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Civil War

January 30, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT -- Describing a sixth day of Syrian peace talks as both “tense” and “promising,” the chief United Nations mediator said both sides observed a moment of silence Thursday in memory of the tens of thousands who have perished in the civil war. “The opposition suggested a moment of silence for all the dead in Syria, irrelevant to which camp they belonged, and the government delegation immediately agreed,” Lakhdar Brahimi, the U.N....
January 13, 2014 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - Diplomats on Monday pushed for a limited cease-fire in Syria, a prisoner exchange and better access for aid efforts before a peace conference scheduled to begin next week in Switzerland. At a news conference in Paris, U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry said that he and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, had discussed measures to "set the stage for success. " One potential area for a cessation of hostilities, Kerry said, was the embattled northern city of Aleppo, divided for 18 months between government and opposition forces and also the site of recent rebel infighting.
January 12, 2014 | Doyle McManus
The first war I covered as a foreign correspondent was the civil war in Lebanon. When the conflict began in 1975, it was just a series of skirmishes, a nasty but limited little war for control of a small nation. Then other countries got involved: Syria, Iraq, Libya and Israel. They supplied money and weapons to their favored factions, turning an internal struggle into a longer, more deadly proxy war in which outside powers fought one another through surrogates. Eventually even the United States sent troops, which is why 241 Americans died in a bombing in Beirut in 1983.
December 22, 2013 | By Richard Simon
WASHINGTON - Lt. Alonzo H. Cushing is poised to receive the Medal of Honor a bit late: 150 years after his heroics at Gettysburg. Buried deep in a thick defense bill to fund modern-day weapons systems and military operations in Afghanistan is a measure to waive the time limit for posthumously awarding the nation's highest military honor to Cushing. The 22-year-old Union artillery officer refused to leave the battlefield even after being severely wounded during Pickett's charge July 3, 1863.
December 19, 2013 | By Robyn Dixon, This post has been updated. See the note below for details.
JOHANNESBURG, South Africa -- Fears of civil war in South Sudan grew Thursday, after South Sudan's military admitted losing control of a key town in the country's east to army mutineers. The army lost Bor, the capital of Jonglei state, to a military faction associated with former Vice President Riek Machar, who has been accused by President Salva Kiir of launching a coup. Fighting continued in the region Thursday. Machar denies any coup attempt, claiming that Kiir is inciting ethnic tensions.
December 16, 2013 | Patrick J. McDonnell and Nabih Bulos
A makeshift bucket brigade hauled 14 pails of mud and slush from the tent that Um Mahmoud shares with a dozen other Syrian refugees in a ramshackle settlement here in the Bekaa Valley, now blanketed with snow that lends an alpine sheen to the rugged stretch that extends to the Syrian border. While holiday-makers from Beirut hastened to the hills with sleds and toboggans, piling souvenir snow onto their vehicles for the drive home, there was nothing merry about the weekend blizzard for the multitudes of Syrians living rough in makeshift camps scattered throughout the region.
November 25, 2013 | By Patrick J. McDonnell
BEIRUT - Long-delayed peace talks designed to end the bloody conflict in Syria will begin Jan. 22 in Geneva, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced Monday, amid growing international alarm about the rise of Islamic militant rebels inside the country. The so-called Geneva 2 negotiations - sponsored by the United States and Russia - would mark the first meeting between the Syrian government and opposition representatives aimed at ending the 32-month-old civil war. Despite Monday's announcement, some observers expressed skepticism that the talks would take place.
November 19, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
The legacy of the Emancipation Proclamation, which President Abraham Lincoln issued on Jan. 1, 1863, and the Gettysburg Address wasn't lost on the participants in the new compilation “Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War,” created to coincide with the 150th anniversary of the Civil War. “Day of Liberty,” sung by the Carolina Chocolate Drops, eagerly anticipated the day when freedom would be a reality for the nation's African Americans....
November 12, 2013 | By Richard A. Serrano
WASHINGTON - The undercover FBI informant warned Pakistani immigrant Basit Javed Sheikh that it was not too late to back out. "You don't have to do it," he told Sheikh in a private Facebook message Oct. 17. But Sheikh, 29, a permanent U.S. resident living in central North Carolina, was adamant, according to a federal affidavit, telling the informant: "I'm serious" and "Akhi Wallahi!" - Arabic for "Brother, I swear to God!" Now Sheikh is under arrest on allegations of attempting to reach Syria to provide material support to Al Nusra Front, an Al Qaeda-affiliated group in Iraq that the U.S. deems a terrorist organization.
November 2, 2013 | By Randy Lewis
This post has been updated. See note below for details. Many of the songs on "Divided & United: The Songs of the Civil War" had been long relegated to the dustbins of history before executive producer Randall Poster decided to pair the 19th century tunes with contemporary artists such as Ashley Monroe and the Carolina Chocolate Drops. But beyond giving fresh treatments to nearly three dozen songs and commemorating the 150th anniversary of the Civil War, the project also delivers an allegory for the political polarization of the U.S. today.
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