Mark Ward is the U.S. State Department's senior adviser on assistance to Syria, and when he heard the Syrian border town of Azaz was overrun by an offshoot of al-Qaida in September, he knew it was time to get creative again.
"You always have to have a plan B in this kind of work," he says.
Ward is based in Turkey. His job is to oversee a growing and unusual U.S. humanitarian assistance program in rebel-held areas in seven provinces across northern Syria.
On South Carolina's steamy Johns Island is a fern-draped, centuries-old live oak that has withstood hurricanes, the creation of the United States and every government shutdown to date.
But conservationists worry that the tree known as the Angel Oak could fall victim to encroaching development. They've got two months to come up with enough money to buy the land where it has stood for more than 400 years.
Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 9:16 am
Happy Friday, fellow political junkies. Of course, it's hard to be happy if you're one of the more than two million federal workers either furloughed or working without pay, or one of the millions of other Americans whose lives are disrupted by official Washington's dysfunction. It's Day Four of the federal government shutdown, 2013 edition. And an end to the disagreement still doesn't seem in the offing.
On that grim note, here are some items of political interest worth mulling over this morning.