The Rise of al Qaeda in the Middle East and the US Response
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Al Qaeda is staging a resurgence, from Iraq to Syria to Lebanon. How did it happen? Americans have no appetite for sending troops to intervene in civil wars, and yet, with al Qaeda militants fighting for control of Fallujah and Ramadi, some veterans of the Iraq war are wondering why so many of our troops died to capture those cities. Guest host Judy Muller looks at al Qaeda's resurgence in the Middle East and what it means to the United States. Also, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie faces the cameras in a bridge scandal, and a new poll shows that Americans are dramatically changing their preference for various electronic devices. But there are some surprising holdouts.
Banner image: A rebel fighter carries his weapon as he stands near bodies believed to be those of detainees held and executed by fighters from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). Photo: Malek Al Shemali/Reuters
Governor Chris Christie Faces the Cameras in Bridge Scandal ()
Chris Christie this morning used words like "blindsided, sad, and betrayed" to describe his reaction to embarrassing revelations that his aides had a role in shutting down access lanes to the George Washington Bridge last fall. That action, which caused a three-day traffic jam for Fort Lee, was allegedly taken by the New Jersey Governor's top aides in retaliation against the Democratic Mayor of Fort Lee, who failed to endorse Christie for re-election. Today Christie apologized and fired one of his aides. The US Attorney in New Jersey has opened an independent investigation. Alexander Burns is senior political reporter for Politico.
Al Qaeda Is Making a Comeback ()
Al Qaeda militants in Iraq, known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, have fought to seize control of Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar Province, where at least 100 American troops were killed during the Iraq War. Although US troops are no longer there, the civil war rages on. According to the United Nations, more than 7800 people were killed in Iraq last year. Just today, dozens were killed at an Iraqi Army Recruiting Center. ISIS' resurgence is mirrored in other conflicts in the Mideast, stemming from the Syrian war and creating instability from Baghdad to Beirut, as Shiite-Sunni sectarian violence is creating fault lines from Saudi Arabia to Iran. How do veterans feel about the resurgence of al Qaeda? What does it say about the sectarian violence? What, if anything, should the US do about it?
- Ned Parker: freelance journalist, @nedmparker1
- Elliot Ackerman: Politico, @elliotackerman
- Seth Jones: RAND Corporation, @SethGJones
- Jeffrey Goldberg: Bloomberg View, @JeffreyGoldberg
Today's Talking Point
Why Do 58% of Americans Still Own VCR's? ()
If you're a techie or gadget geek, you know that Las Vegas is the scene this week of the Consumer Electronics Show, where devices we never dreamed would be possible are enjoying their debut. A new Gallup poll says Americans' "tech tastes" are changing with the times. Sales of desktops and laptops are falling as tablets and WiFi soar. If you're still carrying a basic cell phone instead of a smart phone, you're among the 45% who still do. Surprisingly, 58% of those polled say they still have a VCR. Andrew Lih is Associate Professor of journalism at American University and author of The Wikipedia Revolution.
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