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Middle East Conflict

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Investigative Journalist Seymour Hersch

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh is a regular contributor to The New Yorker magazine. He has written in depth about the Bush administration. His article in this week’s edition (“Shifting Targets”) is about the administration’s shift in position on Iran, redefining the war in Iraq as a strategic battle between the U.S. and Iran. Hersh exposed the Abu Ghraib prison scandal in 2004, in a series of articles published in the magazine early in 2005. He has been the recipient of the Pulitzer Prize, five George Polk Awards, two National Magazine Awards, and a dozen other prizes.


Yaroslav Trofimov on the Siege of Mecca

A foreign correspondent for The Wall Street Journal, Yaroslav Trofimov traces the beginning of the global jihad to Nov. 20, 1979.

It was the first morning of the new Muslim century, and hundreds of fundamentalist gunmen seized Islam's holiest shrine — the Grand Mosque in Mecca. The event and its ringleaders have since inspired militants, including al-Qaida.

Trofimov is also the author of Faith at War: A Journey on the Frontlines of Islam, from Baghdad to Timbuktu.


Author Stephen Walt Takes On 'The Israel Lobby'

In The Israel Lobby, which grew out of a controversial 2006 article in the London Review of Books, Stephen Walt and co-author John Mearsheimer examine the impact of the Israel lobby on U.S. foreign policy. They argue that American support for Israel cannot be fully explained on either strategic or moral grounds.

Walt teaches international affairs at Harvard University's John F. Kennedy School of Government.


Anti-Defamation League Takes On Stephen Walt

In The Deadliest Lies, Anti-Defamation League national director Abraham Foxman responds to The Israel Lobby, arguing that Stephen Walt and John Mearsheimer's work "serves merely as an attractive new package for disseminating a series of familiar but false beliefs" about Jews and Israel.


Frances Harrison on Reporting from Tehran

Journalist Frances Harrison has been the BBC's correspondent in the Iranian capital city of Tehran for the past 3 years. She says conditions have gotten worse, especially for women, under the increasing strictures being put in place by the ultraconservative Islamic government. Harrison's husband is Iranian; prior to her posting in Iran, she reported for the BBC from Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Malaysia. She's now back in the U.K.


Fibbing in the Green Zone? Never Fear, It's Fiction

Malcolm MacPherson's new novel is Hocus POTUS, a political farce about the shenanigans of White House loyalists in Baghdad's Green Zone, written from the point of view of an American journalist stationed there. The book draws on MacPherson's own experiences as a foreign correspondent for Time and Newsweek magazines, during which time he reported from Baghdad on Ambassador Paul Bremer and the Coalition Provisional Authority.


Journalist Steven Erlanger: 'A Madness in Gaza'

"There is a madness in Gaza now." So says New York Times Jerusalem bureau chief Steven Erlanger, who joins Terry Gross to talk about the Palestinian power struggle that's erupted recently and how the battles between the Hamas and Fatah factions are affecting life in the West Bank and Gaza.

Erlanger has reported from all over the world, serving in Moscow, Bangkok, Prague and other cities. Prior to his tenure at the Times, he wrote for The Boston Globe.


Timor Goksel on Lebanon After Last Summer's War

It's been a year since the start of last summer's war between Israel and Hezbollah. We'll discuss life in Lebanon, and the conflict's unintended consequences, with Timor Goksel, former spokesperson and senior adviser for the United Nations peacekeeping force in Lebanon. Goksel now teaches at the American University of Beirut.


Profiling the 21st Century's 'Merchant of Death'

Russian arms dealer Victor Bout has armed Islamic extremists and sold weapons to some of the Third World's most abusive and murderous dictators and warlords — and he's known for fueling both sides of conflicts.

His success is rooted in the legacy of the Cold War, whose messy unraveling left him with easy access to massive inventories of weapons and ammunition built up by the Soviets. We talk about Bout with journalists Douglas Farah and Stephen Braun, who've co-written a book about him: Merchant of Death: Money, Guns, Planes, and the Man Who Makes War Possible.


Asra Nomani, 'Standing Alone' with Muslim Women

Muslim feminist Asra Nomani, a former Wall Street Journal reporter and co-founder of Muslims for Peace, recently spent a reporting fellowship covering a Muslim woman who was building a women's mosque in India.

Nomani was born in Mumbai, India's largest city, moved to the U.S. as a child, and grew up in Morgantown, W. Va.

Her new book is called Standing Alone in Mecca: An American Woman's Struggle for the Soul of Islam.


The U.S. Split Over Iran Nuclear Policy

Journalist Laura Rozen discusses the philosophical split within the Bush administration on how to curb nuclear proliferation in Iran. Rozen reports on national security and foreign policy as a senior correspondent for The American Prospect and as a contributor to The Washington Monthly, the National Journal and other publications. She also writes a political blog, War and Piece.


From Norton, a Brief History of Hezbollah

Augustus Richard Norton, a Boston University professor of international relations and anthropology, has written about Lebanon for 25 years; he's a member of the Council on Foreign Relations and an expert on Shiite political movements, including Hezbollah. His new book is Hezbollah: A Short History.


Ross on Peace in the Middle East

Ambassador Dennis Ross talks about his role as chief Middle East peace negotiator during the Clinton and George H.W. Bush administrations. His new book is Statecraft: And How to Restore America's Standing in the World.


A Philosopher's Path Toward Peace

Sari Nusseibeh is the president of and a professor of philosophy at al-Quds University, the only Arab university in Jerusalem. He's written a memoir, Once Upon a Country: A Palestinian Life; he's also co-author of the People's Voice Initiative, aimed at building grassroots support for a two-state solution in the Middle East. Until December 2002, he was the representative of the Palestinian National Authority in Jerusalem.


Crime Fiction from Mideast Reporter Rees

Journalist Matt Beynon Rees is now a crime novelist, too. The Collaborator of Bethlehem follows a Palestinian schoolteacher who turns detective to solve a murder set in the violence-ridden West Bank. Rees was based in Jerusalem as a Middle East reporter for Time magazine for more than a decade, serving as bureau chief from 2000 to 2006.


Jimmy Carter on Conflict in the Middle East

Former President Jimmy Carter addresses the conflict between Israelis and Palestinians in his new book, Palestine Peace Not Apartheid. Carter has founded a conflict resolution organization and won a Nobel Peace Prize for his mediation work.


Jeffrey Goldberg's Middle East Memoir

The New Yorker's former Middle East correspondent has written a memoir: Prisoners: A Muslim & A Jew Across the Middle East Divide. Goldberg won the National Magazine Award for Reporting in 2003 for his coverage of terrorism.


Middle East Conflict: A Palestinian View of Peace

Middle East peace expert Sari Nusseibeh is the founder of the Palestinian Consultancy Group and the Israeli-Palestinian Science Organization, the president of Al-Quds University in Jerusalem and a professor of Islamic philosophy. He co-wrote the People's Voice Initiative to build grassroots support for a two-state solution. Until December 2002, he was the representative of the Palestinian National Authority in Jerusalem.


Middle East Conflict: An Israeli View of Peace

Peace negotiator Yossi Beilin is a member of Israel's Knesset (Parliament) and chairman of the Meretz-Yachad party. Dr. Beilin has had posts in the governments of Yitzhak Rabin, Shimon Peres and Ehud Barak. Beilin held unofficial peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians in 2003, which led to the Geneva Initiative, and was one of the architects of the Oslo Accords, signed in 1993.


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