Alice Fordham en Syrian President Issues New Stamps, But Can't Deliver The Mail As the Middle East froths with blood — from Iraq to Syria to the Gaza Strip — a commemorative set of three stamps depicting Syrian President Bashar Assad may not seem hugely relevant.<p>But these pieces of paper tell us much about the power struggles behind the slaughter in Syria. Thu, 24 Jul 2014 16:55:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 55570 at Syrian President Issues New Stamps, But Can't Deliver The Mail Amid Bloodshed, Brotherhood: Links Forged From Iraq's Game Of Rings In Iraq, a Ramadan game called Mheibbis brings even Sunnis and Shiites together in peaceful competition. A ring game traditionally played between neighborhoods during the holy month, Mheibbis has offered men the opportunity to break Baghdad's tension and offer messages of unity and brotherhood — even between rival sects. <div class="fullattribution">Copyright 2014 NPR. Wed, 09 Jul 2014 21:19:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 54568 at Iraqi Lawmakers Fail To Reach Deal On A New Government Transcript <p>LINDA WERTHEIMER, HOST: <p>Iraq is looking more and more like a country being divided into three parts. Hard-core Sunni militants have taken much of the west. Well-organized Kurdish soldiers have grabbed the north. And everywhere else, Shiites are mustering sectarian militia. Thousands of Iraqis have been killed in just the last month. Sun, 06 Jul 2014 11:55:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 54331 at Islamic State Releases Video It Claims Shows Leader Preaching Transcript <p>KELLY MCEVERS, HOST: <p>It's ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR West. Arun Rath is away. I'm Kelly McEvers. The leader of an extremist Sunni group that's been gobbling up territory in Iraq and Syria appears to have made his first public appearance. The group that now calls itself the Islamic State has released a video they say is their leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, preaching the Friday sermon at an ancient mosque in Iraq's northern city of Mosul. Sat, 05 Jul 2014 21:06:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 54314 at Iraqi Parliament, And Maliki's Fate, Float In Limbo Transcript <p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Melissa Block.<p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>And I'm Robert Siegel. With Iraq in crisis under the onslaught of Sunni extremists, the country's government is unable to pull together. A meeting of the Iraqi parliament fell apart today, and the issues before the body are critical for the government to function. The parliament was elected back in April, but members still have yet to agree on a speaker, a president and a prime minister. Tue, 01 Jul 2014 20:25:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 54055 at ISIS Gets A Rebrand, Declaring Its New Caliphate In The Process Transcript <p>ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: <p>This is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED from NPR News. I'm Robert Siegel.<p>MELISSA BLOCK, HOST: <p>I'm Melissa Block, and we begin the hour with the latest developments in Iraq. The extremist Islamist group that's grabbed territory across much of that country and parts of Syria is now making grandiose claims of worldwide authority. They now claim to rule over all Muslims everywhere. They've changed the name of the group from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria to simply the Islamic State. They say this is the dawn of a new caliphate, the old system of Muslim rule. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 20:17:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 53980 at For Iraqis, A Ramadan Filled With Fear And Uncertainty For more than a billion Muslims, the holy month of Ramadan begins this week, as different religious leaders sight the first new moon of the month.<p>Muslims abstain from food and drink from dawn to dusk and traditionally break that fast with an elaborate meal followed by a lot of tea and sweets. But many face a bleak Ramadan this year. Mon, 30 Jun 2014 01:54:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 53931 at For Iraqis, A Ramadan Filled With Fear And Uncertainty Angry At Shiite-Led Government, Sunnis Are Loath To Help Calm Iraq Iraq is looking increasingly like a state partitioned along sectarian lines. Shiites control the south, but Sunni militants are sweeping through the north and west — and they're doing it with help from local Sunni populations.<p>Interviews with Sunni leaders show how hard it will be to build the kind of trust needed to put the country back together under one functioning authority.<p>In the Baghdad suburb of Dora, Sunni Sheik Abu Ali al-Jubbouri says the dangers Sunnis face are evident every night. Wed, 25 Jun 2014 21:53:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 53671 at Angry At Shiite-Led Government, Sunnis Are Loath To Help Calm Iraq In Iraq, Shiites Take Up Arms Against Sunni Militants Transcript <p>RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST: <p>It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.<p>STEVE INSKEEP, HOST: <p>And I'm Steve Inskeep. Good morning. You know, years ago I was talking with a man in Baghdad. It was amid the chaos and the warfare following the overthrow of Saddam Hussein. And the Iraqi man said it took us 35 years to get this way and it will take 35 years to change.<p>MONTAGNE: For a while it seemed like Iraq might get away with a mere decade of brutal transition. But now, Iraq shows signs of marching back to sectarian war. Tue, 24 Jun 2014 09:11:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 53529 at Maliki's Power Base Crumbles As Iraq Slips Into Chaos Tens of thousands of Iraqi men brandishing assorted weapons are responding to a call to arms. They invoke the Mahdi, a figure from Shiite Muslim prophecies, as they march in a recent parade in Sadr City, a Shiite suburb of Baghdad, the Iraqi capital.<p>"We volunteer to protect our dear country," says Hazem al-Shemmari.<p>When Sunni militants took over parts of <a href="" target="_blank">Iraq </a>this month, Shiite religious leaders called for volunteers to fight back.<p>Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a devout Shiite, gave speeches supporting the volunteers. Mon, 23 Jun 2014 20:07:00 +0000 Alice Fordham 53498 at Maliki's Power Base Crumbles As Iraq Slips Into Chaos