Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

About 50 people rallied outside the State Capitol Tuesday afternoon, in response to Gov. Terry Branstad’s order blocking Syrian refugees from settling in Iowa.

"Mr. Branstad I ask you to find it in your heart, to find the courage, and to stop being afraid of people that are different from you," said Samantha Thomas, the one of the rally's organizers and executive director of Global Arts Therapy, which does work with youth and refugees.

Iowa Public Radio / Sarah Boden

Iowa clergy submitted a letter to Gov. Terry Branstad’s office Monday afternoon, condemning what they call discrimination against Syrian refugees “on the basis of religion," and to "reject fear and cruelty" by welcoming them to the state.

More than 120 people are dead in Paris after a string of terrorist attacks late last week, including one American. The attackers have been identified as Muslim extremists, and one of the terrorists is said to have gotten into France by posing as a refugee.

Reese Erlich

There are interviews you spend hours sweating over, and then there are situations like the one faced by award-winning foreign correspondent Reese Erlich on a recent trip to Jordan. That's where he interviewed Abu Qatada, once described as Osama Bin Laden's right-hand-man in Europe before he was deported from the UK to Jordan in 2013.

Erlich says he had 20 minutes to prepare. The interview was hastily arranged by another of Al Qaeda's top leaders. Erlich says Qatada wanted to talk about human rights violations by the Assad regime in Syria, and by the U.S.

United States Forces Iraq

In a prime time address on Wednesday, President Obama will announce how the U.S. plans to confront the threat from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.

U.S. State Department

Former Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell has made a career out of crafting compromise. First in the U.S. Senate, then later brokering peace in Northern Ireland, and finally tackling peace in the Middle East.  Host Ben Kieffer talks with Mitchell about Syria and Iran. He’ll also share his views on what is driving the hyper-partisan atmosphere in Washington.

Klaus Wagensonner / sipazigaltumu / Flickr

The crisis in Syria has been in the headlines for weeks, but the roots of the two-year-long conflict can be traced back decades. Today host Ben Kieffer gets an in-depth understanding of how history of the region brought Syria to the point of civil war, how terrorism figures in and the conflict's potential outcomes.

Agencia de Noticias Inter Press Service / Flickr

President Obama took his case for military action in Syria to a skeptical American public last night and asserted the need to keep pressure on the regime of Bashar al-Assad.

President Obama is expected to highlight the Reverend Martin Luther King Junior’s economic agenda as he marks the fiftieth anniversary of the March on Washington. Today on River to River, Ben Kieffer hosts a discussion on how the President can successfully talk about race and class.

And, action against Syria for the use of chemical weapons seems more and more likely. We talk about the options with listeners and guests, Tim Hagle, Associate Professor of Political Science at the University of Iowa, and Wayne Moyer, Rosenfield Professor of Political Science at Grinnell College.

U.S. Government

President Obama has chosen U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice to replace Tom Donilon as National Security Advisor.  Rice withdrew her name from consideration as Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's replacement after drawing criticism from Republicans for statements made about the attack on the U.S.

Flickr / The U.S. Army

More than 60,000 US troops are still in Afghanistan. What hurdles does the US face as that international military operation winds down? Today on "River to River" National Security Analyst Brian Katulis from the Center for American Progress will talk about US withdraw from Afghanistan.  He'll also comment on the status of Iraq, ten years after the start of the Iraq War.

assortedstuff / flickr

As drones proliferate and become more sophisticated, what questions does this raise in the international arena? Do drones present challenges we’ve never faced before?

It's politics day here on the program, and this hour we cast our analysis to the world outside our border. We take a look at how new technology, drones and cyber attacks, are shaping international politics. Also, updates on Syria, Iran, North Korea and Afghanistan. Our analysts are Lindsay Cohn, of the University of Northern Iowa, and Jim McCormick, of Iowa State University.

International Politics

Dec 12, 2012
U.S. Mission Geneva / Flickr

Protests continue in Egypt in advance of voting on a new constitution. On politics day Ben Kieffer talks with political experts about why protestors say the draft constitution does not represent the hope inspired by the Arab spring. And why NATO fears the Syrian President may use chemical weapons on his own people.

In his new book, celebrated poet, essayist, and Director of the University of Iowa International Writing Program Christopher Merrill explores the nature of terror, its place in the post-911 world and how terror unites and galvanizes those in the throes of it. In The Tree of Doves: Ceremony, Expedition, War Merrill takes us on his exotic journeys to Malaysia, China, the Dead Sea and war-torn Syria.