National

Middle East
7:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Syrians Anticipate U.S. Strikes

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

To Damascus now, as Syrians prepare for what might be coming. Nada Keuttnen works helping visiting journalists there in Damascus, including several NPR reporters. She joins us over Skype. Nada, thank you very much for being with us.

NADA KEUTTNEN: You are welcome.

SIMON: What's Damascus like today?

KEUTTNEN: It doesn't seem different than two, three, even a week ago. The life is going on. People are a bit may be worried and they're trying to buy extra dry food, expecting that something will happen but nothing is.

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Middle East
7:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

If 'Humanitarian,' Why Not Intervene In Syria Sooner?

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

As U.S. forced reportedly prepare to launch a limited military action against the Syrian government, we turn now to a voice who's long made the case that the U.S. must take some action in Syria. Michael Ignatieff is a leading voice for the idea of humanitarian intervention. He helped develop the concept of the responsibility to protect. He is the former leader of Canada's Liberal party and now back on the faculty of the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy at Harvard's Kennedy School.

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Middle East
7:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Pentagon Plans Syria Strike Options

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Now, let's take a look at what the U.S. military might do in Syria. The Pentagon has prepared military options that would allow the U.S. to launch a punitive strike against the regime of Bashar al-Assad. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel has been at the center of that military planning, even as he visited Asia this past week. NPR's Larry Abramson has been traveling all week with Secretary Hagel. He's had a unique vantage point on those deliberations and joins us now. Larry, thanks for being with us.

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Middle East
7:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

If It's Not Legal, Can A Strike On Syria Be Justified?

President Obama says any military strike he makes against the Syrian government in retaliation for suspected chemical attacks would be limited.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

As the Obama administration argues for a military intervention in Syria in response to a chemical attack that it says killed more than 1,400 Syrians, analysts say the case for a strike lacks a legal framework.

President Obama said Friday that the decision to act is part of a U.S. obligation as a world leader to make sure that regimes are held to account if they are found targeting their own people with weapons prohibited by international norms.

"If there's a sense that if nobody's willing to enforce them, then people don't take them seriously," he said Friday.

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Middle East
7:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

How The Region Might React To An Attack On Syria

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

What would Iraq and Israel do if the U.S. launches military action against the Syrian government? Former analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency Joshua Foust speaks with host Scott Simon about the wider consequences for the Middle East.

Middle East
7:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Does Obama Need Congressional Approval On Syria?

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Nearly 200 members of Congress have signed letters insisting that the president submit plans for any military strike in Syria for authorization. Host Scott Simon talks with Democratic Rep. Jim McDermott of Washington, who has signed one of the letters.

Middle East
7:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

White House Says It's Not Out To Topple Assad Regime

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Scott Simon. A U.N. inspections team left Syria this morning and that team is making its way back to Europe where it will analyze samples that were collected at the site of a poison gas attack outside of Damascus. In Washington, D.C. the Obama Administration says it is already convinced that Bashar Assad's regime used chemical weapons during that attack, and yesterday the White House released a summary of intelligence that says that more than 1400 civilians were killed by chemical weapons.

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Around the Nation
7:57 am
Sat August 31, 2013

Maine Toy Museum Is Really For Grownups

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 11:59 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

The small town of Waldoboro, Maine, boasts two attractions: Moody's Diner, reputed to be one of the oldest in the country, and the Toy Museum. It was founded in 1996 by John Fawcett. Karen Michel paid the museum's founder a visit as she wrapped up her summer vacation.

KAREN MICHEL, BYLINE: The sign says world class museum enjoyed by adults, a Maine vacation delight - open.

(SOUNDBITE OF BELL RINGING)

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Middle East
4:58 am
Sat August 31, 2013

How A Reluctant Obama Ended Up Preparing For A Strike

President Obama discusses the situation in Syria on Friday from the White House Cabinet Room.
Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 31, 2013 12:06 pm

Is President Obama falling into a trap of his own making?

The Obama administration has assiduously avoid intervening in Syria, where more than two years of conflict has left upwards of 100,000 people dead.

Even against that backdrop of so much suffering, there's a case to be made that the use of chemical weapons is an entirely different matter.

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It's All Politics
7:52 pm
Fri August 30, 2013

6 Things To Keep In Mind As Obama Confronts Syria

President Obama pauses after answering questions from the news media during his meeting with Baltic leaders at the White House on Friday.
Pablo Martinez Monsivais AP

Originally published on Fri August 30, 2013 8:07 pm

As President Obama attempts to make good on his threats to punish Syrian officials for crossing a "red line" by allegedly using deadly chemical weapons, he's being buffeted by political crosscurrents.

Some arise from the structure of U.S. democracy itself, and the balance of powers between the branches. Others emerge from the nation's particular state of mind after more than a decade of war in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Here are six points to keep in mind as Obama considers how best to demonstrate American resolve to Syrian President Bashar Assad.

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