Alice Fordham en Kurdish Ambitions Get A Rude Awakening From Baghdad Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>In the rugged mountains of northern Iraq, there are some gleaming new high-rises. They reflect bright sun and also big Kurdish ambitions. The Kurds largely run their own affairs, but their insistence on selling oil without the central government's permission has prompted Baghdad to strike back. The government cut off federal money to the Kurds. NPR's Alice Fordham visited a newly opened five-star hotel in the city of Sulaymaniyah.<p>ALICE FORDHAM, BYLINE: You know, even the white grand piano is brand new here in the lobby of the (unintelligible) hotel. Fri, 14 Mar 2014 20:06:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 42487 at In Iraq, Anbar Faces Extremists Stronger Than Those U.S. Fought The extremists now committing a wave of attacks in Iraq's Anbar province are better trained, funded and equipped than the al-Qaida-linked groups American soldiers battled there, says Brett McGurk, one of the State Department's top officials for Iraq.<p>The militants, who have drawn strength amid the war in Syria over the border, have taken over parts of Anbar over the last three months.<p>McGurk says that between 300 and 500 fighters have set up a defensive perimeter around the city of Fallujah, where American soldiers fought some of the fiercest battles of the war. Tue, 11 Mar 2014 07:43:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 42292 at In Iraq, Anbar Faces Extremists Stronger Than Those U.S. Fought Splinters From Syria Reach Iraqi Kurds Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Melissa Block.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>Many of the conflicts and rivalries now roiling the Middle East are intersecting this week at a conference in Northern Iraq. Diplomats, academics and business executives from Iraq, Turkey, Iran and the U.S. are meeting at a university in the Kurdish city of Sulaymaniyah. They're venting their hostility in some cases, sharing the love in others. Wed, 05 Mar 2014 21:14:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 42097 at Beirut's Suburbs Take New Precautions As Syrian Unrest Expands Riding the bus to Beirut's southern suburbs used to be a bumpy, crowded but fun experience. Everyone crammed in next to each other, bouncing around on the way to the area they call the Dahiyeh, the Arabic word for "suburb."<p>This sprawling southern district of Lebanon's capital is the place where the Shiite militant group Hezbollah enjoys its strongest support. But it is also a bustling, residential area. There are garages and vegetable stalls. Sat, 15 Feb 2014 14:54:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 41369 at Beirut's Suburbs Take New Precautions As Syrian Unrest Expands Two Rounds Down, Syria Peace Talks Have Unfinished Business Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Robert Siegel. And we have an update now on the efforts to end the civil war in Syria. Representatives of both the government and opposition are wrapping a second round of peace talks in Geneva, but they made little progress at the conference, raising questions about whether a third round of talks will happen. Fri, 14 Feb 2014 23:12:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 41354 at Syria Peace Talks Appear Near Collapse The Syrian peace talks in Geneva are in deep trouble. Representatives of the opposition met a delegation from Syrian President Bashar Assad's regime several times this week. But the two sides can't agree on an agenda. Fri, 14 Feb 2014 10:03:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 41321 at Under A Hail Of Barrel Bombs, An Exodus Departs From Aleppo For the last two weeks, the barrel bombing of the rebel-held area of Aleppo in Syria has intensified. Warplanes drop leaflets on neighborhoods warning civilians to flee — and it seems they're listening. Residents of Aleppo districts held by the regime say they are seeing an influx of families, while aid agencies working in Turkey say hundreds of thousands of the displaced are trying to get in. Wed, 05 Feb 2014 22:36:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 40970 at Welcome To Homs, A Syrian City Under Siege Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>AUDIE CORNISH, HOST: <p>And I'm Audie Cornish.<p>The ongoing Syrian peace talks in Geneva have raised hopes for humanitarian relief in cities, towns, and villages across the country that are under siege by government or rebel forces. Wed, 29 Jan 2014 22:30:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 40682 at