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.
Ex-FBI Director Comey tells his side of the story Today, former FBI Director James Comey came close to calling the President who fired him a liar. The White House denied the claim and called it insulting, but Republican Senators did not challenge Comey’s truthfulness. Many questions remain: did the President try to obstruct a federal investigation? Later, we’ll go behind the “velvet rope” for a look at 5-Star health care for the richest Americans.
Is the threat from Russia missing from the Russia meddling probe? There's much being made about the Trump administration's possible ties with Russia. But the bottom line is Russia's effort to influence American democracy. Do the President and his aides care enough to take action before voters go back to the polls?