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Monday, February 22, 2016

Three stories about three evils: ISIL, Putin, and the Saudi family.

Here are interviews from CBC's The Current, important to understanding much of the mess the world is dealing with right now.

Monday February 22, 2016

Former ISIS hostage Nicolas Hénin says Western bombing only helps Islamic State

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Held captive by ISIS for 10 months, Nicolas Henin on the best strategy for defeating ISIS 2:05
Listen 23:17
Henin Quoteboard
For 10 months, French correspondent Nicolas Hénin was a prisoner of ISIS in June 2013.
One of his captors was the notorious extremist known as "Jihadi John" and his fellow captive was U.S. reporter James Foley, whose brutal beheading was filmed for Islamic State propaganda. Other fellow captives were also murdered on camera by their ISIS handlers.
Nicolas Hénin gets off the helicopter upon his arrival with three other French journalists taken hostage in Syria in 2013 and freed Apr. 20, 2014, at the Villacoublay air base southwest of Paris. (Kenzo Tribouillard/AFP/Getty Images)
But Nicolas Hénin survived to tell his story, and to share the insights he's gleaned into ISIS. The French journalist joined Anna Maria to share what he thinks is the best strategy for defeating ISIS.
French journalist Nicolas Henin (R), reunites with his family at the Villacoublay air base southwest of Paris, Apr. 20, 2014. Four French journalists, Edouard Elias, Didier Francois, Nicolas Henin and Pierre Torres had been captured in two separate incidents in June 2013 while covering the conflict in Syria. (Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images)
Nicolas Hénin's book is called Jihad Academy: A Former ISIS Hostage and Veteran Middle East Journalist Explores Misperceptions of Islamic State and Their Consequences. 

This segment was produced by The Current's Howard Goldenthal.

♦ Nicolas Hénin: I was held hostage by Isis. They fear our unity more than our airstrikes
♦ Why Are Russian Engineers Working at an Islamic State-Controlled Gas Plant in Syria?

Monday February 22, 2016

Re-engagement with Russia a dangerous proposition, says anti-Putin activist

Anti-Putin activist Bill Browder cautions Putin will laugh at Canada's efforts to influence Russia through re-engagement.
Anti-Putin activist Bill Browder cautions Putin will laugh at Canada's efforts to influence Russia through re-engagement. (Ivan Sekretarev/AFP/Getty Images)
Listen 27:20
At the 2014 G20 Summit, then prime minister Stephen Harper famously avoided Vladimir Putin completely, except for a tense handshake and a gritted message for the Russian leader to quote "get out of Ukraine."
Foreign Pariahs List 20140629
Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper walks past Russian President Vladimir Putin at the G20 Summit, Sept.5, 2013, in St. Petersburg, Russia. (Adrian Wyld/The Canadian Press)
Now, the Minister of Foreign Affairs Stephane Dion wants to thaw the relationship and start talking again. And Russia's ambassador to Canada, appears to welcome the new tone too.
"We need to restore true dialogue between Russia and Canada. We need to go back to the common sense as opposed to name calling and brinksmanship statements that we so often heard before October elections" -  Russia's ambassador to Canada, Alexander Darchiev on CBC, Jan. 2016
While some degree of re-engagement with Russia would definitely seem to be on the way, there remains questions about just how cordial relations should be.
Russia Re-engagement Quoteboard
Guests in this segment:
  • Bill Browder, anti-Putin activist, CEO of Hermitage Capital Management, and author of Red Notice.
  • Jeremy Kinsman, formerly Canada's ambassador to the Russian Federation from 1992 to 1996.
The Current did request an interview with Foreign Affairs Minister Stephane Dion, as well as Russia's ambassador to Canada, Alexander Darchiev. Neither was available.

This segment was produced by The Current's Karin Marley.

♦ All parties signal support for Magnitsky law to sanction Russian officials
♦ Bill Browder: When Russia's money runs out, the 'real trouble starts'

Monday February 22, 2016

Canadian weapons may have fallen into hands of Yemen rebels

Experts have concluded this weapon held by a suspected Houthi figher in Yemen is likely the Canadian-made LRT-3 sniper rifle manufactured in Winnipeg.
Experts have concluded this weapon held by a suspected Houthi figher in Yemen is likely the Canadian-made LRT-3 sniper rifle manufactured in Winnipeg. (Twitter)
Listen 17:19
The civil war in the small, Middle East country of Yemen is already the cause of a humanitarian catastrophe. It's a bewilderingly complex conflict that's drawn in the militaries of virtually every state in the region.
And now, it seems, it has drawn in Canada too.
A Yemeni boy checks the damage following a mortar shell attack on the southern city of Taez, Feb. 3, 2016, as clashes between fighters from the Popular Resistance Committees, loyal to Yemen's fugitive president and Shiite Huthi rebels continue. (Ahmad Al-Basha/AFP/Getty Images)
Canadian-made rifles have shown up in the hands of the Houthi rebels, as they take on the pro-government forces there.  Experts believe the riles, among them an LRT-3 sniper rifle, are made by a Winnipeg-based company, PGW Defence Technologies. And they were first spotted in photos and videos emerging from the area.
"There is an obligation on the part of the Canadian government, once they authorize arms transfers, to make sure that they don't get diverted into the wrong hands." - Ken Epps, former policy advisor on the Arms Trade Treaty at Project Ploughshares
The most likely explanation is that they were exported legally to Saudi Arabia. And their appearance in Yemen raises new concerns about Canadian arms companies doing business with the kingdom.
CBC's Nahlah Ayed brings us the story.

This segment was produced by The Current's Lara O'Brien.