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FROM THIS EPISODE

President Bush has high praise for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's crackdown on Shiite militias, but there's a lot at stake for both leaders. Maliki's political future and US troop withdrawals are both at risk. What could it all mean for McCain, Obama and Clinton? Also, Pakistan's media accuses US officials of "meddling," and the tragedy of Zimbabwe will be dramatized by the likely rigging of this Saturday's presidential election.


Photo: Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Producers:
Gary Scott
Sonya Geis
Christian Bordal

Reporter's Notebook Robert Mugabe and the Ruin of Zimbabwe 8 MIN, 31 SEC

In 1980, Robert Mugabe became the first black leader of Zimbabwe after a seven-year civil war against the rule of white settlers. Based on a solid economy, he made his country the envy of Africa for healthcare, education and per-capita income. That's according to a white reporter, born and raised in Zimbabwe. Zimbabwe will hold a presidential election on Saturday, and 84-year old Mugabe is expected to be re-elected. But it won't be due to popularity or successful administration, says Peter Godwin, author of When a Crocodile Eats the Sun.

Guests:
Peter Godwin, author, 'When a Crocodile Eats the Sun'

Main Topic The Battle for Basra and the Race for the White House 34 MIN, 38 SEC

Militias in Basra are not responding to Nouri al-Maliki's three-day ultimatum, and bitter fighting threatens civilian supplies of food and water. In Baghdad, protesters against the crackdown have crowded the streets, and rocket fire has American civilians taking to bunkers inside the Green Zone. At Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio, President Bush said the Prime Minister's effort to crack down shows the progress of Iraqi security forces during the surge. What if it backfires? Maliki's political life could be at stake, along with the prospects for stability.  What about American troop withdrawals? What are the implications for the Presidential campaign?

Guests:
Bobby Ghosh, Time Magazine (@ghoshworld)
Shawn Brimley, Fellow, Center for a New American Security
Peter Beinart, New America Foundation (@PeterBeinart)
Ed Kilgore, Democratic Strategist (@ed_kilgore)
John McLaughlin, Republican strategist, John McLaughlin and Associates

Making News Pakistanis Angry over Timing of US Visit 6 MIN, 1 SEC

The US has increased attacks by Predator drones against al Qaeda targets in western Pakistan. Meantime, two high-level American diplomats are in the country. Their visit has led to flag burnings in three cities and newspaper editorials accusing the US officials of "indecent haste" and "meddling." Graham Usher is a freelance journalist based in Pakistan.

Guests:
Graham Usher, Freelance journalist

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