Jackie Northam

Jackie Northam is Foreign Affairs correspondent for NPR news. The veteran journalist has more than two decades of experience covering the world's hot spots and reporting on a broad tapestry of international and foreign policy issues.

Based in Washington, D.C., Northam is assigned to the leading stories of the day, traveling regularly overseas to report the news - from Afghanistan and Pakistan, to earthquake-ravaged Haiti.

Northam just completed a five year stint as NPR's National Security Correspondent, covering US defense and intelligence policies. She led the network's coverage of the US military prison at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, traveling regularly to the controversial base to report on conditions there, and on US efforts to prosecute detainees.

Northam spent more than a decade as a foreign correspondent. She reported from Beirut during the war between Hezbollah and Israel in 2006, from Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, and from Saudi Arabia during the first Gulf War. She lived in and reported extensively from Southeast Asia, Indochina, and Eastern Europe, where she charted the fall of communism.

While based in Nairobi, Kenya, Northam covered the 1994 genocide in Rwanda. She managed to enter the country just days after the slaughter of ethnic Tutsis began by hitching a ride with a French priest who was helping Rwandans escape to neighboring Burundi.

A native of Canada, Northam's first overseas reporting post was London, where she spent seven years covering stories on Margaret Thatcher's Britain and efforts to create the European Union.

Northam has received multiple journalism awards during her career, including Associated Press awards, regional Edward R. Murrow awards, and was part of an NPR team journalists that won an Alfred I. duPont-Columbia University Award.

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Dead Stop
1:27 am
Tue August 28, 2012

On Remote Island, The Dead Are Buried Far And Wide

Tiny Grindstone Island has only one official cemetery.
Jackie Northam NPR

Originally published on Tue August 28, 2012 6:38 pm

Grindstone Island's lone public dock is just three miles north of the U.S. mainland, a straight shot by powerboat across the St. Lawrence River from Clayton, N.Y. Part of the Thousand Islands, Grindstone Island sits in a waterway shared by the U.S. and Canada.

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Asia
1:18 am
Wed August 8, 2012

Japan's Nuclear Debate Weighs Safety, Economics

Anti-nuclear protesters carry "No nukes" banners during a march in Tokyo last month. Protests against Japan's use of nuclear power have grown in the aftermath of the March 2011 Fukushima disaster.
Koji Sasahara AP

Originally published on Fri August 10, 2012 1:28 pm

At 6 p.m. every Friday — with the kind of precision timing the Japanese live by — the protests in downtown Tokyo begin.

Thousands of Japanese — young, old, in wheelchairs and on skateboards — shout anti-nuclear slogans from behind police barricades that snake around the office of Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda. Over the past four months, the protests have swelled; at least 75,000 people turned out at a recent demonstration.

Nobuyuki Miyazaki, an office worker, says this is the first time he's ever been to a demonstration.

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Middle East
2:57 pm
Thu July 19, 2012

Russia, China Block Another U.N. Resolution On Syria

Originally published on Thu July 19, 2012 4:38 pm

Transcript

JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: I'm Jackie Northam in Washington. Today at the U.N., Russia and China vetoed a Western-backed draft resolution that warned of sanctions against the Syrian regime unless it complies with a peace plan.

This is the third time those two countries have used their veto power to block a resolution on Syria. Britain's U.N. ambassador, Mark Lyall Grant, called the decision by Russia and China appalling, and said it would lead to further bloodshed in Syria.

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Middle East
5:58 am
Sat June 23, 2012

Syrian Conflict A Haunting Reminder Of Bosnia

Originally published on Sat June 23, 2012 9:07 am

Transcript

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

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National Security
9:54 am
Wed June 13, 2012

Once Private, US Now Publicly Criticizes Pakistan

U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, shown speaking in India last week, said the U.S. was "reaching the limits of [its] patience" with Pakistan. He is one of several U.S. officials to deliver sharp public criticism of Pakistan recently.
Jim Watson AP

Originally published on Wed June 13, 2012 12:41 pm

How bad are U.S. relations with Pakistan?

Even as ties grew strained over the past few years, U.S. government and military officials generally used diplomatic language when talking about differences with Pakistan. But nowadays the Americans aren't even bothering to disguise their displeasure with their longtime ally.

Several recent events have shown just how blunt the Americans have become.

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National Security
12:58 am
Tue June 12, 2012

As Drone Strikes Grow, So Do Concerns Over Use

An unmanned U.S. Predator drone flies over Kandahar Air Field in southern Afghanistan on Jan. 31, 2010. Drones have become the U.S. weapon of choice in the fight against terrorism. But as the technology of this new form of warfare improves, so do concerns about how others will use it in the future.
Kirsty Wigglesworth AP

Originally published on Tue June 12, 2012 8:28 am

Without question, drones have become the U.S. weapon of choice in the fight against terrorism. Counterterrorism officials say they've come to rely on the pilotless aircraft for their surveillance capability and what officials say is precision targeting. That reliance has led to greater use in the past couple of years, especially in Pakistan and Yemen.

John Bellinger, a State Department legal adviser during the George W. Bush administration, says there are increasing concerns about the frequency of drone attacks.

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World
2:50 pm
Tue June 5, 2012

On Pakistan's 'Sesame Street,' Everything's Not A-OK

Baily the donkey (right) and Munna, characters from the Pakistani version of Sesame Street, perform at the launch ceremony for the show, Sim Sim Hamara, at Rafi Peer Theater Workshop in Lahore, Nov. 26, 2011.
Mohsin Raza Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Tue June 5, 2012 5:53 pm

The U.S. is withdrawing millions of dollars in funding for the Pakistani version of Sesame Street. Officials say the decision stems from serious allegations of fraud directed at the Pakistani theater company that's producing the children's TV program.

Sim Sim Hamara, the Pakistani version of Sesame Street, is set in a mock-up of a typical Pakistani town. There's a school, the ubiquitous Banyan tree, a restaurant and a colorful cast of characters centered on a 6-year-old girl named Rani who loves the sport of cricket.

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Election 2012
3:26 am
Mon June 4, 2012

Analysts Try To Define Romney's Foreign Policy

Originally published on Mon June 4, 2012 9:10 am

Transcript

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

Now, one way Mitt Romney has challenged President Obama is by going after his foreign policy record. Romney has been especially critical of the president's handling of Iran and Syria. But those attacks aside, some analysts say it's been hard to define where Romney stands on key international issues and whether he differs all that much from the president.

Here's NPR's Jackie Northam.

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Afghanistan
6:39 am
Sun May 20, 2012

NATO Buzzword: 'Sustainment' In Afghanistan

Transcript

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

This is WEEKEND EDITION from NPR News. I'm Rachel Martin. World leaders are gathered in Chicago for a two-day NATO summit, which starts this morning. The summit agenda centers on Afghanistan, specifically figuring out how to meet a 2014 withdrawal deadline while shoring up Afghanistan's security forces. We'll hear a view from the White House in a moment. But we begin with this report from NPR's Jackie Northam in Chicago.

(SOUNDBITE OF PEOPLE CHANTING)

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Europe
1:14 am
Thu May 17, 2012

Not Your Cold War NATO: Alliance To Examine Itself

A NATO soldier aims his weapon during a gun battle in Kabul, Afghanistan, in April. NATO is holding a summit in Chicago this weekend, and discussing the future of the alliance is on the agenda.
Musadeq Sadeq AP

Originally published on Thu May 17, 2012 7:28 am

This weekend, about 60 heads of state and government, and thousands of others will descend on Chicago to attend a NATO summit. The gathering will focus on the alliance's involvement in Afghanistan — and ensuring a long-term commitment to the country.

But the meeting comes at a time of tension within NATO. Discussions will also include the future of NATO itself, and whether it can overcome its shortfalls.

Unilateral Action In Libya

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Middle East
3:04 am
Wed May 9, 2012

Annan Gives Bleak Assessment Of Syrian Ceasefire

Special envoy Kofi Annan says unacceptable levels of violence and abuse are continuing in Syria. He said military activities have declined somewhat but the level of violence is still too high. Annan warned about the devastating repercussions if the fragile peace plan failed.

Asia
1:30 am
Mon April 30, 2012

Trade, Security On Agenda For Obama, Japan's Noda

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda speaks during a reception at the Japanese Embassy in Washington on Sunday. Noda meets with President Obama at the White House on Monday.
Nicholas Kamm AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon April 30, 2012 8:09 am

President Obama and Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda are meeting at the White House on Monday — the first such meeting between U.S. and Japanese leaders in three years.

Political turmoil in Japan has led to a constant turnover in leadership: There have been six prime ministers in as many years.

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Asia
2:45 am
Thu April 26, 2012

U.S. Considers Ways To Keep Drones In Pakistan

Originally published on Thu April 26, 2012 7:21 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION, from NPR News. Good morning. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep.

Let's follow up on the controversy over the American use of drones in Pakistan. Over the past few years, no issue has done quite as much to inflame public sentiment and stir anti-American feelings in Pakistan as drone strikes.

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Business
12:32 am
Tue April 17, 2012

World Bank Names Obama's Pick As Its New President

Jim Yong Kim, 52, who immigrated from Korea at age five, is currently the president of Dartmouth College. He faced an international campaign challenging his nomination to lead the massive global development bank. Kim's selection continues a decades-long tradition of having a U.S. citizen lead the World Bank.

Asia
3:55 am
Sat April 14, 2012

World Smolders As Smoke Clears Over N. Korea

South Koreans watch a TV showing a graphic of North Korea's rocket launch at a train station in Seoul on Friday.
Jung Yeon-Je AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Sat April 14, 2012 7:32 pm

North Korea's decision to launch a rocket early Friday drew swift and widespread condemnation by the international community. The White House suspended a shipment of 240,000 tons of food aid to North Korea, and the U.N. Security Council, which quickly met, called the launch deplorable and said it violated two council resolutions.

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Middle East
5:53 pm
Thu April 5, 2012

Muslim Brotherhood Attempts To Charm U.S. Skeptics

Khairat el-Shater, a leader of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood, leaves the election committee headquarters in Cairo on Thursday after registering for the presidential election next month. A delegation from the Brotherhood is currently visiting Washington to talk about the group's plans for Egypt's future.
Mohammed Hossam AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu April 5, 2012 10:01 pm

The political ascent of Egypt's Muslim Brotherhood has created some unease in Washington, and in an attempt to counter that, the group dispatched a delegation to the U.S. capital this week for meetings that range from administration officials to think tanks and universities.

The Brotherhood has rapidly evolved into a powerful political force since former Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak was ousted from power in February of last year.

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Afghanistan
11:55 am
Thu March 15, 2012

U.S., Pakistan At Impasse Over Afghan Supply Routes

Oil tankers sit at a NATO supply terminal in the southern Pakistani port city of Karachi on Feb. 9. In November, Pakistan's government shut down the main routes for bringing supplies to U.S. and NATO troops in Afghanistan.
Masroor Xinhua/Landov

Originally published on Thu March 15, 2012 3:59 pm

Nearly four months after Pakistan closed the main supply lines for U.S. and NATO forces in Afghanistan, the shutdown is creating hardship for Pakistani truckers and is forcing the U.S. to turn to costly and less-efficient alternatives.

The Pakistani move came after an errant U.S. airstrike left 24 Pakistani soldiers dead along the Afghan frontier back in November.

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Europe
5:26 pm
Wed February 1, 2012

The Mood Shifts For Russia's Putin In His Hometown

With the Russian presidential election set for next month, the heavily favored candidate, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, visited the election center last week as it prepared for the polls.
Yana Lapikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue February 7, 2012 5:53 am

Even in the dead of winter, the Russian city of St. Petersburg, with its church spires, palaces and waterways, is one of the world's truly beautiful cities. It was here that the Russian revolution began, and it's here where Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and President Dmitry Medvedev cut their teeth politically.

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Europe
9:50 am
Wed February 1, 2012

Russian Communists Court Discontented Youth

Communist Party activists in Moscow campaign on Dec. 2 for the party's candidates in parliamentary elections. The Russian Communist Party is hoping to capitalize on a wave of dissatisfaction with Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and his ruling United Russia party.
Natalia Kolesnikova AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Fri February 3, 2012 4:54 pm

A snazzy new Communist Party poster shows two young, tech-savvy and attractive Russians. Both are smiling and dressed in red: The woman holds a red iPhone; the man holds a red laptop, his T-shirt emblazoned with a hammer and sickle.

The slogan: "For the victory of the majority."

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World
10:01 pm
Sun January 22, 2012

Unrest Shakes Up Politics In Russia

Tens of thousands of people filled an avenue in Moscow on Christmas Eve to protest the alleged rigging of the Dec. 4 parliamentary polls in a challenge to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin's authority.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon January 23, 2012 7:25 am

On a recent cold, gray day in Moscow, several dozen reporters and photographers milled about restlessly on the main floor of the Central Election Commission of Russia.

The person they were waiting to see was supposed to be there at 10 a.m. Nearly six hours later, Mikhail Prokhorov, appeared at the front door and smiled for the cameras.

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Europe
1:15 pm
Fri January 13, 2012

Russian Activists Turn To Social Media

Relying on social media, Russian activists are attempting to organize more mass rallies against the Russian government. Here, protesters staged a huge rally in Moscow on Dec. 24, 2011, alleging vote rigging in parliamentary polls.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Fri January 13, 2012 6:55 pm

Russia's largest anti-government demonstrations since the Soviet breakup of 1991 are being organized and driven by a force that didn't exist two decades ago — social media.

In recent years, protests have been relatively rare, and Russians who got their news from state-run television essentially saw one narrative — one that relentlessly extolled the virtues of the country's leaders, particularly Vladimir Putin.

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Iraq
2:26 pm
Mon December 12, 2011

Obama, Maliki Pledge Cooperation After U.S. Pullout

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki shakes hands with President Obama in the Oval Office at the White House on Monday. The two leaders met as the U.S. prepares to withdraw the last of its combat troops from Iraq.
Chip Somodevilla Getty Images

President Obama and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki met at the White House on Monday and pledged to maintain strong ties after the U.S. withdraws the last of its troops, but nagging concerns remain about Iraq's security and neighboring Iran.

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Afghanistan
2:52 pm
Mon December 5, 2011

Afghan President Pleads For Long-Term Aid

Afghan President Hamid Karzai calls Monday on the international community to keep up its support for Afghanistan. More than 100 countries attended the conference in Bonn, Germany.
Oliver Berg AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon December 5, 2011 5:22 pm

A decade ago, shortly after the Taliban had been driven out of Afghanistan's capital, Kabul, the international community gathered in Bonn, Germany, to talk about rebuilding Afghanistan.

On Monday, more than 100 countries again gathered in Bonn, this time to see how they could maintain support for Afghanistan after the U.S. and NATO wind down their combat operations in three years.

Afghanistan's president, Hamid Karzai, said he was grateful for all the help his country has received, and he appealed to the international community to keep it up.

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Afghanistan
2:00 am
Mon December 5, 2011

Diplomats Meet In Germany On Afghanistan's Future

A big international conference is being held in Bonn, Germany, on Monday to help draw up a roadmap for Afghanistan after combat operations there cease at the end of 2014. But Pakistan — a critical player in the Afghanistan conundrum — has said it's boycotting the conference after NATO troops killed 24 Pakistani soldiers during an attack in late November.

Middle East
1:45 pm
Tue November 29, 2011

Report Says Syrian Forces Have Killed 256 Children

Syrian has come under increasing international pressure in recent days. On Monday, Syrians protested in the capital Damascus against the Arab League's decision to impose sanctions. Syria has also come under sharp criticism from an independent commission that accused the security forces of systematically carrying out abuses against anti-government demonstrators.
Yin Bogu Xinhua /Landov

An independent commission has released a blistering human rights report that says Syria's security forces have carried out widespread abuses against protesters, including murder and torture.

The commission, appointed by the U.N.'s Human Rights Council, based its report on interviews with more than 220 witnesses or victims of abuse by Syrian security forces. The panel says it collected a solid body of evidence and identified patterns of human rights violations.

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Asia
10:01 pm
Tue November 22, 2011

Memo Costs Pakistan's Envoy His Job

Pakistan's ambassador to the U.S. has resigned amid a brewing scandal involving his country's civilian leadership and its powerful military.

Hussain Haqqani, a well-regarded ambassador for more than three years, is alleged to have been involved in writing a memo that asked the U.S. to prevent a military coup in Pakistan, something he denies. This latest crisis will do little to calm an already-turbulent relationship between Pakistan and the U.S.

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World
4:10 am
Sun November 20, 2011

New U.S. Strategy On Afghanistan Hinges On Pakistan

Pakistani protesters shout slogans during a protest in Multan on Oct. 14 against U.S. drone attacks in Pakistani tribal areas. Officials said U.S. drone strikes on Oct. 13 killed 10 militants, including a senior commander in the Haqqani network. Drone attacks are one way the U.S. hopes to squeeze the Haqqani militants.
AFP/Getty Images

As the drawdown of American combat troops in Afghanistan nears, the U.S. is facing an increasingly dangerous opponent. The Pakistan-based Haqqani network, allied with the Taliban, is believed to be behind a recent string of deadly attacks in Afghanistan, and it's forcing the U.S. to rethink an earlier strategy for stabilizing the country.

But the strategy hinges on help and cooperation from Pakistan — which is never a sure thing.

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Asia
10:01 pm
Wed November 16, 2011

Asia In Focus As U.S Expands Australia Defense Ties

Australian Prime Minister Julia Gillard and President Obama hold a joint news conference in Australia on Wednesday. The U.S. is sending some 250 U.S. Marines to the country next year, a number that will later grow to 2,500.
Saul Loeb AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu November 17, 2011 10:40 am

President Obama traveled early Thursday to the Australian city of Darwin, a base for past U.S.-Australian military cooperation. Now it will be one of several military bases from which the U.S. operates as it seeks to reassert itself in Asia.

Some 250 U.S. Marines will arrive in northern Australia next year, a number that will later expand to about 2,500. U.S. jets and warships will also train with the Australians.

Abraham Denmark, a China specialist at the Center for Naval Analyses, sees the new focus on Asia as a natural evolution of U.S. interests.

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