FROM Aryn Baker
The Nobel Peace Prize Sends a Message It was announced today that this year’s Nobel Peace Prize has been divided between two people—a 17-year old Pakistani crusader for girls’ education and a 60-year old Indian man who has liberated child laborers in that country. The young woman is Malala Yousafzai, known worldwide since she recovered after being shot by the Taliban. Malala says her ambition is to be what she calls a “good” politician. Aryn Baker profiled Malala in 2012, when she was Time magazine’s correspondent in Pakistan and Afghanistan.
Whatever Happened to the "Arab Spring?" Three years ago, it appeared that anti-government uprisings might lead to the spread of democracy in the Middle East. Now it appears that the democratic process is being used to sustain the power of dictatorships. Syria's President Bashar al-Assad is staging a re-election campaign after destroying major cities, killing more than 160,000 people and driving millions of refugees to other countries. But many of those refugees are voting to re-elect him. Is tyrannical order the only alternative to chaos and the spread of terror? Egypt's former general Abdel Fattah al-Sisi overthrew an elected government, outlawed political opposition and staged his presidential election. Is another military dictatorship preferable to the Muslim Brotherhood? With the collapse of the so-called "freedom agenda," we look at the options for US influence in the Middle East.
Insurgents Bomb Army Outpost in Aleppo, Syria In the Syrian city of Aleppo today, Islamic militants have claimed credit for tunneling under the Carlton Hotel and planting explosives, which destroyed that building and others nearby. They claim 50 soldiers were killed. A video shows an enormous explosion followed by clouds of smoke that blot out the skyline. Aryn Baker is Middle East Bureau Chief for Time magazine. She joins us from Beirut, Lebanon.
Is Syria on the Way to Becoming a Failed State? After three years of civil war, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad claims a "turning point" in what he calls his "war against terror" has now paved the way to his re-election. Sure enough, his army, backed by Hezbollah, has re-taken important rebel strongholds, including the ancient Christian town of Maaloula and and three towns along the Lebanese border. However, the restoration of order is a distant dream. The death toll is 150,000; 2.5 million refugees have flooded neighboring countries and seven million have been displaced within Syria itself. We hear about chemical weapons, the international proxy war, and civilians faced with the choice of death by bullets or by starvation.
Getting answers on phone taps, Russia and leaking The Directors of the FBI and the NSA testified on Capitol Hill today there's no evidence for President Trump's claim he was wire-tapped by former President Obama. We'll hear about that and the investigation into Russian tampering with last year's presidential campaign.
The 'deconstruction' of the administrative state President Trump has failed to fill high-level positions in important agencies — and some people he has named want to phase out the agencies they're supposed to lead. We look at the possible consequences for delivering services and providing security — and at top aide Steve Bannon's plans for "deconstructing the administrative state."
Trump's travel ban and the long-term agenda The Trump Administration's revised travel ban may be good news for some visa holders and others, but it's still being challenged as unconstitutional. Some reporters call it the beginning of a long-term effort to change the demographic make-up of the United States.