After decades of fighting, the conflict between the Kurdish nationalist group the PKK and the Turkish government finally drew to a close with a ceasefire in March.

Peace in Turkey may be short-lived, though. Violence in neighboring Syria is steadily intensifying, forcing a reluctant Turkey to respond and possibly putting citizens at risk.

“Most people among the Kurdish population are very optimistic,” says Firat Demir, a University of Oklahoma economist. “The last thing now that a citizen of Turkey wants is to have another civil conflict after this 80-year-old bloody conflict that is ending.”

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