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Middle East

PRI's The World

Peter Theo Curtis' release raises questions about Qatari links with Syrian terrorists

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

When journalist Peter Theo Curtis was released from captivity on Sunday, the US was quick to announce that "no ransom was paid." So what was behind the negotiations between the government of Qatar and Curtis' captor's the Nusra Front?

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PRI's The World

Washington is talking tough on ISIS, but its plans for intervention don't seem to measure up

Monday, August 25, 2014

A growing number of high-ranking American officials say that ISIS, the militant group that controls much of northern Iraq, must be defeated. The White House is considering plans to send ground troops to aid Iraq in the fight, but experts say even those expanded plans won't be enough to win.

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PRI's The World

A ‘fearless’ American writer is freed from captivity in Syria

Monday, August 25, 2014

Peter Theo Curtis, an American writer held for nearly two years by an al-Qaeda affiliate, has been released from captivity in Syria. The news came as immense relief to his family and friends, particularly after the reason execution of another American journalist in Syria last week.

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PRI's The World

In Syria, the Nusra Front tries to distinguish itself from the Islamic State

Monday, August 25, 2014

The group in Syria that was holding US journalist Theo Curtis is called the Nusra Front. It's affiliated with al-Qaeda, but opposed to the Islamic State movement. Shadi Hamid, a fellow at the Brookings Institution, parses out who's who.

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PRI's The World

Why these Iraqi kids are bucking the trend — and their parents — to stay in Baghdad

Friday, August 22, 2014

More than half of all Iraqis are under the age of 20. But as most of the country is gripped by violence and instability, opportunities for young Iraqis are evaporating, and more and more are emigrating abroad. One group of friends say they’re determined to break that trend.

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PRI's The World

Elvis lives — in a small town near Jerusalem

Friday, August 22, 2014

Every August, patrons flock to The Elvis Inn to celebrate the life of Elvis Presley. This year, with attention focused on the war between Israel and Hamas, organizers wondered whether anyone would show up. But come they did.

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PRI's The World

Hamas tries to send a message to Israel — with an unprecedented mass execution

Friday, August 22, 2014

Hamas' public execution of suspected Israeli spies sent a clear message: If you work with Israel, you'll pay the steepest possible price. But the killings come after top commanders died in Israeli airstrikes, which could mean that the group is deeply vulnerable to Israeli intelligence.

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PRI's The World

The extremists who killed James Foley are as brutal as they are Internet savvy

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Among the many disturbing aspects of the execution of journalist James Foley is the fact that it was part of a deliberate PR campaign. Groups like ISIS rely on hundreds of tech-savvy foreign fighters from the West to disseminate their radical vision — often with success.

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PRI's The World

After he criticized the Gaza-Israel war, a young Israeli and his girlfriend face isolation

Thursday, August 21, 2014

In the midst of the ongoing and divisive war in Gaza, some Israelis have made their anti-war sentiments known. Sometimes, though, that's easier said than done. A left-leaning couple in Jerusalem shares their story of ostracization after vocalizing their anti-war opinions.

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PRI's The World

'In a dark place like Syria, just saying the truth is something more valuable than you can imagine'

Thursday, August 21, 2014

After surviving a siege and chemical weapons, Qusai Zakarya became an activist in his native Syria. Now in the US, he reflects on the death of "true martyr" James Foley, the American journalist who died at the hands of ISIS this week — and blasts the Obama administration for not acting in Syria.

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PRI's The World

They'll never admit it, but many countries pay ransoms to get their hostages back

Thursday, August 21, 2014

If you're being held hostage by terrorists overseas and you're French or Spanish, there's a good chance your government will find a way to free you — by paying a ransom through indirect means. If you're American or British, your best bet is to try and escape — or hope for a daring military raid.

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PRI's The World

At the very worst of times, James Foley's family demonstrates strength and faith

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Sustained by a strong Catholic faith, family members of American journalist James Foley were known by friends and colleagues for their strength and warmth during Foley's long captivity in Syria.

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PRI's The World

If you're a kidnapped American hoping for help from the government, 'that isn’t going to happen'

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

James Foley's kidnapping and murder is a sad trend in the war in Syria, but it's paying off for terrorist groups. They've collected millions of dollars in ransoms, and journalist David Rohde, who spent seven months in Taliban captivity, says current kidnapping policies aren't keeping journalists safe.

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PRI's The World

Hundreds of Britons, including the man who killed James Foley, are fighting for ISIS

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The man who executed American reporter James Foley spoke with a British accent, presumably one of hundreds of British nationals that authorities think are fighting alongside members of ISIS. So why are they there, and how can they be stopped?

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PRI's The World

An American veteran and a jihadi share memories of Robin Williams

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

This isn't the setup for a joke: Last week, after the death of Robin Williams, a US Army veteran and a supporter of Islamic militant group ISIS tweeted their regrets. Soon the pair were swapping recollections of their favorite Williams movies and other pop culture trivia.

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PRI's The World

Palestinians and Missourians find common cause amidst the tear gas

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In the midst of protests in Ferguson — marked by increasingly militaristic police intervention — Palestinian protestors have offered their support, solidarity and advice to those on the front lines of the St. Louis suburb. An unexpected dialogue has emerged on Twitter between the two groups — protestors who live halfway across the world from each other but face similar battles.

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PRI's The World

Remembering a fearless poet known as 'Iran's Lioness'

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Simin Behbahani was a beloved Iranian poet who earned the nickname "Lioness" for her powerful verse. US President Barack Obama recited one of her poems in his 2011 message to the Iranian people.

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PRI's The World

It might take a miracle to get Iraq back on track

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sectarian discord in Iraq is mounting, and new prime minister Haider al-Abadi must convince Sunnis, Shiites and Kurds to keep working together in a united Iraq. He's Iraq's best hope, but even a change in leadership may not be enough.

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PRI's The World

Gunmen pull off a movie-style heist on a Saudi prince's motorcade

Monday, August 18, 2014

Heavily armed men pulled off a dramatic heist near Paris on Sunday. The attackers hit a Saudi prince's motorcade and made off with cash and sensitive documents — but no one has figured out why.

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PRI's The World

The Mosul Dam is a 'ticking time-bomb' for more reasons than you might think

Monday, August 18, 2014

The Mosul Dam is vital to Iraq, but it's one of the most dangerous dams in the world. Without constant upkeep, which is threatened because of fighting over the dam, it's at risk of collapsing and sending a tidal wave down the Tigris River

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