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.
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.
Terrorism and tweets, hate speech and murder Just days before an election, Britain is coping with a rash of deadly terrorism, and Prime Minister Theresa May is on the defensive. And again today, President Trump has tweeted criticism of the Mayor of London. Later, a double murder in Portland, Oregon has revealed the ugly past of a supposedly “progressive” city. One immediate question: is “hate speech” protected by the First Amendment?
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.