90.9 WBUR - Boston's NPR news station
Top Stories:
PLEDGE NOW
Iraq Unravels In Violent Civil Strife

Iraq, coming apart at the seams. And the whole map of the Middle East may be in play.  We’ll take a cold, hard look.

This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. (AP)

This image posted on a militant website on Saturday, June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) leading away captured Iraqi soldiers dressed in plain clothes after taking over a base in Tikrit, Iraq. (AP)

Days into the onslaught of black-clad fighters in Iraq, the news is still stunning.  The map of Iraq – where the US invaded, spent billions, trillions, lost 4000 lives – redrawn in less than a week. City after city lost to the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, a group more than dreaming now of an Islamic “caliphate” stretching from Aleppo to Iran, beyond.  A fantasy before the US invasion.  Now a region of turmoil you can draw on the map.  This hour On Point:  Iraq, coming apart right now at the seams.  America’s options.  The facts on the ground.

– Tom Ashbrook

Guests

Ned Parker, Baghdad bureau chief for Reuters. (@nedmparker1)

Paul Pillar, professor at Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program. Form national intelligence officer for the Near East and South Asia.

Seth Jones, acting director of the RAND Corporation’s International Security and Defense Policy Center. (@SethGJones)

Borzou Daragahi, Middle East and North Africa correspondent for the Financial Times. (@borzou)

From Tom’s Reading List

The Wall Street Journal: Iraq Scrambles to Defend Baghdad — “Iraq’s government girded to protect the capital from advancing insurgents, as Iranian security officials said their forces had joined the battle on Baghdad’s side and the U.S. weighed military assistance, including airstrikes. Iraq edged closer to all-out sectarian conflict as Kurdish forces took control of a provincial capital in the oil-rich north on Thursday and Sunni militants threatened to march on two cities revered by Shiite Muslims and the capital.”

Reuters: Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric issues call to fight jihadist rebels — “Iraq’s most senior Shi’ite Muslim cleric urged followers to take up arms against a full-blown Sunni militant insurgency to topple Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, escalating a conflict that threatens civil war and a possible break-up of the country.”

The Daily Beast: ISIS’s Secret Allies — “All eyes have been on ISIS as the jihadist group, in a matter of days, cut Iraq in half and declared its own state in the cities it captured. With fewer than 10,000 fighters ISIS forced the retreat of the better-armed Iraqi army forces many times its size. Their incredible success on the battlefield has fed into a growing lore about the group: the small band of fanatics that can take down a country. The truth is more basic and it’s something ISIS doesn’t want to admit—they weren’t acting alone.”

Please follow our community rules when engaging in comment discussion on this site.
ONPOINT
TODAY
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

RECENT
SHOWS
Nov 21, 2014
Laura Ingalls Wilder, an American  writer and novelist, at age 27. Her "Little House" series is a beloved semi-autobiographical take on her childhood in the Western American plains. (South Dakota State Historical Society )

A big new look at the legacy of Laura Ingalls Wilder and the woman behind the Little House.

 
Nov 21, 2014
President Barack Obama announces executive actions on immigration during a nationally televised address from the White House in Washington, Thursday, Nov. 20, 2014.  (AP)

The president throws down the gauntlet on immigration. Bloodshed and new tensions in Israel. Keystone fails. Our weekly news roundtable goes behind the headlines.

On Point Blog
On Point Blog
The Explicast, Episode Six: What Does A White House Press Correspondent Do?
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We turn to White House Press Correspondents all the time for news, but we’ve never really wondered how they gather their information. Fortunately, our guest host Jessica Yellin had time to sit down with The Explicast to explain.

More »
Comment
 
Our Week In The Web: November 21, 2014
Friday, Nov 21, 2014

We offer a panel of hand-drawn digital sheep, and wonder how to best lead the rest of you to programs that matter.

More »
2 Comments
 
The Explicast, Episode Five: What Is Net Neutrality?
Friday, Nov 14, 2014

The Explicast dives into tech policy territory with a quick look at the real meaning of a complicated bit of tech policy known as ‘Net Neutrality.’

More »
2 Comments