Anthony Shadid of The Washington Post has been reporting from Lebanon. Shadid won the Pulitzer Prize in 2004 for international reporting. His latest book, Night Draws Near: Iraq's People in the Shadow of America's War, has just come out in paperback. Shadid is of Lebanese descent and grew up in Oklahoma City, Okla.
Augustus Richard Norton is a professor of international relations and anthropology at Boston University and has been writing about Lebanon for 25 years. He is an expert on the Shiite political movements, including Hezbollah. A member of the Council on Foreign Relations, Norton's books include Amal and the Shi'a: Struggle for the Soul of Lebanon and Civil Society in the Middle East.
Flynt Leverett is a senior fellow at the Saban Center for Middle East Policy at the Brookings Institution. As Syria is prodded to withdraw its troops — and influence — from neighboring Lebanon, the region faces potentially drastic changes.
State Department representative Elizabeth Dibble is the Deputy Assistant Secretary in the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs. Dibble addresses the question of the U.S. State Department policy toward Syria and Lebanon.
Rami Khouri is Palestinian-Jordanian, with a U.S. citizenship. He is an internationally syndicated political columnist and the host of Encounter, a weekly current affairs talk show on Jordan Television. He also hosts a weekly radio program, and he spent the 2001 academic year at Harvard University as a Nieman Fellow. He was editor-in-chief for the Jordan Times newspaper for seven years. He often comments on Middle East issues for the BBC, NPR and CNN.
Former chief United Nation's hostage negotiator Giandomenico Picco. He has written about his experiences in the new book "Man without a Gun: One diplomat's secret struggle to free the hostages, fight terrorism, and end a war." (Times Books) Picco helped negotiate the release of more than a dozen western hostages being held by Islamic militants in Lebanon. He currently serves as president of GDP Associates, an international consulting firm in New York city, and is founder of the Non-Governmental Peace Strategy Project based in Geneva, Switzerland.
Lebanese-born author and journalist Hanan Al-Shaykh. Her novel "The Story of Zahra" (Anchor Books) has just been published in the United States. Several Arab countries have banned the book since its original publication 14 years ago. The Story of Zahra tells of a contemporary Lebanese woman struggling with life in her family and her war-ravaged native city of Beirut. Al-Shaykh's novel "Women of Sand and Myrrh" was published in the United States last year.
Middle East expert and British hostage in Beirut, Terry Waite. While in Lebanon in 1987, as an Anglican Church envoy to negotiate the release of hostages there, Waite himself was captured. He was held for 1,763 days (nearly five years); four years of that time was spent in solitary confinement. He had made numerous trips to the Middle East to negotiate hostage releases in Tehran and Beirut, and was no stranger to the danger of factional conflicts: in 1969 Waite and his wife narrowly escaped the Idi Amin coup in Uganda.
Terry Anderson and his wife Madeleine Bassil. Anderson was held hostage for seven years in Lebanon. Madeleine was pregnant when he was Anderson's new book, "Den of Lions: Memoirs of Seven Years" (Crown Publishers), Terry and Madeleine describe the challenges they were forced to face until his release in December of 1991. (This interview continues into the second half of the show.)
After decades in Lebanon, missionary Ben Weir was kidnapped by a jihadi group. His wife, Carol Weir, worked tirelessly to secure his release. They've cowritten a memoir about the ordeal, called Hostage Bound, Hostage Free.