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Middle East

PRI's The World

A ship full of Kurdish oil remains trapped at sea off the coast of Texas

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

An oil tanker is sitting 60 miles off the Texas coast, trapped at sea with one million barrels of crude oil from Kurdish Iraq. It's worth $100 million, but Baghdad and the government of the country's autonomous Kurdish region can't agree on who's allowed to sell it.

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PRI's The World

Iraqis welcome further US airstrikes, but worry they'll get more than they asked for

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

President Barack Obama will address the nation Wednesday and unveil his strategy for defeating ISIS, the militant Islamist group in Iraq and Syria. And while Iraqis say they're happy about the prospect of more American airstrikes against ISIS, they want ground troops to stay away.

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PRI's The World

How Qatar is placing its bets on militant terrorist groups

Monday, September 08, 2014

An investigation by the New York Times has shown how the tiny Gulf state of Qatar is supporting a wide range of Islamist groups across the Middle East. This includes Hamas, Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood and even al-Qaeda's official branch in Syria, Jabhat al-Nusra.

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PRI's The World

Murdered journalist Steven Sotloff was Jewish and Israeli — and here's how his friends tried to cover it up

Monday, September 08, 2014

When Steven Sotloff's friends discovered he was being held captive by ISIS militants, they set out to hide any reference to the fact that he was Jewish and a dual American-Israeli citizen — and succeeded.

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PRI's The World

Fijian peacekeepers in Iraq aren't just a battalion — they're a choir

Friday, September 05, 2014

Fijian soldiers have been part of UN peacekeeping operations in Iraq since 2004. Five have been killed and others are being held captive by the Syrian branch of al-Qaeda. One way the brigade stays committed and strong is to sing. And they believe it keeps them safe, as well.

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PRI's The World

Crystal meth, skinny jeans and underground bloggers — it's the Iran you never see

Thursday, September 04, 2014

Iranian-British author Ramita Navai says Iran's capital Tehran is full of people who are leading double lives. On the outside, they conform. On the inside, they are true to themselves. She tells their stories in her novel, City of Lies: Love, Sex, Death and the search for Truth in Tehran.

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PRI's The World

Ever wonder what the black-and-white ISIS flag means?

Thursday, September 04, 2014

It's reminiscent of a black-and-white pirate flag and, for some, it conjures up similar feelings of death, destruction, outlaws and violence. Here is our quick explanation of the symbolism of the flag and the meaning of its Arabic phrases.

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PRI's The World

Turkey tries to amp up its border security as the threat from ISIS rises

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

Turkey, NATO's southern flank, shares a border with ISIS extremists. For years, that border has been easy to cross, allowing foreign fighters to stream into Syria. Now, with ISIS on the rampage, Turkey is trying to shut down the border, but it may be too late.

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PRI's The World

At the only place where Israel will export things to Gaza, both sides remain at arm's length

Wednesday, September 03, 2014

A visit to the Kerem Shalom crossing between Israel and Gaza is like a trip into the Twilight Zone. The security precautions and lack of human contact between the Israelis and Palestinians who work there captures the bizarre relationship between the two sides.

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PRI's The World

An ISIS video appears to show the killing of American journalist Steven Sotloff

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Steven Sotloff, an American reporter held for more than a year after his capture in Syria, appeared to be the victim of an execution by the Islamist militant group ISIS. After being shown in the recording of journalist James Foley's killing, Sotloff's murder was also filmed and distributed on the Internet.

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PRI's The World

A friend remembers American journalist Steven Sotloff

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

A video has been released purportedly showing the beheading of US journalist, Steven Sotloff, at the hands of militants from the terrorist organization that refers to itself as the Islamic State. Janine di Giovanni, Middle East editor at Newsweek, a friend and colleague of Sotloff's, remembers him from better times.

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PRI's The World

A former UN relief coordinator says Iraqi and Syrian refugees pose the biggest humanitarian crisis of our generation

Monday, September 01, 2014

Jan Egeland says the current crisis caused by the Syrian civil war affects far more people than the notorious violence in Rwanda and the Balkans more than a decade ago. And the former UN official says no nation is addressing it — from the West to the Arab World, or powers like China and Russia.

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PRI's The World

Britain could strip citizenship from those who join Islamic extremists in Iraq and Syria

Monday, September 01, 2014

The debate between security and civil liberties continues to heat up in the UK. More than 500 British citizens have reportedly gone to fight in Syria and Iraq, and the government wants to increase measures to make sure they don't bring violence with them when they return home.

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PRI's The World

Kurds in northern Iraq now suspect their Arab neighbors of siding with ISIS

Monday, September 01, 2014

As Kurdish forces repel the militant group ISIS from areas in the north of Iraq, some believe they're also using the moment to push Arabs out of the villages where the groups have lived together for decades.

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PRI's The World

This hobbyist-turned-journalist is a one-man digital detective agency

Friday, August 29, 2014

Bellingcat is a new website for citizen journalists to do what you might call social media detective work. On the site, bloggers and journalists use crowdsourcing, geolocation and reviewing satellite images to gather intelligence in conflict zones around the world.

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PRI's The World

The number of British Islamist fighters rises, and so does the UK's threat level

Friday, August 29, 2014

British Prime Minister David Cameron says "the threat is growing" from groups like ISIS and the British subjects they've attracted to the fight in the Middle East. That's why the British government raised its terror alert level on Friday, but few other details are coming out about the threat.

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PRI's The World

Kurdish soldiers are paying for their weapons out of their own pockets

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Kurdish peshmerga forces have proven to be the most effective army in Iraq for battling ISIS. But in order to keep up the fight, they have to buy their own guns.

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PRI's The World

A blogger's hobby becomes a valuable war reporting tool

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Pioneered by people like Eliot Higgins, new social media techniques are being used by journalists to track or "geolocate" terrorists as seen in their propaganda photos and videos. For reporters locked out of dangerous conflict zones, such methods are becoming important new ways to get the story.

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PRI's The World

This could be the end of reporting from Syria

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

With the death of James Foley and the continued captivity of Steven Sotloff, even seasoned war correspondents think that groups like ISIS may have made Syria too dangerous for foreign correspondents to cover the civil war there.

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PRI's The World

No, buying 'The Koran for Dummies' doesn't mean you'll get Islam right

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Yusuf Sarwar and Mohammed Ahmed, two young Britons who traveled to Syria last year to fight with Islamist groups, made sure to grab some books before they left. One was "The Koran for Dummies," and its author says the purchase reveals a lot about the disconnect between Islam and violence.

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