Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 8:44 am
Saying he will continue to "make the best case" in coming days for taking military action against the regime of Syrian President Bashar Assad, President Obama has announced that he will speak to the American people Tuesday about why he's come to that conclusion.
Obama's statement came Friday at the start of a news conference he's holding in St. Petersburg, Russia, where the G-20 Summit of world leaders wrapped up Friday. He spoke for about 50 minutes. We followed along. Scroll down to see what the president had to say.
From 'Morning Edition': White House adviser Tony Blinken talks with NPR's Steve Inskeep
"The president of course has the authority to act" even if Congress does not support his plan for a military strike on Syria, White House deputy national security adviser Tony Blinken told Morning Edition host Steve Inskeep earlier today.
But Blinken also said of the president that it is "neither his desire nor his intention to use that authority absent Congress backing him."
Syrian rebel fighters run run for cover during clashes Wednesday with government forces in Aleppo. Syria's largest city has been bitterly divided since heavy fighting broke out more than a year ago. The government army controls the western part of the city; the rebels control the east. Residents risk sniper fire as they cross back and forth.
Credit Molhem Barakat / Reuters /Landov
Rebels in the Free Syrian Army distribute food to fellow fighters in Aleppo on Wednesday.
Credit Hamid Khatib / Reuters /Landov
A rebel with the Free Syrian Army spray paints improvised mortar shells at a weapons factory in Aleppo on Thursday.
Originally published on Fri September 6, 2013 9:39 am
It's a typical day — which means it's a very dangerous one — at the Karaj al-Hajez crossing point that separates the eastern part of Aleppo that's held by Syrian rebels and the western part that's held by President Bashar Assad's army.
Despite the risks, street vendors still shout about their merchandise on offer and residents carry on with their daily shopping. An old man urges his wife to hurry so they can cross back to the other side before trouble erupts, which it does with regularity.
From 'Morning Edition': NPR's Scott Horsley reports from the G-20 Summit
"The U.S. has intercepted an order from Iran to militants in Iraq to attack the U.S. Embassy and other American interests in Baghdad in the event of a strike on Syria," The Wall Street Journal reports.
All this week, we've been following the debate in Congress, where many question the wisdom of striking Syria. Senator John McCain is a leading voice for doing more, making sure airstrikes and other measures actually help the rebels there.
Melissa Block speaks with David W. Lesch, a professor of Middle East history at Trinity University and the author of The New Lion of Damascus: Bashar al-Asad and Modern Syria for a profile about Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.
The Senate returns from its month-long recess a few days early on Friday, but only briefly, for the sole purpose of bringing to the floor the Syria resolution. But a Senate vote on the proposal is still a week away, with the House not likely to act until the Senate has finished.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
While Americans debate the U.S. role in Syria, President Obama is meeting with the leaders of the world's biggest economies. They've gathered for the G-20 summit in St. Petersburg, Russia. The official focus of the meeting is global economic growth, but there, too, Syria is the issue of the day.
A tightly-fought Australian general election campaign reaches its climax on Saturday — and the major issues will be familiar to an American audience. With little to choose between the economic policies of the two major parties, immigration and same-sex marriage are top of the news agenda.
This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.
The world is watching as Congress considers possible U.S. military action in Syria. And few countries are more concerned than nearby Israel where one worry is that the Syrian conflict could spill over.
As NPR's Emily Harris reports, Israelis are sure they want the U.S. to do something in Syria. They're less clear about just what it should be.
These three words have ignited an explosion in the Twitterverse: "Happy Rosh Hashana." What's so provocative about that message expressing good wishes for the Jewish New Year is who, apparently, posted it. It appeared yesterday on the Twitter feed attributed to the new foreign minister of Iran, Mohammad Javad Zarif.
President Obama, in St. Petersburg for the G-20 Summit, met with Russian human rights activists, most of them critical of President Putin's policies. Especially prominent right now is Russia's LGBT community, which is facing harsh new laws that play into homophobia and raise doubts about LGBT participation in the Sochi Winter Olympics next year.
Suntory's 30-year-old Hibiki whiskey took home the top award at the International Spirits Challenge in 2003. This unexpected triumph was Japanese whiskey's big coming-out party on the global spirits stage.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 5:31 pm
Scotland is the de facto king of whisky. But now an unlikely challenger — Japan — is making a name for its whiskey far beyond its borders. Unfortunately for Americans, this highly coveted Japanese whiskey is very hard to come by.
Originally published on Sun September 8, 2013 8:12 am
It sounded a bit far-fetched, and perhaps it was.
Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad denied the Holocaust and threatened to wipe Israel off the map. But his successor, President Hassan Rouhani, considered a relative moderate by contrast, has taken a somewhat softer tone. So, when Rouhani allegedly tweeted the following, it quickly became news:
Originally published on Thu September 12, 2013 6:41 am
What does President Bashar Assad think of himself? How did his father, Hafez Assad, rise from a dirt yard to rule the country? What happens to those who speak out against the regime? Who wrote the Syrian 1984? Does Syria make the best lingerie in the Middle East? Find the answers to these questions in our roundup of five great books about Syria, recommended by experts at Harvard University, Brown University and the University of Texas at Austin.
At June's G-8 Summit in Northern Ireland, Russian President Vladimir Putin and President Obama sat for some awkward photos. In St. Petersburg, they'll be several seats apart during the formal discussions.
Originally published on Thu September 5, 2013 12:34 pm
Syria's civil war is complicated, but at least there's a consensus among American policymakers: There are no good options.
So let's pretend you're the president and you need to decide what action, if any, the U.S. should take. The possibilities are endless, and plenty of unintended consequences are sure to follow.
To make your decision manageable, we're presenting four basic options. We realize they are not mutually exclusive, but you have to focus on something. You can make your choice at the bottom of this story.
The topic of military intervention is Syria is expected to over shadow the Group of 20 summit going on in St. Petersburg, Russia. President Vladimir Putin hosts but there are no plans for him and President Obama to meet one on one, given the controversy over Syria and Russia's grant of asylum to NSA leaker Edward Snowden.
The objective of an American strike on Syria appears to be evolving. Days ago, White House officials insisted their goal was to respond to the use of chemical weapons, not to intervene in Syria's civil war. But it's always been quietly understood that doing one thing could easily affect the other, and that has become more explicit in recent days.
Moscow is in the final days of a campaign for Sunday's mayoral election. The outcome isn't in doubt. The winner will be the Kremlin-backed incumbent Sergei Sobyanin. But his main challenger is running a Western-style campaign. Some say that campaign could change the way politics are played in Russia's biggest city.
A big part of the challenge of enforcing President Obama's red line against Bashar al-Assad's regime on the use of chemical weapons is how the region will react. And as a possible strike on Syria looms, the mood among Arabs is something Shibley Telhami is following closely. He's a professor at the University of Maryland and his latest book is "The World Through Arab Eyes: Public Opinion and the Reshaping of the Arab World."
Originally published on Wed September 4, 2013 4:52 pm
On the windswept plateau where Madrid is perched, it's too dry to raise cattle and most crops. So pork has long been a mainstay, from jamón ibérico and charcuterie tapas to stews of pigs' ears and entrails.
But when locals want a really special treat, they go for an entire piglet roasted whole — head, hooves and all — on an oak wood fire.
The crisis in Syria dominated President Obama's visit to Sweden on Wednesday, as he continued to push for Congressional approval of his plan to launch a military strike against Syrian government forces, in response to their use of chemical weapons against their own people.. "My credibility is not on the line. The international community's credibility is on the line," Obama told a news conference in Stockholm. "And America and Congress' credibility is on the line." The President travels to the G-20 meeting in St. Petersburg on Thursday.