July 17 - Cuba and North Korea's Hidden Ties Exposed; The Reversal of Political Islam in the Middle East; A Victim of Solitary Confinement on the Hunger Strike

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We begin with the very puzzling incident in the Panama Canal where a North Korean freighter was intercepted containing ancient Soviet era weaponry from Cuba, hidden under tons of brown sugar. Roberto Suro, who heads up the Cuba Program at USC’s Annenberg School of Communication and Journalism, joins us to discuss this flashback to the Cold War and whether it could set back fledgling efforts at improving U.S. – Cuban relations. Roberto Suro

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Part 2

Then we get an analysis of how the reversal of political Islam in Egypt is reverberating throughout the Middle East, and the behind-the-scenes struggle between Saudi Arabia and Qatar to shape the future of political Islam to prevent democratic reform infecting their own repressive feudal monarchies. Veteran New York Times Middle East correspondent Youssef Ibrahim joins us to discuss the widespread disappointment and cynicism towards radical Islamic regimes, like Hezbollah and Hamas amongst Arabs, as well the rejections of theocratic intrusion into secular life in Turkey, Tunisia and Eqypt. Youssef Ibrahim

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Part 3

Then finally, as the hunger strike in California’s prisons over solitary confinement enters its tenth day, we speak with Sarah Shourd, who has an article at the ACLU’s website, “The Iranian Government locked me in solitary confinement for 410 days. Today my thoughts are with the hunger strikers”. We discuss her ordeal as a political hostage in Iran and an article in Wednesday’s New York Times by Wilbert Rideau who spent 12 years in solitary confinement. Sarah Shourd