February 18 - Chavez Comes Home Under Wraps; Mudslinging Ahead of Iran's June Elections; Syria's Increasingly Sectarian War

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Part 1

We begin and go to Caracas, Venezuela for an update on the return of President Hugo Chavez from Cuba where he underwent a fourth round of cancer surgery. Virginia Lopez, who covers Venezuela and Latin America for the UK Guardian and Sky Television, joins us to discuss the lack of details about the health of Venezuela’s president, who was supposed to be inaugurated last January, and the lack of press access to Chavez’s secret arrival, except for his personal tweets to his 4 million twitter followers. virginia lopez

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Part 2

Then we speak with Nader Hashemi, the Director of the Center for Middle East Studies at the University of Denver. We discuss what can be interpreted from the mudslinging ahead of Iran's June elections coming out of the rival camps of the out-going president and the speaker of Iran’s parliament. Rhetoric so heated that it forced the Supreme Leader to publically rebuke President Ahmadinejad and Speaker Ali Larijani.

nader hashemi

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Part 3

Then finally we examine the latest UN report on Syria that finds the war that has cost 70,000 lives so far, is becoming increasingly sectarian, prompting Carla del Ponte, the UN Human Rights investigator to tell the UN Security Council it is time to refer the issue of war crimes to the International Criminal Court. Joshua Landis, who writes the daily newsletter and blog on Syria “Syria Comment”, joins us to discuss the war within the war between the Sunni extremist Al Nusra militia and the extremist Shiite militia Hezbollah.

josh landis