Deborah Amos http://wgcu.org en Iran's Culture Wars: Who's Winning These Days? http://wgcu.org/post/irans-culture-wars-whos-winning-these-days In Iran, hardline critics are waging a campaign against President Hassan Rouhani to limit his campaign pledge of opening Iran to more social and cultural freedoms.<p>The "culture wars" are as old as the Islamic revolution that swept conservative clerics to power more than three decades ago. The latest chapter comes as Rouhani is negotiating a nuclear deal with six world powers. Sat, 12 Apr 2014 13:04:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 9243 at http://wgcu.org Iran's Culture Wars: Who's Winning These Days? Iranians Begin To Feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War http://wgcu.org/post/iranians-begin-feel-heavy-burden-syrias-war The Syrian civil war has been a major headache for President Obama. Critics at home and abroad, like Saudi Arabia, where the president was on Friday, have urged the U.S. to do more.<p>But the U.S. isn't the only country that's faced difficult choices over Syria. Iran and Syria have been close allies for decades. Fri, 28 Mar 2014 20:32:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 8755 at http://wgcu.org Iranians Begin To Feel The Heavy Burden Of Syria's War A Syrian Refugee Camp With Girl Scouts And A Safeway Store http://wgcu.org/post/syrian-refugee-camp-girl-scouts-and-safeway-store On a sunny afternoon in the dusty, overcrowded Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, a group of Syrian girls recites a familiar pledge and hope to change their future. Mon, 17 Mar 2014 20:20:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 8351 at http://wgcu.org A Syrian Refugee Camp With Girl Scouts And A Safeway Store Syrian Conflict Marches Into Fourth Year http://wgcu.org/post/syrian-conflict-marches-third-year The Syrian uprising started three years ago this week with protests and eventually a military crackdown that led to all-out civil war. More than 130,000 people have died. Mon, 17 Mar 2014 09:07:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 8331 at http://wgcu.org Saudi Aid Boost To Syrian Rebels Puts Jordan At Risk http://wgcu.org/post/saudi-aid-boost-syrian-rebels-puts-jordan-risk For months, a military stalemate has defined the war in Syria. Now, a new strategy is emerging as Western allies and Gulf states step up support for rebels in southern Syria.<p>Along Jordan's northern border, Syrian rebels say they are unifying their fractious ranks, urged to unite by Western and Arab intelligence operatives who work in a covert command center in Jordan's capital.<p>Rebel sources confirm pledges of stepped-up deliveries of arms and intelligence sharing. Sun, 16 Mar 2014 14:58:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 8313 at http://wgcu.org Saudi Aid Boost To Syrian Rebels Puts Jordan At Risk 'Waiting For Godot' Strikes A Chord In Tehran http://wgcu.org/post/waiting-godot-strikes-chord-tehran At the National Theater in downtown Tehran, "Waiting for Godot" seems to have captured the mood of a country.<p>The Irish playwright, Samuel Beckett dramatized endless waiting in vain for someone named Godot. The play, translated into Farsi, got a standing ovation on the night I attended. The characters, in classic white suits, black top hats and black shoes, took endless bows as the audience whistled and clapped.<p>Iran is also waiting. It is waiting for the outcome of negotiations with six world powers over the country's nuclear program. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 07:27:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 8249 at http://wgcu.org 'Waiting For Godot' Strikes A Chord In Tehran Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities http://wgcu.org/post/iranian-women-push-tighten-gender-gap Iran is starting to see a re-launch of activist groups following the election last year of President Hassan Rouhani. Social movements were scarce after the government crushed public protests known as the Green Movement following the 2009 elections. After the decisive vote for Rouhani, a surge of hope in Iran has attracted activists back to the political arena. Iranian women, in particular, are seizing the opportunity.<p>On a recent afternoon in north Tehran, two professional women huddle with an adviser to the Ministry of Mines and Trade. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 08:08:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 7933 at http://wgcu.org Iranian Women Make A Push For Greater Opportunities What Comes Next In Syria? http://wgcu.org/post/what-comes-next-syria For eight days, the Syrian regime and an opposition delegation sat face-to-face, but were not on speaking terms in Room 16 of the Palais des Nations in the sprawling complex of United Nations headquarters in Geneva.<p>Round one demonstrated the bitter divide with no breakthrough on the core issues of a political transition or access to humanitarian aid.<p>So what comes next?<p>An agreement to continue the talks remains on hold. The opposition delegates pledged to return to the table in early February. Sat, 01 Feb 2014 16:26:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 6935 at http://wgcu.org What Comes Next In Syria? During Syrian Peace Talks, Rival Sides Wage A Media Battle http://wgcu.org/post/during-syrian-peace-talks-rival-sides-wage-media-battle Friday was the first day of negotiations at the Syrian peace conference. There were no direct talks, however. Instead, international envoy Lakhdar Brahimi shuttled between government and opposition delegations in separate rooms. Fri, 24 Jan 2014 22:06:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 6667 at http://wgcu.org Surprise Invitation Lands Syrian Peace Talks In Hot Water http://wgcu.org/post/surprise-invitation-lands-syrian-peace-talks-hot-water The long-anticipated Syrian peace conference is again in turmoil. The U.N. secretary-general's surprise decision to invite Iran to attend the conference prompted a boycott threat from Syria's exiled opposition. At issue is the fact that Iran has not publicly committed to the framework for the conference or pledged to withdraw its troops and allied militias from Syria. Under pressure from the opposition groups and the U.S., the U.N. has since withdrawn its invitation to Iran. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 22:37:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 6519 at http://wgcu.org Low Hopes, High Stakes For Syria Peace Conference In Geneva http://wgcu.org/post/low-hopes-high-stakes-syria-peace-conference-geneva Can a meeting in Switzerland, known as Geneva-2, solve the crisis in Syria?<p>The expectations are low. The warring parties are reluctant. Some of the most important players, including powerful armed rebel groups, are not on the invitation list.<p>The superpower hosts, the U.S. and Russia, fully back the peace conference, set for Wednesday. They hope to kick-start a political process and end the armed conflict that has ravaged Syria and destabilized the region.<p>More than 40 countries have been invited, including the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council. Mon, 20 Jan 2014 12:30:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 6502 at http://wgcu.org Low Hopes, High Stakes For Syria Peace Conference In Geneva Foreign Fighters Flood Both Sides In Syrian War http://wgcu.org/post/foreign-fighters-flood-both-sides-syrian-war When peace talks open in Switzerland, one common concern between the West and Syria is expected to be the threat of Islamist extremists and the rise of al-Qaida-linked militias. Thousands of Sunni militants from around the world have joined the rebel groups in Syria, but there are other groups of militant foreign fighters who support the Syrian regime. Iraqi Shiites are being recruited in the thousands to bolster Syria's armed forces. Recruiting billboards and social media help portray the fight as an existential battle between Sunnis and Muslims. Fri, 17 Jan 2014 22:46:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 6462 at http://wgcu.org As Rebels Fight Rebels, Grim Reports From A Syrian City http://wgcu.org/post/rebels-fight-rebels-grim-reports-syrian-city Reports from the Syrian city of Raqqa are dire. In the north-central provincial capital, "the atmosphere has gone from bad to worse," says one activist with a rare link to the Internet. He reports the city is "completely paralyzed," the hospital is abandoned, and there are bodies in the central square. There is no power or water for a city of more than half a million people. Even the critical bread ovens are shut.<p>The appalling description from Raqqa is just one scene from a new phase in the Syrian war. Wed, 08 Jan 2014 22:48:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 6167 at http://wgcu.org As Rebels Fight Rebels, Grim Reports From A Syrian City Syria's War Creates A Demand For Artificial Legs http://wgcu.org/post/syrias-war-creates-market-artificial-legs In a clinic in southern Turkey, Mohammed Ibrahim helps 23-year-old Syrian Mustapha Abu Bakr take his first steps since he lost his legs, holding on to a set of bars for balance.<p>"He can't express his feelings," Ibrahim says. "It's a new thing completely for him."<p>Ibrahim explains that patients who have lost a leg below the knee can walk out of the clinic without crutches after a day of practice. Thu, 26 Dec 2013 21:50:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 5814 at http://wgcu.org Syria's War Creates A Demand For Artificial Legs Rebel Leader: Nuns Were Led To Safety, Not Seized, In Syria http://wgcu.org/post/rebel-leader-nuns-were-led-safety-not-seized-syria <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=m4WTdkmBwP8</p> Fri, 20 Dec 2013 16:43:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 5669 at http://wgcu.org Rebel Leader: Nuns Were Led To Safety, Not Seized, In Syria With The Help Of Smugglers, Syrian Refugees Sneak Into Europe http://wgcu.org/post/help-smugglers-syrian-refugees-sneak-europe The 27-year-old Syrian, who once smuggled arms for Syrian rebels, is now waiting in Istanbul for a human smuggler to get him to Europe. He says his name is Mohammed. He does not offer a second name. He will go by air, he says, the safest route. He has paid a smuggler more than $8,000, and he's sure he will get to Austria.<p>In the past week, he connected seven friends with smugglers.<p>"I know that most of them made it," he says, with a tight smile. He is traveling light. Sat, 07 Dec 2013 10:23:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 5221 at http://wgcu.org With The Help Of Smugglers, Syrian Refugees Sneak Into Europe A Conquered Foe Returns To War-Torn Syria: Polio http://wgcu.org/post/polio-reappears-war-torn-syria In a refugee camp in eastern Lebanon, aid workers put sandbags around plastic tents to keep winter rains from flooding dirt floors. For weeks now, the threat for Syrian refugees was the coming cold. Now refugees have a bigger fear: polio.<p>A childhood disease that causes paralysis and sometimes death, polio can spread rapidly, especially with the huge movement of people fleeing the war.<p>Some 4,000 Syrians still cross into neighboring countries every day, at least half of them children.<p>Lebanon hasn't had a polio outbreak in 12 years. Sat, 02 Nov 2013 10:46:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 4127 at http://wgcu.org A Conquered Foe Returns To War-Torn Syria: Polio Saudi Women Go For A Spin In Latest Challenge To Driving Ban http://wgcu.org/post/saudi-women-go-spin-latest-challenge-driving-ban <p>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6miMkksxsZ0</p> Thu, 24 Oct 2013 17:22:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 3816 at http://wgcu.org Saudi Women Go For A Spin In Latest Challenge To Driving Ban Syria's Grinding War Takes Toll On Children http://wgcu.org/post/syrias-grinding-war-and-toll-it-takes-children Alexandra Chen, a specialist in childhood trauma, is on her way from the Lebanese capital, Beirut, to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where she's running a workshop for teachers, child psychologists and sports coaches who are dealing with the Syrian children scarred by war in their homeland.<p>"All of the children have experienced trauma to varying degree," explains Chen, who works for Mercy Corps and is training a dozen new hires for her aid group.<p>Her intense five-day workshop is based on skills and techniques developed in other conflict zones, used for the first time here.<p>"They need to Mon, 21 Oct 2013 15:25:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 3683 at http://wgcu.org Syria's Grinding War Takes Toll On Children Do You Know What The U.S. Government Is Up To In Syria? http://wgcu.org/post/do-you-know-what-us-government-syria Mark Ward is the U.S. State Department's senior adviser on assistance to Syria, and when he heard the Syrian border town of Azaz was overrun by an offshoot of al-Qaida in September, he knew it was time to get creative again.<p>"You always have to have a plan B in this kind of work," he says.<p>Ward is based in Turkey. His job is to oversee a growing and unusual U.S. humanitarian assistance program in rebel-held areas in seven provinces across northern Syria.<p>U.S. Fri, 04 Oct 2013 15:20:00 +0000 Deborah Amos 3171 at http://wgcu.org Do You Know What The U.S. Government Is Up To In Syria?