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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2:45am

Tue July 22, 2014
Europe

Despite Growing Anger, EU Nations May Balk At Russian Sanctions

Originally published on Tue July 22, 2014 6:13 am

Foreign ministers meeting Tuesday in Brussels are threatening deep sanctions against Russia over the Malaysia Airlines crash. But some nations might hesitate because of their economic ties to Russia.

1:32am

Tue July 15, 2014
Parallels

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

Originally published on Tue July 15, 2014 7:14 am

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

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.

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2:02pm

Thu July 10, 2014
Europe

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

Originally published on Thu July 10, 2014 5:04 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?

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1:14am

Thu July 3, 2014
Parallels

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

Originally published on Thu July 3, 2014 12:05 pm

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

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.

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4:41am

Tue June 24, 2014
Iraq

Kerry's Iraq Mission Takes Him To Kurdistan

Originally published on Tue June 24, 2014 8:10 am

Transcript

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

U.S. Secretary of State, John Kerry, is back in Iraq on a week-long mission to try to hold that country together. This morning, he's in Erbil, the capital of the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan in the north. And his job won't be easy. Just yesterday, Kurdistan's president said it might be the time for the region to go its own way. Jackie Northam is with Kerry and joined us from Erbil. Good morning.

JACKIE NORTHAM, BYLINE: Good morning Renee.

MONTAGNE: Now, what exactly did the Kurdish president say?

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2:07pm

Mon June 23, 2014
Iraq

Kerry Lands In Badhdad, Bearing Warnings For Iraqi Leaders

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 6:07 pm

Transcript

AUDIE CORNISH, HOST:

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4:12am

Mon June 23, 2014
Iraq

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

Originally published on Mon June 23, 2014 9:11 am

Transcript

STEVE INSKEEP, HOST:

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

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

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7:38am

Sun June 15, 2014
Iraq

Militants' Advance In Iraq Agitates Oil Markets

Originally published on Sun June 15, 2014 9:38 am

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

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.

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3:32am

Thu May 29, 2014
Energy

Russia-China Natural Gas Deal Likely To Reshape Energy Markets

Originally published on Thu May 29, 2014 5:33 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.

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3:05am

Thu May 22, 2014
Economy

Russian Economic Forum Boycotted Over Ukraine Crisis

Originally published on Thu May 22, 2014 7:18 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.

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2:01pm

Wed May 14, 2014
Parallels

Russia's Energy Giant Turns Up The Heat On Ukraine

Originally published on Wed May 14, 2014 5:59 pm

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

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.

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1:06am

Tue May 13, 2014
Parallels

The Global Economy: A World Of Acronyms

Originally published on Tue May 13, 2014 9:42 am

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

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.

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5:58am

Thu May 8, 2014
Law

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

Originally published on Thu May 8, 2014 7:04 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.

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2:24pm

Wed April 16, 2014
Europe

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

Originally published on Wed April 16, 2014 6:20 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.

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1:36am

Thu April 10, 2014
Parallels

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

Originally published on Thu April 10, 2014 6:54 am

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

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.

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2:15pm

Fri April 4, 2014
Parallels

U.S. Taps New Energy Sources, And Potential Geopolitical Clout

Originally published on Fri April 4, 2014 4:18 pm

Gas and oil extraction using hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is at the heart of the recent U.S. oil and gas boom. Here, an oil field on the Monterey Shale formation in McKittrick, Calif.
David McNew Getty Images

The recent oil and natural gas boom in the U.S. is paying major dividends for Washington's geopolitical clout. Thanks to hydraulic fracturing, the U.S. is awash in domestic energy, which is having a ripple effect globally.

If you want to gauge one effect of this newfound energy wealth, you don't have to look any further than the current crisis between Russia and Ukraine, says Michael Levi, a senior fellow for energy and the environment at the Council on Foreign Relations.

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3:13am

Wed March 26, 2014
Energy

German Chemical Giant BASF Benefits From Cheap U.S. Natural Gas

Originally published on Wed March 26, 2014 5:39 am

Thanks to fracking, there is an abundance of natural gas at about a quarter of the European price. This influx of business may be good for the U.S., but it's cause for concern for European leaders.

1:26pm

Fri March 21, 2014
Parallels

Can Europe Wean Itself Off Russian Gas?

Originally published on Fri March 21, 2014 4:22 pm

The Russian gas giant Gazprom's Adler thermal power plant in Sochi, Russia. Europe gets about one-third of its natural gas from Russia.
Yuri Kadobnov AFP/Getty Images

Many European nations were searching for ways to cut back their reliance on Russian energy long before the crisis in Ukraine flared last month.

In 2006 and 2009, for example, the EU was rattled by the ease with which Moscow cut off gas supplies to Ukraine and other parts of Europe after disputes over cost and supply. The two-week standoff in 2009 left millions in Eastern Europe without heat in the middle of winter.

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1:25am

Fri March 14, 2014
Around the Nation

A Boom In Oil Is A Boon For U.S. Shipbuilding Industry

Originally published on Fri March 14, 2014 2:58 pm

A welder at Aker Philadelphia Shipyard.
Jonathan Blakley NPR

Scott Clapham peers down into a cavernous dry dock at the Aker Philadelphia Shipyard. He points to massive pieces of steel, some covered with a light dusting of snow. When assembled, they will form a 115,000-ton oil tanker.

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2:16pm

Thu March 13, 2014
Economy

The World Bank Gets An Overhaul — And Not Everyone's Happy

Originally published on Thu March 13, 2014 4:35 pm

Jim Yong Kim joined the World Bank as president in 2012.
Michel Euler AP

The World Bank, the largest international development institution, is undergoing a sweeping reorganization, the first of its kind for the bank in nearly a generation.

The bank, based in Washington, has laid out a new set of goals, but they're accompanied by deep budget cuts and the elimination of a whole layer of senior management jobs.

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