Steve Inskeep

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Middle East
3:28 am
Wed June 12, 2013

Despite Limited Election Choices, Iranians Eager To Be Heard

Supporters of Saeed Jalili, Iran's top nuclear negotiator and a candidate in Iran's June 14 presidential election, attend a street campaign after Friday prayers in Tehran on June 7.
Ebrahim Noroozi AP

Originally published on Thu June 13, 2013 5:53 am

The day we arrived in Iran's capital, Tehran, billboards along the drive from the airport to the city center were already telling us something about what's happening in the country as it prepared for Friday's presidential elections.

We see typical highway signs for Sony Ericsson, but also billboards featuring the face of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. We also see and drive under giant signs that are from Iran's current supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, urging people to vote.

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The Salt
12:40 pm
Tue June 11, 2013

Za'atar: A Spice Mix With Biblical Roots And Brain Food Reputation

Lebanese bread topped with za'atar, a spice mix ubiquitous in the Middle East.
Photostock Israel Getty Images

Originally published on Fri June 14, 2013 11:27 am

NPR Morning Edition Host Steve Inskeep recently traveled to Damascus for a series of reports on the ongoing war in Syria. He sent this postcard from the road.

Dear Salt:

On my first day in Damascus, I went walking in the ancient bazaar — narrow stone-paved streets surrounding a great stone mosque. The mosque is so old, it used to be a church during the Roman Empire, and before it was a church, it was a pagan temple. The bazaar is surely as old as the mosque, for Damascus is a historic city of trade.

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Parallels
5:23 am
Tue June 11, 2013

Inmates In A Venezuelan Prison Build A World Of Their Own

At this prison in Barinas, Venezuela, the inmates are in charge.
Steve Inskeep NPR

In Latin America — home to the vast majority of the world's most violent cities — it's said the only part of a prison a guard controls is the gate, leaving convicts to fend for themselves inside, even running criminal networks from behind bars.

I wanted to understand how a prison like that worked, and I was in luck: A colleague knew a man serving time a Venezuelan prison. The prisoner got in touch with the leader of the inmates, who sent word that he'd be willing to see us.

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Parallels
7:15 am
Mon June 10, 2013

In Venezuela, A Family Blames The Police For Their Misery

Eloisa Barrios visits the humble graves of nine male family members in the Guanayen cemetery. She says all nine were killed by the police, in what was a vendetta against her family. Recently, a 10th member of the family was stabbed to death. He was 17.
Meridith Kohut for NPR

Originally published on Tue July 2, 2013 5:05 pm

The story of Venezuela's Eloisa Barrios is especially revealing because so many of her relatives have been killed. Revealing because of who she believes pulled the trigger.

Some weeks ago, Barrios climbed into our van for a drive to a cemetery. The burial ground is outside a village in the Venezuelan countryside. We went there to visit the Barrios family dead.

She told us nine relatives had been killed in shootings over the past 15 years. All nine were young men.

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Parallels
2:50 am
Thu June 6, 2013

For Venezuelans, Kidnappings Are Simply Business As Usual

Kidnappings and other crime have infiltrated every aspect of daily life in Venezuela, especially the capital, Caracas, which was recently ranked the world's third most violent city.
Rodrigo Abd AP

Originally published on Thu June 6, 2013 8:18 pm

German Garcia-Velutini got into his car and left work one day. It took him 11 months to get home.

Kidnappers had nabbed the Venezuelan banker. His abduction is part of a problem that's been getting worse every year for the past decade in Venezuela, which belongs to a region riddled with crime and the most violent cities in the world.

Gracia-Velutini tells his story at an outdoor table at a hotel in Caracas, the capital, with a view of a mountainside that climbs into the clouds.

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Middle East
5:54 am
Mon June 3, 2013

Fight For Homs Fades From Headlines As War In Syria Rages

Originally published on Mon June 3, 2013 10:23 am

Transcript

LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. I'm Linda Wertheimer.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And I'm Renee Montagne. We're going to get a glimpse from the front lines of the civil war in Syria now. That war is expected to be the focus of peace negotiations, in the coming weeks. The U.S. is pressing for those talks after brutal fighting, fighting that's begun to spread to neighboring countries.

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Parallels
5:24 am
Sun June 2, 2013

A City Of Assad Supporters In War-Ravaged Syria

The port city of Tartous is in a region loyal to President Bashar Assad. The city has been a refuge for supporters to vacation and seek work.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Sun June 2, 2013 2:33 pm

Many people in Syria are accustomed to the sound of daily gunfire. It is normal in battle-scarred cities like Damascus or Qusair.

But along the beaches and in the cafes of Tartous, an area that is a center of support for the embattled President Bashar Assad, the sounds are a bit more peaceful.

Near the water's edge of the Mediterranean, tables, chairs and umbrellas sit upon huge stones. At one of these tables sits a brother and sister on vacation.

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Parallels
2:58 am
Wed May 29, 2013

Syria's Civil War: The View From A Damascus Shrine

Zeinab
Nishant Dahiya NPR

Originally published on Wed May 29, 2013 10:47 am

Traveling to Damascus gives you a view of Syria's war turned inside out.

The international community talks of arming Syria's rebels against President Bashar Assad, but in the capital many people still hope the rebels will lose.

That's the thinking we found around a Muslim shrine in Damascus, a tribute to the granddaughter of the Prophet Muhammad. She lived centuries ago, but a Damascus doctor we met spoke of her in the present tense.

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Parallels
12:46 am
Tue May 28, 2013

In Damascus, A View Of Syria's War Turned Inside Out

The Ummayyid Mosque in Damascus has been a mosque for around 1,400 years. It sits in the center of a city where many people are struggling to live normal lives amid war.
Steve Inskeep NPR

Originally published on Tue May 28, 2013 9:41 am

Many years ago, the president of Syria, Hafez al-Assad, approved the construction of a new presidential residence on a mountainside above Damascus.

Assad never occupied the building, saying his successor should take it. When his son Bashar Assad became that successor, he didn't move into the house, either. He preferred a residence down the slope.

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Analysis
4:21 am
Mon May 13, 2013

Republicans Focus On Democrats' Political Misdeeds

Originally published on Mon May 13, 2013 8:41 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. Good morning, I'm David Greene.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Again and again, President Obama's administration tries to pivot attention toward East Asia. Administration officials believe China and its neighbors are where the economic future lies.

GREENE: And yet it's the Middle East that keeps demanding the president's attention. It brings to mind that line from F. Scott Fitzgerald: So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.

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