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Warren Olney’s “To The Point” has provided extensive coverage of the escalating conflict in Syria, asking back in March, 2011, how the country might be affected by changes in the Middle East and keeping a close watch on the often tragic changes that did follow.

President Obama has asked the Congress to approve a plan to  intervene directly in Syria, most likely with cruise missile strikes in retaliation for chemical weapons attacks against Syrian rebels.

Below, we’ve compiled an archive of key shows to provide a grounding in how the battle for Syria evolved and why it threatens to spill over into a greater war for control in the Middle East.

September 12, 2013: Sizing Up Syria’s Chemical Weapons Proposal

In Geneva, the US says it will test the seriousness of Russia’s plan to put Syria’s chemical arsenal under international control. In the meantime, we look at how difficult that task will be — even if Vladimir Putin and Bashar al-Assad can be trusted to mean what they say. In the meantime, is the US arming Syrian rebels?

September 11, 2013: President Obama Wants to Give Peace a Chance

September 9, 2013: Congress Faces Big Issues: Syria, Debt Ceiling, Immigration

September 4, 2013: Strike on Syria may be about more than chemical weapons

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"The reason that AIPAC and Israel both want the United States to stick to the red line and go to war in Syria is because they are afraid if the United States doesn’t, it’ll be impossible to get the US to got to war with Iran or to allow Israel to attack Iran over its nuclear developments."

— MJ Rosenberg,  Huffington Post blogger and Special Correspondent for The Washington Spectator. Former senior staff member at AIPAC (now a critic of the organization)

 

September 3, 2013: Congress Takes Up Strikes on Syria

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"For me the problem is this is unpredictable, even if we had a limited narrow scope and duration of this military strike, how do we know what’s going to happen after we shoot across the bow. This is really just to send a message, this is just so we can keep our credibility and our reputation and that’s not a good enough reason for me or my constituents on possibly dragging us into a civil war which has nothing to do with us. I’m still concerned with the retaliation after we strike and what does that mean long-term for our security." —Janice Hahn, Democratic Congresswoman for the 44th District in California.

August 30, 2013: Obama Administration Lays Groundwork for Action in Syria

August 29, 2013: Is Punitive Action against Syria Justified? Is It Legal?

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"Once you’ve started down a military road there is pressure to continue if your initial steps are not effective and I’m very concerned that they would not be effective… The other thing we have to understand is the laws of unintended consequences. If we launch a limited strike, we don’t know what the other parties will do. We don’t know what Assad will do, we don’t know what Iran will do, we don’t’ know what Hezbollah will do, we don’t know what the opposition will do." —Ryan Crocker, Former Ambassador to Iraq, currently the Dean at the George Bush School of Government and Public Service at Texas A&M University

August 27, 2013: Will Military Strike on Syria Be Too Little, Too Late

August 23, 2013: Chemical Weapons, ‘Red Lines’ and US Involvement in Syria

July 17, 2013: Behind the News from Syria

June 17, 2013: Is Syria’s Civil War Going Global?

May 6, 2013: Israel Strikes Syria, Will the US Be Next?

April 24, 2013: Does Obama Have to Act in Syria?

March 28, 2013: Syria on the Sunni-Shia Fault Line 

December 4, 2012: Syrian Political Landscape Shifts As Crisis Intensifies

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"The immediate crisis we have in front of us is the Assad regimes demise and how that happens… there’s been so much blood letting and so much of the regime beyond Assad is involved in the brutal suppression of its people that the political settlement now is very difficult, and the softer landing we were hoping for is unlikely… There is not going to be one coherent opposition body with which anyone can negotiate. And I think that’s going to add to the challenge of governing Syria, of rebuilding, of elections, of all of these state-building issues and I think that the US, for very good reason, doesn’t want to get involved in. But if you don’t get involved in this situation in some way shape or form, your ability to shape the outcome becomes less and less, and I think we all share with our allies the short term goal of bringing Assad’s reign to an end. — Andrew Tabler, Senior Fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. Author of “In the Lion’s Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington's Battle With Assad’s Syria

August 9, 2012: The Syrian War and Secret U.S. Support
July 20, 2012: Conflict Intensifies in Syria
On the Assads: “They hadn’t reformed in decades.The system they were presiding over was so unbelievably corrupt, it couldn’t reform. The thing that sent me running out of the charity was being offered a bag of money, when I didn’t even know why I was being offered a bag of money. The system was so rotten… I think for [President Assad], it’s a life or death struggle. We have to draw a line somewhere, because I think that he is ruthless … I think it would be very difficult for President Obama to stand by in the face of a huge massacre or the use of [chemical weapons]. I know the administration is very concerned about that, and rightfully so.” —Andrew Tabler, senior fellow at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy and author of “In the Lion’s Den: An Eyewitness Account of Washington’s Battle with Assad’s Syria
May 30, 2012: The Syrian Government and the Massacre at Houla
 

February 15, 2012: Is It Time to Intervene in Syria?

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"There’s more and more cases of people fleeing illegally. Of course it depends on the place, but we’re talking about cities where people basically feel surrounded. There are troops and armored vehicles circling their neighborhoods, or sometimes the whole town depending on how much of it they feel is opposition held…. In the case of a place like Homs, a city of one million, and is considered the heart of the uprising, they are focusing on certain neighborhoods, usually poorer neighborhoods that have a large Sunni population, which is the majority religious population in the country and has been the biggest supporter of the uprising… people say  it’s so hard to get in and out that they are struggling to get food, so they are relying on whatever they’ve saved up at home and they’re talking about smuggling things like bread and water as being  as difficult as smuggling as weapons. They have to go at night and can only bring in what they can carry." —Erika Solomon, Correspondent for Reuters based in Beirut

January 5, 2012: Syria’s Crackdown Continues 

December 4, 2012: Syrian Political Landscape Shifts As Crisis Intensifies
 
March 31, 2011: Will Syria Be Swept Up by the Winds of Change?

And if we’re not acting, what does that say? You know, if we’re just issuing another statement of condemnation or passing resolutions saying “wasn’t that terrible?”

You know, if people who, you know, decry international inaction in Rwanda and, you know, say how terrible it is that there are these human rights violations that take place around the world, then why aren’t we doing something about it?

And they always look to the United States. Why isn’t the United States doing something about this? The most powerful nation on Earth. Why are you allowing these terrible things to happen?

Given the depths of our partnership with Egypt, our national security interest in this pivotal part of the world and our belief that engagement can support a transition back to a democratically elected civilian government, we’ve sustained our commitment to Egypt and its people. But while we want to sustain our relationship with Egypt, our traditional cooperation cannot continue as usual when civilians are being killed in the streets and rights are being rolled back.
President Obama, speaking today on Egypt. Full transcript here. 

President Obama talks about Trayvon Martin. 

Via Talking Points Memo:

"a study released Monday showed that media coverage of a woman candidate’s appearance actually makes people less likely to vote for her — even if the comments are positive.”

You’ve got an awful lot of people who are kind of curdled against the progress we’ve made in the last fifty years and have convinced themselves, fearfully and resentfully, that the chief guard of their liberty is a Bushmaster in their closet — not the rights that we knit together across the differences that divide us.
Taylor Branch, Pulitzer-prize winning author and historian. Author of “The King Years: Historic Moments in the Civil Rights Movement” on today’s To the Point.

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KCRW and To the Point will be covering the Presidential Inauguration on Monday, January 21.

The ceremony will begin at 11:30 am ET with President Obama taking the oath of office on the steps of the US Capitol in DC, immediately followed by the inaugural address. Here’s a full schedule. 

The Hill has the rundown: Then, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the JCCIC, will give welcoming remarks. Myrlie Evers-Williams will give the invocation. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir will sing. Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will administer the oath of office to Biden. James Taylor will perform. John Roberts, chief justice of the United States, will swear in Obama. Obama will give his inaugural address. Kelly Clarkson will sing. Richard Blanco will read a poem. There will be a benediction, and then Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem.”

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KCRW and To the Point will be covering the Presidential Inauguration on Monday, January 21.

The ceremony will begin at 11:30 am ET with President Obama taking the oath of office on the steps of the US Capitol in DC, immediately followed by the inaugural address. Here’s a full schedule. 

The Hill has the rundown: Then, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.), the chairman of the JCCIC, will give welcoming remarks. Myrlie Evers-Williams will give the invocation. The Brooklyn Tabernacle Choir will sing. Associate Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor will administer the oath of office to Biden. James Taylor will perform. John Roberts, chief justice of the United States, will swear in Obama. Obama will give his inaugural address. Kelly Clarkson will sing. Richard Blanco will read a poem. There will be a benediction, and then Beyoncé will sing the National Anthem.”

Buzzfeed has some of the letters that Children wrote to President Obama urging gun control. More here. 

Since Friday morning, a police officer was gunned down in Memphis, leaving four children without their mother. Two officers were killed outside a grocery store in Topeka. A woman was shot and killed inside a Las Vegas casino. Three people were shot inside an Alabama hospital. A four-year-old was caught in a drive-by in Missouri and taken off life support just yesterday. Each one of these Americans was a victim of the everyday gun violence that takes the lives of more than 10,000 Americans every year.
President Obama at a White House News Conference Wednesday