Christianity might have gotten its start in the Middle East, but the region’s Christian minority is finding the area more and more dangerous when it comes to practicing their beliefs.

The rise of the Islamic State has only exacerbated the problem. When ISIS captured the mainly Christian city of Qaraqosh in northern Iraq last year, the remaining civilian population was given the choice: convert to Islam; pay a special tax; or face execution. Other Christian settlements were given the same choice.

Since the start of the Syrian civil war, about one-third of that country’s 1.8 million Christians have fled. In Iraq there are perhaps 500,000 Christians remaining, down from 1.5 million in 2003.

On this edition of Global Journalist, a look at the future of Christianity in the Middle East.

Bram Janssen / AP

With more than 30 million people spread across Turkey, Syria, Iraq and Iran, they are a minority everywhere they live.

Now Kurdish groups are battling both the Islamic State  and forces loyal to Bashar al-Assad as well as Turkey, a key U.S. ally. 

On this edition of Global Journalist: a deeper look at the role of the Kurds in the swirling conflicts of the Middle East.

Courtesy photo

You see them on the battlefields patrolling the front lines and risking their lives.

But they are not soldiers, at least not in the traditional sense. They’re war correspondents. These brave men and women travel to the most dangerous parts of the globe, all for the story.

For many journalists, covering one war is enough. But there’s a small group of reporters and photographers who have made it their career to jump from one war to another.

"I am a United States Army General, and I lost the Global War on Terrorism."

Those are the frank opening words of a new book by retired Army Lt. Gen. Daniel Bolger, Why We Lost: A General's Inside Account of the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars. Bolger continues:

"It's like Alcoholics Anonymous. Step one is admitting you have a problem. Well, I have a problem. So do my peers. And thanks to our problem, now all of America has a problem. To wit: two lost campaigns and a war gone awry."

NPR — along with seven public radio stations around the country — is chronicling the lives of America's troops where they live. We're calling the project "Back at Base." This is the first installment of the ongoing series.

Even 10 years after the battle for Fallujah, it's hard for Marine Master Gunnery Sgt. Torain Kelley to talk about some things that happened.

"We had people shooting at us from up [on] the rooftops, from the houses, from the sewers or wherever they could take a shot at us from," he says.

  As the violence escalates in Iraq at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), there's a steady stream of hawkish pundits on television talking about the need to act.  What do Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Bremer, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have to say today that's different than prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq? Missouri School of Journalism professors Margaret Duffy, Mike McKean and Amy Simons discuss the issue.

ISIS wreaks havoc in Iraq

Jun 19, 2014
Emad Matti / AP Photo


This week on Global Journalist, we look at the increasing turmoil in the MIddle East. The group known as the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, has taken control of two of Iraq's major cities and is moving toward the capital. In Syria, it controls much of the northern part of the country. We'll talk to those covering the conflict about the challenges thereof. We also take a look at free press in Afghanistan. Our guests:

U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill, D-Mo., says the Iraqi government bears most of the blame for the violence now engulfing the country and is urging caution as the U.S. government decides how to respond.

“The mess that is in Iraq right now is Iraq’s doing,” McCaskill said in a conference call Tuesday with Missouri journalists. “The U.S. put them on a path of free and fair elections, and to have a military that could enforce the rule of law...I’m sick to my stomach that what we have done in that country has been so carelessly and casually abandoned in favor of sectarian dominance.”

As the U.S. steers warships closer to Iraq and beefs up its embassy's security in Baghdad with nearly 300 troops, a nagging question has resurfaced.

What compelling interests does Washington still have in a nation where all U.S. forces were pulled out 2 1/2 years ago?

Three days after Sunni militants calling themselves the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria seized Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, President Obama paused on the White House lawn and issued a warning.

As the violence escalates in Iraq at the hands of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), there's a steady stream of hawkish pundits on television talking about the need to act.  What to Paul Wolfowitz, Paul Bremer, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) have to say today that's different than prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq?

Jack Mirkinson, Huffington Post: “Iraq hawks are still dominating the media debate

President Obama has informed Congress that 275 U.S. Armed Forces personnel will go to Iraq to provide security for the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, as a militant Sunni group continues its offensive in the country, seizing control of the northern town of Tal Afar.

Hadi Mizban / AP Images

Ten years ago this week, U.S. and British troops took control of Baghdad. A tank crew helped Iraqis pull down an enormous bronze statue of Saddam Hussein in the center of the capital. The toppling became a symbol of victory over the dictator’s regime.

Missouri Governor's office

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon is in Afghanistan visiting members of the Missouri National Guard who won’t be home for the holidays. 

Watch the show and join the conversation on the Intersection website.

Hamoodi Family /

It’s been less than one week since Shakir Hamoodi – a Columbia businessman – had to leave his community and start his 3-year prison sentence.

Fort Leonard Wood is honoring the first female soldier from Missouri who was killed in action in Iraq.

A building at the fort will be dedicated Thursday to Sgt. Amanda Pinson, who died in Iraq in 2006. A memorial plaque will also be unveiled.

The 21-year-old Pinson, of St. Louis, died when a mortar detonated near Tikrit, Iraq. She was a member of the 101st Military Intelligence Detachment of the 101st Airborne Division.

MU engineering researchers fly to Iraq

Jun 5, 2012

Researchers from the MU College of Engineering plan to fly to Iraq on June 17th as part of a new collaboration with the University of Technology in Baghdad.

A Columbia business owner has been sentenced to three years in federal prison for sending money to Iraq for more than a decade.