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.

Pages

Parallels
3:12 am
Sat December 13, 2014

Oil Prices Go Down, Russia's Gold Buying Goes Up

An employee displays a gold bar at a gold refining workshop of the plant of Uralelektromed Joint Stock Company (JSC), the enterprise of Ural Mining and Metallurgical company (UMMC) in the town of Verkhnyaya Pyshma, outside Yekaterinburg, Oct. 17.
Maxim Shemetov Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Sun December 14, 2014 4:39 pm

It's been a rough ride for the Russian economy and it keeps getting worse. Low oil prices helped push the ruble to another record low on Friday. This spate of bad economic news is probably just accelerating an existing trend: Russia's purchase of gold at an astounding rate.

Russia's central bank bought more than 130 tons of gold this year. Last year, it bought about 75 tons. Bob Haberkorn, senior market strategist at the brokerage firm, RJ O'Brien, says Russia has shifted even more assets into gold because it has had a particularly bad year.

Read more
Parallels
10:24 pm
Thu December 4, 2014

For World's Oil Exporters, Falling Prices Have A Domino Effect

A sculpture of oil workers in Caracas, Venezuela. The country is heavily dependent on oil exports, and falling oil prices have had a ripple effect on the country's already troubled economy.
Ariana Cubillos AP

Originally published on Fri December 5, 2014 8:07 am

Imagine you're sitting back one evening, planning your holiday shopping list, knowing that every day you wait to get to the shops, the value of your money will be losing ground.

That's what's happening in places like Russia, Venezuela, Nigeria and other nations that rely heavily on oil exports.

Oil was more than $100 a barrel at the start of the summer. Now it's around $70 a barrel, and many forecasts say it could go lower still.

Read more
Parallels
9:29 am
Tue October 28, 2014

Why Does Saudi Arabia Seem So Comfortable With Falling Oil Prices?

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry speaks with Saudi King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz al-Saud as the Saudi ambassador to the United States, Adel al-Jubeir, listens before a meeting at the Royal Palace in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 11.
Brendan Smialowski AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue October 28, 2014 1:30 pm

Oil prices continue to tumble: down about 25 percent since mid-June to a four-year low, and many analysts believe there is no end in sight.

While that's good for consumers and most businesses in the U.S., the falling price is bad for oil-exporting countries such as Russia, Venezuela, Iran and Iraq.

And blame — or credit — for the plummeting prices is falling squarely on Saudi Arabia.

Read more
World
12:10 pm
Sat October 25, 2014

After Shootings, Canada Takes Steps To Balance Security With Tradition

Originally published on Sat October 25, 2014 1:54 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARUN RATH, HOST:

Read more
Goats and Soda
1:00 pm
Thu October 9, 2014

Three Forlorn Presidents Bring Ebola Wish List To The World Bank

Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf visited West Point in August, when the impoverished neighborhood was quarantined to prevent the spread of Ebola.
Tommy Trenchard for NPR

Originally published on Thu October 9, 2014 1:28 pm

The Ebola outbreak in West Africa is a "tragedy not seen in modern times," said Sierra Leone's president Ernest Bai Koroma.

At the annual meeting of the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank on Thursday, Koroma and the presidents of Guinea and Liberia are pleading with the international community for help battling the Ebola epidemic. In the three hardest-hit countries, the virus has already killed nearly 4,000 people.

Read more
Global Health
1:23 am
Tue October 7, 2014

Ebola Protective Suits Are In Short Supply

Originally published on Tue October 7, 2014 2:34 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

We're hearing a lot in today's program about the people who care for patients with Ebola. There is a shortage of suits to protect them.

RACHEL MARTIN, HOST:

Read more
Goats and Soda
12:29 am
Tue September 23, 2014

Ebola's Toll: Farmers Aren't Farming, Traders Aren't Trading

Originally published on Tue September 23, 2014 8:20 am

The Ebola outbreak is having a devastating effect on the economies of Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea, crippling major industries and forcing people out of work.

The three nations hardest hit by the virus are among the poorest on the African continent. Combined, their GDP is less than 3 percent of Nigeria's, the regional economic powerhouse.

Read more
Parallels
8:22 am
Fri August 29, 2014

With Homegrown Technology, Israel Becomes Leading Arms Exporter

An Israeli soldier launches a drone that's attached to a military vehicle in southern Israel, not far from the border with the Gaza Strip, on July 29. Israel was a pioneer with drones and has developed a number of military technologies that it later sells abroad.
Jim Hollander EPA/Landov

Originally published on Fri August 29, 2014 3:40 pm

One byproduct of the recurring battles between Israel and its Arab neighbors is that Israel has developed a homegrown weapons industry that addresses its very specific needs.

Over the decades, this has included a number of cutting-edge technologies, from drones to night-vision equipment, which have been widely exported.

A more recent example is the Iron Dome, which was used throughout the latest conflict with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. The mobile missile defense system is capable of stopping short-range rockets from places like Gaza, the West Bank and southern Lebanon.

Read more
Parallels
11:13 am
Wed August 20, 2014

Gaza Violence Tests Once-Unshakable Allies U.S. And Israel

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry shakes hands with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Tel Aviv on July 23. While the two countries are close allies, they have exchanged criticism during the recent Israel-Hamas fighting in Gaza.
Pool AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Thu August 21, 2014 8:07 am

Relations between Israel and the United States are going through a turbulent time. The two sides — normally seen as unshakable allies — have increasingly taken to trading barbs and accusations about the other's policies and decisions, breaking diplomatic protocol.

The occasional frictions of the past few years have been exacerbated by the war in the Gaza Strip.

Read more
Parallels
11:42 pm
Sun August 17, 2014

Hamas Conflict Could Have Lingering Impact On Israel's Economy

An Israeli Merkava tank drives past a field of sunflowers along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip as it moves out of the Gaza Strip on Aug. 3.
Gil Cohen Magen AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Mon August 18, 2014 5:51 am

Itay Maoz climbs into his dusty SUV and presses a series of buttons on his cellphone, which opens an electronic gate surrounding the Nahal Oz Kibbutz. From here, in the far south of Israel, you can see across the border into Gaza and the remains of buildings pulverized by Israeli missiles.

This 2,500-acre collective farm was on the front line during the war between Israel and Hamas, and it sustained millions of dollars worth of damage. Maoz points at a patch of hard earth, gouged with deep tracks, leading toward Gaza.

Read more
Middle East
2:47 am
Sun August 10, 2014

Negotiations In Tatters As Gaza Clashes Continue

Originally published on Sun August 10, 2014 6:54 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Parallels
12:13 pm
Sat August 9, 2014

Fear Of Tunnels, Not Rockets, Rattles Israeli Community

An Israeli soldier stands inside an underground tunnel built by Hamas militants leading from the Gaza Strip into Southern Israel. Israel says it has destroyed 32 similar tunnels so far in the nearly monthlong conflict.
Ilia Yefimovich Getty Images

Originally published on Sat August 9, 2014 12:14 pm

In the ongoing war with Hamas, Israel says it is looking for new technology to help detect and destroy tunnels used by Islamist militants.

Israel says 32 tunnels have been demolished so far in the conflict, but there are concerns others remain. In the town of Netiv Ha'asara, along the border with Gaza, the discovery of one tunnel is forcing residents to question whether to remain.

Read more
Middle East
1:05 am
Fri August 8, 2014

Following 3-Day Truce, Rocket Fire Resumes In Gaza

Originally published on Fri August 8, 2014 6:15 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STVE INSKEEP, HOST:

Wow, Israel and Hamas's three-day cease-fire is over. Moments after it expired, a barrage of rockets left Gaza for Israel, and Israel fired back. NPR's Jackie Northam is in Jerusalem. She's covering the story. Hi, Jackie.

Read more
U.S.
11:09 am
Tue July 29, 2014

White House Widens Scope Of Russian Sanctions To Finance And Defense

Originally published on Tue July 29, 2014 2:31 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ARI SHAPIRO, HOST:

Read more
News
11:15 am
Thu July 24, 2014

Central American Leaders: Immigrant Children Are A Shared Problem

Originally published on Thu July 24, 2014 1:22 pm

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Read more
Europe
11:45 pm
Mon July 21, 2014

Despite Growing Anger, EU Nations May Balk At Russian Sanctions

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 8:13 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

A train arrived in Ukraine's second-largest city. Its cargo was the remains of hundreds of people. They were killed when a Malaysian passenger jet was shot down last week.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

And the movement of the remains is considered a step forward. Until today pro-Russian separatists had prevented the train from leaving the area near the crash. Now the remains will be taken to the Netherlands for identification.

Read more
Parallels
10:32 pm
Mon July 14, 2014

Kurds May Have Oil To Export, But Buyers Are Harder To Find

A tanker carrying crude oil from Iraq's Kurdish region anchors near Ashkelon, Israel. It's believed the oil has been off-loaded into Israel. The U.S. and Baghdad oppose the Kurdish export of oil from the autonomous northern region.
David Buimovitch AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 4:14 am

Kurdish security forces, the peshmerga, have taken over two major oil fields near Kirkuk, in northern Iraq. The fields have the potential to put billions of dollars into the coffers of the Kurdish regional government.

But there's a hitch: Even if the Kurdish government has control of the oil, it doesn't necessarily mean it can export it — thanks to the Baghdad government and the U.S.

Read more
Europe
11:02 am
Thu July 10, 2014

Amid Eroding Trust, Germany Expels America's Top Spy In Berlin

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 2:04 pm

Transcript

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

Germany has told the chief U.S. intelligence officer in Berlin to leave the country. A dramatic turn of events comes after reports that two German government employees are suspected of spying for the U.S. NPR's Jackie Northam has been following this story and she joins me in the studio. Jackie, the announcement about the expulsion of the top American spy in Germany was made by the Chancellor Angela Merkel's spokesman. Did he explain it?

Read more
Parallels
10:14 pm
Wed July 2, 2014

For Once, The U.S., Russia And Iran Actually Agree On Something

Iraqi policemen take up positions on a bridge north of Baghdad on Monday. There's a consensus among Western and Middle Eastern states that militants from the Islamic State pose a serious threat to the region. But there's no sign yet that countries like the United States, Russia and Iran are prepared to work together.
Ahmed Saad Reuters/Landov

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 9:05 am

The ferocious charge across much of Iraq by militants now calling themselves the Islamic State has created something almost unheard of in the highly divisive Middle East: international consensus.

The U.S. and its allies, as well as some American rivals, including Russia and Iran, are all opposed to the Sunni group formerly known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, noted Rachel Bronson, a Mideast expert with the Chicago Council on Global Affairs.

Read more
Iraq
1:41 am
Tue June 24, 2014

Kerry's Iraq Mission Takes Him To Kurdistan

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 5:10 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Iraq
11:07 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Kerry Lands In Badhdad, Bearing Warnings For Iraqi Leaders

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 3:07 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

Read more
Iraq
1:12 am
Mon June 23, 2014

Kerry In Iraq To Pressure Al-Maliki To Reach Across Sectarian Lines

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:11 am

Copyright 2014 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Read more
Iraq
4:38 am
Sun June 15, 2014

Militants' Advance In Iraq Agitates Oil Markets

Cars pack a Kurdish checkpoint as residents flee Mosul in northern Iraq. The city was overrun by Islamic militants last week.
Dan Kitwood Getty Images

Originally published on Sun June 15, 2014 6:38 am

When Sunni militants began seizing broad swathes of territory across northern Iraq last week, global oil markets shrugged it off. After all, instability in Iraq is nothing new.

But that all changed on Wednesday, when the insurgents swept into the oil refinery town of Baiji, says Robert McNally, president of the Rapidan Group, an energy consulting firm. The price of oil climbed nearly 4 percent in just a few short days.

Read more
Energy
12:32 am
Thu May 29, 2014

Russia-China Natural Gas Deal Likely To Reshape Energy Markets

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 2:33 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

It's MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Steve Inskeep in New York.

DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And I'm David Greene in Washington. Good morning. Let's look now at the shifting balance of power in East Asia. In a moment, we'll hear President Obama's view of a rising China. First we'll report on the implications of China's latest energy deal. China signed an agreement to buy Russian natural gas sent through a pipeline in Siberia. This deal has far-reaching implications as we hear from NPR's Jackie Northam.

Read more
Economy
12:05 am
Thu May 22, 2014

Russian Economic Forum Boycotted Over Ukraine Crisis

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 4:18 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

This is MORNING EDITION from NPR News. I'm Renee Montagne.

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

And I'm Steve Inskeep. Each spring Russian president Vladimir Putin welcomes international business and political leaders to an economic forum in St. Petersburg. It started today and Putin told those who arrived that Russia is ready to do business, although it expects to be treated as an equal.

Read more
Parallels
11:01 am
Wed May 14, 2014

Russia's Energy Giant Turns Up The Heat On Ukraine

A monument to Ukrainian writer Taras Shevchenko is silhouetted against a sign advertising Russia's natural gas giant Gazprom in Moscow. Gazprom has dramatically increased the price it charges Ukraine in recent months.
Alexander Zemlianichenko AP

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 2:59 pm

If Russia was aiming to target one of Ukraine's vulnerabilities, natural gas would be the bull's-eye. Ukraine gets about 60 percent of its gas from Russia.

Clifford Gaddy, a Russia specialist at the Brookings Institution, says as the dispute between the two countries grows, Moscow is more willing to use natural gas as a weapon.

Read more
Parallels
10:06 pm
Mon May 12, 2014

The Global Economy: A World Of Acronyms

Shoppers gaze at a jewelry store display window in the Turkish capital Ankara on Feb. 19. Some economists have coined the term MINT to include the up-and-coming emerging markets of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. But Turkey has been hit by street protests, and others in the group have had their share of recent turbulence.
Adem Altan AFP/Getty Images

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 6:42 am

The world of finance gave birth in 2001 to a new buzzword: BRIC. The word is an acronym for Brazil, Russia, India and China. Jim O'Neill, an economist with Goldman Sachs who's been credited with coining the term, saw those four countries as turbo-charged engines among emerging markets, ones that would give Western economies a run for their money.

O'Neill says when he dreamed up the acronym 13 years ago, people didn't really focus on the potential importance of some of these countries.

Read more
Law
9:17 pm
Wed May 7, 2014

Legendary D.C. Law Firm To Pay Chevron In Ecuador Pollution Case

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 4:04 am

A long-running legal battle between a legendary Washington law and lobbying firm and a major oil company has been settled.

D.C.-based Patton Boggs has agreed to pay Chevron $15 million to settle a case that centers on pollution from drilling activity in the rainforests of Ecuador.

The case has gone on for more than four years, and the stakes were enormous for the two powerhouses.

Read more
Europe
11:24 am
Wed April 16, 2014

Entering Talks In Geneva, U.S. Hopes For A Ukraine Breakthrough

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 3:20 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

From NPR News, this is ALL THINGS CONSIDERED. I'm Audie Cornish.

ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST:

And I'm Robert Siegel.

Tomorrow, Secretary of State John Kerry is due to meet in Geneva with his counterparts from Russia, Ukraine and the European Union. It's hoped the multilateral talks will produce a diplomatic breakthrough on the crisis in Ukraine. Analysts say that without that, the U.S. and its Western allies have few other options for dealing with Russia's aggression there.

NPR's Jackie Northam reports.

Read more
Parallels
10:36 pm
Wed April 9, 2014

A Reporter Reflects On Rwanda: 'It's Like A Madness Took Over'

NPR's Jackie Northam reporting from Rwanda during the country's genocide in 1994.
NPR

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 3:54 am

There was a thin mist in the early morning air when we set off for the Rwandan capital, Kigali, on April 11, 1994. The genocide had begun four days earlier.

There were no flights into the country, so I and three fellow journalists crossed into Rwanda from neighboring Burundi, hitching a ride with a French priest who was shuttling Tutsi nuns out of the country. He took us to the town of Butare, where a Belgian inn keeper rented us an old cream-colored Renault and drew us a map of how to get to Kigali.

Read more

Pages