FROM Mohamad Bazzi
Trump faces Middle East realities ahead of trip As President Trump prepares to visit the Middle East, his credibility as a foreign policy partner may have been compromised. But at this morning's press briefing, National Security Advisor General H.R. McMaster said it's not the President's remarks to Russian officials that have damaging consequence, but leaks to the press. "I think national security is at risk by this leak and leaks like it. There have been a number of instances where this occurred." But the Washington Post and others are sticking by unnamed sources who claim the President's disclosure of closely held secrets created security problems. The President has tweeted that he has the "absolute right" to say what he wants about classified information. Meantime, he hosted the President of Turkey today, has a deadline involving the Iran nuclear deal tomorrow… and he's leaving Friday for the Middle East.
The Allure of Extremism We’ve just heard what world leaders are discussing in terms of how to deal with the growing threat from ISIL, but here’s the question that lies behind everything that’s happening now: What draws someone to join an extremist group? Terrorist organizations throughout the Middle East are not lacking for recruits—whether it’s fighters from within the continent, or foreign fighters from Western nations joining the effort against their own countries. There are tens of thousands of them, and their ranks are said to be growing with each passing day. Today, a conversation about what these recruits are looking for in their lives, what conditions make them ripe for recruitment, and put simply: What is the allure to join up in violent jihad?
UN Secretary General Kofi Annan Visits the Middle East Kofi Annan is back in Beirut , trying to push implementation of the cease-fire in Lebanon. The UN Secretary General has called on Hezbollah to turn over abducted Israeli soldiers, and on Israel to lift its sea blockade. Mohamad Bazzi, Middle East Bureau Chief for Newsday magazine, says there's been some progress.
Lebanon Agrees to Send Troops to South It's been another day of Israeli bombs, Hezbollah rockets and heavy ground fighting in Lebanon. In the latest initiative aimed at a cease-fire, the Lebanese government has promised 15,000 soldiers as a peacekeeping force in the southern part of the country. From Beirut, Mohamad Bazzi, Middle East Bureau Chief for Newsday , reports on the Lebanese government's offer to participate in the peace-keeping force and the response of Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
The longest US war: Will Trump send more troops to Afghanistan? The Trump White House is divided over the Pentagon's request for more troops in Afghanistan—where the US has been fighting for the past 16 years. Is there a formula -- either for "victory" or a political settlement? Is there an end in sight for America's longest war?
What is Trump's plan for Middle East peace? On his first foreign tour, President Trump has promised "peace" between Israel and the Palestinians. Are there any details for re-starting talks that have been stalled for the past three years?
Human Rights in the era of Donald Trump President Trump’s UN Ambassador, Nikki Haley, said today the US might pull out of the United Nations’ Human Rights Council. Serious violators of human rights are members of the Council itself–and a US resignation could make things worse. Later on today’s show, now that he’s into his second term, comedian turned US Senator Al Franken is telling jokes again.