Larry Kaplow

Larry Kaplow edits the work of NPR's correspondents in the Middle East and helps direct coverage about the region. That has included NPR's work on the Syrian civil war, the Trump administration's reduction in refugee admissions, the Iran nuclear deal, the US-backed fight against ISIS in Syria and Iraq, and the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians.

He has been at NPR since 2013, starting as an overnight news editor. He moved to the International Desk in 2014. He won NPR's Newcomer Award and was part of teams that won an Overseas Press Club Award and an NPR Content Excellence Award.

Prior to joining NPR, Kaplow reported from the Middle East for 12 years. He was the Cox Newspapers' Mideast correspondent from 1997 to 2003, reporting from Jerusalem during the Second Intifada as well as from Egypt, Jordan, Iran, Iraq, and Lebanon. He did reporting stints on the NATO campaign in Kosovo and the toppling of Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

He moved to Baghdad just before the US invasion of Iraq in 2003. He covered the invasion, the fall of the regime and continued reporting from Iraq for Cox Newspapers and eventually Newsweek until late 2009. In 2010, he returned to Iraq to help report an episode of This American Life.

He was part of a team that won the top prize from the Military Reporters and Editors Association for stories about failures in the US system for compensating Iraqi war victims.

He was a freelance reporter in Mexico City from 2011 to 2013. He also reported from Guatemala on the efforts to prosecute soldiers responsible for a massacre in the 1980s.

Before reporting abroad, Kaplow worked at The Palm Beach Post and The Bradenton Herald in Florida, covering courts, schools, and state government. He graduated from Duke University and was in the Peace Corps in Guatemala.

The U.S. marks the opening of its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem with a large ceremony Monday. In physical terms, it's just a move of the ambassador and some staff from Tel Aviv to a large consular building that already exists.

But it carries political significance that's reverberating around an already-tense Middle East: After decades of U.S. policy saying the status of the disputed city should be settled in peace talks between Israelis and Palestinians, the Trump administration is now saying the city is Israel's capital.

President Trump has called it the "one of the worst deals" he has ever seen — but for now, he is keeping the U.S. in the nuclear deal with Iran.

The president decided Friday to continue waiving — that is, easing — some economic sanctions against Iran. That is part of the U.S. commitment in the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Under the deal, Iran allows strict limits on its nuclear program in return for easing of economic sanctions.

President Trump's Iran address creates uncertainty about the long-term survival of the two-year-old nuclear deal. It opens the door to Congress to find ways out of it, even as he threatened — yet again — to use his power as president to break the deal himself.

But for now, the deal stands — with the administration itself acknowledging it's better to have it than to break it.

In 2015, world powers agreed to give Iran relief from some economic sanctions in return for inspections and limits on its nuclear program. Since the nuclear deal — formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action — took effect in January 2016, Iran has allowed inspections and is seeing some economic payoff.

The Syrian civil war could be on the verge of its worst bloodshed yet — the wholesale destruction of the eastern side of Aleppo, one of the country's most important cities.

This is the warning the United Nations envoy, Staffan de Mistura, sounded in desperation this past week about Aleppo. Since the collapse of a ceasefire last month, the Syrian government and its Russian allies have stepped up attacks on the eastern side of the city, which is held by rebels.

The Islamic State's claim of responsibility for a trio of major attacks, including the assault on Paris, has led to a rapid reassessment of the extremist group and its aspirations.

Until a couple of weeks ago, ISIS appeared focused on building its self-declared caliphate, or Islamic empire, in its core areas of Syria and Iraq. But it now says it was behind attacks in France, Egypt and Lebanon that killed nearly 400 people in a two-week span.

Basic questions — like the group's goals or whether it's getting stronger or weaker — are being examined anew.

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