Greg Myre

Greg Myre is a national security correspondent with a focus on counter-terrorism, a topic he has covered in the U.S., the Middle East and in many other countries around the world for more than two decades.

He was previously the international editor for NPR.org, working closely with NPR correspondents around the world and national security reporters in Washington. He heads the Parallels blog and is a frequent contributor to the website on global affairs. Prior to his current position, he was a senior editor at Morning Edition from 2008-2011.

Before joining NPR, Myre was a foreign correspondent for 20 years with The New York Times and The Associated Press.

He was first posted to South Africa in 1987, where he witnessed Nelson Mandela's release from prison and reported on the final years of apartheid. He was assigned to Pakistan in 1993 and often traveled to war-torn Afghanistan. He was one of the first reporters to interview members of an obscure new group calling itself the Taliban.

Myre was also posted to Cyprus and worked throughout the Middle East, including extended trips to Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, and Saudi Arabia. He went to Moscow from 1996 to 1999, covering the early days of Vladimir Putin.

He was based in Jerusalem from 2000-2007, reporting on the heaviest fighting ever between Israelis and the Palestinians.

In his years abroad, he traveled to more than 50 countries and reported on a dozen wars. He and his journalist wife Jennifer Griffin co-wrote a 2011 book on their time in Jerusalem, entitled, This Burning Land: Lessons from the Front Lines of the Israeli-Palestinian Conflict.

Myre is a scholar at the Middle East Institute in Washington and has appeared as an analyst on CNN, PBS, BBC, C-SPAN, Fox, Al Jazeera and other networks. He's a graduate of Yale University, where he played football and basketball.

U.S. presidents have a tradition of entering office and expressing hope for improved relations with Russia. With near perfect symmetry, this is matched by a tradition of presidents leaving office amid friction with Moscow.

Sometimes it takes years for optimism to turn to disillusionment. In the case of President Trump, there are warning signs after just a few months.

"If we could get along with Russia, that's a positive thing," Trump said shortly after his inauguration. "It would be great."

With an attack on a Syrian air base, the United States has now bombed the two main players in Syrian war — President Bashar Assad's military and the Islamic State.

This raises a fundamental question about U.S. aims in the Syrian war: If the two most powerful groups in Syria are both unacceptable, what outcome is the U.S. seeking?

Both Barack Obama and President Trump have sought to limit U.S. involvement in Syria for their own reasons. Yet both have been sucked in and struggled to clearly define their objectives in the messy, complicated war.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

World War I sometimes seems like the war America forgot.

The U.S. entered the fight a century ago, on April 6, 1917, nearly three years after it erupted in Europe during the summer of 1914. The Americans made quite a splash, turning a stalemate in favor of their British and French allies.

Imagine you're a military officer in World War I. Armies have grown so large, you can no longer communicate just by the sound of your voice or the wave of your hand. You need to synchronize movements of troops and artillery, far and wide.

You need a wristwatch.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

KELLY MCEVERS, HOST:

Updated at 2:55 p.m. ET

Airline passengers coming to the U.S. and Britain on direct flights from a number of majority-Muslim nations must now place most electronic devices, including laptops, tablets and cameras, in checked baggage under stepped-up security measures, the Trump administration and the British government said.

Passengers can still carry smartphones into the plane's cabin, but nothing larger, officials from the two countries added.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Now more on today's new executive order on immigration. It includes several modifications to the first one which was blocked by the courts. Iraq has been removed from the list of banned countries. We'll have detail on that change in a moment.

With a series of airstrikes and a recent ground raid, the U.S. military has intensified a long-running campaign against al-Qaida in Yemen, which is considered more dangerous than the group's parent organization.

As President Trump prepares a new executive order on vetting refugees and immigrants, one idea keeps cropping up: checking the social media accounts of those coming to the U.S.

In fact, such a program was begun under the Obama administration more than a year ago on a limited basis and is likely to be expanded. But social media vetting is a heavy lift, and it's too early to tell how effective it will be.

In April 1991, I met a young U.S. Army captain in the moonscape of southern Iraq. He was frustrated.

Just weeks earlier, the officer and his troops had been part of the wave of U.S. forces that drove Saddam Hussein's Iraqi military out of Kuwait. The Americans kept advancing, pushing some 150 miles into southern Iraq — but then they received orders to halt in place.

Iran tested a ballistic missile barely a week into Donald Trump's presidency. North Korea then shot off a missile of its own. A Russian warship has been hanging out about 30 miles off the U.S. East Coast, and Moscow's fighter jets recently buzzed a U.S. warship in the Black Sea.

Candidate Donald Trump was a big fan of leaks, especially when they targeted Hillary Clinton and reports of her deleted emails.

"Russia, if you're listening, I hope you're able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing," Trump said last July in Florida. "I think you will probably be rewarded mightily by our press."

Throughout Donald Trump's presidential campaign, and now during his first weeks in office, one country keeps re-emerging in the controversies that swirl around him: Russia.

For all the turbulence, Trump and his team have not addressed the larger and more important questions of how they plan to deal with Vladimir Putin's Russia on a host of critical issues: the war in Syria, the turmoil in Ukraine, the future of NATO.

When President George W. Bush overhauled immigration rules after the attacks on Sept. 11, 2001, he received broad public support, bipartisan backing in Congress and a cooperative judiciary. The U.S. was a country genuinely fearful of more terrorism.

Charles Lindbergh became an instant American hero when he piloted the Spirit of St. Louis from New York to Paris in 1927, the first person to fly solo and nonstop across the Atlantic.

Lindbergh was an icon in Europe as well, and he moved to England in the late 1930s. By 1941, though, he was back home, touring the U.S. as the leading voice of the America First Committee — an isolationist group of some 800,000 members that claimed England was trying to drag America into a war he thought it should avoid.

Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Barack Obama spent much of his tenure scaling back the high-profile "war on terror" he inherited from George W. Bush. In a few short days, President Trump has again set the U.S. on a more visible and confrontational course in dealing with the threat of terrorism.

Trump has temporarily frozen immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries, igniting protests outside the White House and at airports around the country.

Updated 5:30 p.m. ET

President Trump paid his first presidential visit to the top brass at the Pentagon on Friday afternoon and announced his intention to provide a wide range of new resources for the U.S. military.

"I'm signing an executive action to begin a great rebuilding of the armed services of the United States," the president said in a brief ceremony that included the swearing in of the new defense secretary, James Mattis.

Updated 2 p.m. ET

President Trump's freeze on immigration from seven mostly Muslim countries cites the potential threat of terrorism. But here's the twist — it doesn't include any countries from which radicalized Muslims have actually killed Americans in the U.S. since Sept. 11, 2001.

The president's executive action, which he signed Friday at the Pentagon, applies to these countries: Syria, Iran, Libya, Somalia, Yemen, Iraq and Sudan.

President Trump says he wants a swift and complete victory over the Islamic State, and he inherits the battle at a moment when the extremist group is losing ground in Iraq and Syria. The group's self-declared caliphate is looking increasingly fragile.

Could 2017 be the year the U.S. and its allies break the back of ISIS?

Progress is being made in the war against the Islamic State, according to analysts. But they caution that the U.S. is likely to face a recurring challenge in the Middle East: how to turn battlefield gains into a comprehensive political solution.

The U.S. has released 10 prisoners from Guantanamo Bay to the Arab nation of Oman, reducing the detainee population to 45 in the waning days of the Obama administration.

The freed prisoners were not identified by name or nationality, though the Oman News Agency, citing the country's Foreign Ministry, reported that the 10 had arrived in the country on Monday for "temporary residence."

Out of nowhere, a shocking video appeared on a Russian TV news program late one evening in March 1999. A surveillance tape showed a naked, middle-aged man who resembled Russia's top prosecutor, Yuri Skuratov, cavorting with two unclothed young women. Neither was his wife.

When Israel captured the West Bank in the 1967 Six-Day War, no Israeli citizens had lived in the territory for nearly two decades, since an earlier war. But in 1968, a small group of religious Jews rented rooms at the Park Hotel in Hebron for Passover, saying they wanted to be near the Tomb of the Patriarchs, one of the holiest sites in Judaism (as well as Islam and Christianity).

Updated at 6:50 p.m. ET

President Obama and Japanese Minister Shinzo Abe made a historic appearance at Pearl Harbor, 75 years after the surprise attack that prompted U.S. entry into World War II, praising the reconciliation and partnership between their respective nations.

In a somber ceremony Tuesday, the two leaders touted the U.S.-Japan alliance that arose in the aftermath of the bitter conflict and became a "cornerstone of peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region," Obama said.

As head of Exxon Mobil, Rex Tillerson had license to work out deals with roguish foreign leaders. He was supposed to sniff out countries at risk of instability far into the future. He commanded a workforce circling the globe and had a writ that extended from the Arctic oceans to the desert sands.

In other words, the job he is leaving has much in common with the secretary of state post he has been nominated for in Donald Trump's incoming administration.

As President Bashar Assad's army pushes into the last few neighborhoods controlled by rebels in Aleppo, the Syrian leader can claim a stronger position than at any point since the early days of a war that broke out in 2011.

This doesn't mean Syria's bloodletting is over, but it is entering a new phase.

Assad acknowledged this in an interview Wednesday with Russian television:

The Soviet Union, which collapsed 25 years ago on Christmas Day, united the American political establishment for decades, generating a unanimous view that Moscow represented the primary threat to the U.S.

Today's Russia is having the opposite effect, dividing many Republicans and Democrats and illustrating the larger breakdown of a national consensus on major foreign policy questions.

As expected, the United Nations Security Council on Wednesday imposed additional sanctions against North Korea over its nuclear program. But the fine print included one punitive measure that caused some head-scratching: a ban on the export of monuments.

Is there really an international market for monuments made in North Korea?

And who's buying them?

Well, yes, there is a market. And some of the most avid customers are African nations and rulers.

Donald Trump's name is affixed to skyscrapers, or soon will be, in major cities from Istanbul to Mumbai to Manila. He has luxury golf resorts in Ireland and Scotland. His hotel projects span continents, part of a global empire fueled by bank loans from Germany and China.

So when Trump enters the White House, his foreign policy decisions could have an impact, for better or worse, on his global financial holdings. The question is whether those holdings will influence his decisions.

Trump says they won't.

Pages