36 posts tagged with Syria and iraq.
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"Then it all went horribly wrong."

Fractured Lands: How the Arab World Came Apart "The geography of this catastrophe is broad and its causes are many, but its consequences — war and uncertainty throughout the world — are familiar to us all. Scott Anderson’s story gives the reader a visceral sense of how it all unfolded, through the eyes of six characters in Egypt, Libya, Syria, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan. Accompanying Anderson’s text are 10 portfolios by the photographer Paolo Pellegrin, drawn from his extensive travels across the region over the last 14 years, as well as a landmark virtual-reality experience that embeds the viewer with the Iraqi fighting forces during the battle to retake Falluja."
posted by lauranesson on Aug 11, 2016 - 10 comments

The Bribe Factory

The Company That Bribed The World - It was the company with jet-set style and dirty hands. From the tiny principality of Monaco, Unaoil reached across the globe to pay multi-million dollar bribes in oil rich states. The beneficiaries? Some of the biggest companies in England, Europe, America and Australia.
posted by unliteral on Mar 30, 2016 - 33 comments

Museum of Lost Objects

A series of ten articles at the BBC News Magazine by Kanishk Tharoor and Maryam Maruf tracing the stories of ten antiquities and cultural sites that have been destroyed or looted in Iraq and Syria: (1) The Winged Bull of Nineveh; (2) The Temple of Bel; (3) Tell of Qarqur; (4) Aleppo’s minaret; (5) The Lion of al-Lat; (6) Mar Elian Monastery; (7) Al-Ma’arri: the unacceptable poet; (8) The Genie of Nimrud; (9) The Armenian Martyrs’ Memorial Church in Deir al-Zour; and (10) Looted Sumerian Seal, Baghdad. [more inside]
posted by misteraitch on Mar 10, 2016 - 14 comments

the Kurds are on the move

The Kurdish key - "Kurds are key to a Middle East solution as they hold the balance of power in Iraq and Syria, as well as being in the midst of an insurrection in Turkey. The US needs the Kurds as much as it needs the Turks in its efforts to defeat Isis." (also btw /r/Kurdistan: Who Exactly Are 'the Kurds'?; End Times for the Caliphate?)
posted by kliuless on Feb 29, 2016 - 10 comments

The Death of the Most Generous Nation on Earth

Sweden's initial humanitarian response, and subsequent withdrawal in the face of the European refugee crisis. (Single link foreign policy article.)
posted by Ned G on Feb 11, 2016 - 84 comments

Ending the new Thirty Years War

Ending the new Thirty Years War "Why the real history of the Peace of Westphalia in 17th-century Europe offers a model for bringing stability to the Middle East."
posted by TheophileEscargot on Jan 27, 2016 - 18 comments

Saudi Arabia Lights Another Fire in the Middle East

Over the weekend, Saudi Arabia executed 47 people of "terrorism-related offenses", including Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Shi'ite cleric who supported protests against the Sunni government. In response, protestors in Tehran set the Saudi embassy on fire, and the Saudi and Bahraini governments cut diplomatic ties to Iran, ejecting Iranian diplomats and closing their embassies in Tehran. The United Arab Emirates recalled their ambassador to Iran as well. [more inside]
posted by Etrigan on Jan 4, 2016 - 58 comments

Nobody ever pays a political price for targeting Iranian Americans

In response to the attacks on Paris and San Bernardino, on Tuesday, the House of Representatives overwhelmingly passed HR 158, a bill that bars Iraqis, Syrians, Sudanese, Iranians, and people who have traveled to those countries from participating in the visa waiver program which allows passport holders from 38 countries to travel without securing a visa. [more inside]
posted by BuddhaInABucket on Dec 10, 2015 - 57 comments

The rise of ISIS and its threat

Counterterrorism "expert" David Kilcullen discusses the rise of ISIS with historian Robert Manne. Kilcullen was a senior adviser to General David Petraeus in 2007 and 2008, when he helped to design and monitor the Iraq War troop "surge".
posted by mattoxic on Nov 17, 2015 - 45 comments

Decoding Daesh

Why is the new name for ISIS so hard to understand? And why it's a really good idea to start exclusively using this new name instead of any of the other ones.
posted by umamiman on Nov 16, 2015 - 98 comments

Tables turning

Putin Bets Big on Aggressive Syria Policy As the UK government denies reports that RAF pilots have been given the green light to shoot down hostile Russian jets in Syria.
Iraq has begun bombing Islamic State insurgents with help from a new intelligence center with staff from Russia, Iran and Syria.
Russia is using electronic warfare to cloak its actions in Syria from Isis and Nato.
What happens if Russia decides to go into Iraq. How to respond to Russia in Syria while avoiding World War Three.
Meanwhile Shiites in Iraq Hailing Putin for Syria Push.
posted by adamvasco on Oct 13, 2015 - 138 comments

Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi, cultural commentator and patron of the arts

In 2011, Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi (Arabic: سلطان سعود القاسمي‎) was lauded for his Twitter stream where he provided English translations of news and events of Arab Spring. A year earlier, the cultural commentator started the Barjeel Art Foundation, serving as a patron and promoter for artists from all over the Arab world: Syrian, Iraqi, Kuwaiti, Egyptian, Jordanian, the United Arab Emirates and Lebanon. "I don't buy artworks that I think are pretty and aesthetically appealing," he says. "But I buy art that is politically meaningful." Arab Art Redefined: How art collector Sultan Sooud Al-Qassemi is trying to change the narrative (2 minute slideshow with narration by Sultan Al-Qassemi on how he collects and shares art).
posted by filthy light thief on Sep 29, 2015 - 2 comments


The Mystery of ISIS
The problem, however, lies not in chronicling the successes of the movement, but in explaining how something so improbable became possible. The explanations so often given for its rise—the anger of Sunni communities, the logistical support provided by other states and groups, the movement’s social media campaigns, its leadership, its tactics, its governance, its revenue streams, and its ability to attract tens of thousands of foreign fighters—fall far short of a convincing theory of the movement’s success.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on Sep 16, 2015 - 63 comments

Making a State By Iron and Blood

Britain built an empire on the slave trade. Germany perpetrated the greatest genocide in human history. Who says the Islamic State won’t be a U.S. ally someday?
posted by rosswald on Aug 20, 2015 - 54 comments

A War Of All Against All

Why Turkey is bombing the Kurds more than Islamic State - "Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan's bombing campaign — capitalizing on the nationalist, anti-Kurd sentiment that has been steadily growing inside Turkey — could help him regain his AKP party's absolute majority in parliament now that coalition talks have failed and snap elections are likely." [more inside]
posted by kliuless on Aug 14, 2015 - 16 comments

‘‘What we are living is anarchy, war, death...."

"Is This the End of Christianity in the Middle East? ISIS and other extremist movements across the region are enslaving, killing and uprooting Christians, with no aid in sight." --a comprehensive piece by Eliza Griswold (SLNYTMP.)
posted by resurrexit on Jul 23, 2015 - 38 comments

Lord of the Shadows

An Iraqi (intelligence) officer planned Islamic State's takeover in Syria and SPIEGEL has been given exclusive access to his papers. (by Christoph Reuter) [more inside]
posted by Golden Eternity on Apr 18, 2015 - 16 comments

Follow the trend lines, not the headlines.

How can we get a less hyperbolic assessment of the state of the world? Certainly not from daily journalism. News is about things that happen, not things that don’t happen. We never see a reporter saying to the camera, “Here we are, live from a country where a war has not broken out”—or a city that has not been bombed, or a school that has not been shot up. As long as violence has not vanished from the world, there will always be enough incidents to fill the evening news. And since the human mind estimates probability by the ease with which it can recall examples, newsreaders will always perceive that they live in dangerous times.
posted by ellieBOA on Jan 2, 2015 - 36 comments

How to Defeat the Islamic State

How to Defeat the Islamic State. "Over the last thirteen years, America’s foreign policy has consisted mostly of defining what we don’t want: Saddam, Al-Qaida, Qaddafi, Boko Haram, the Islamic State. But we have failed to define what we do want. Rather than pausing to define the ultimate aim of our involvement – the very point of war for military action is just a means to a political end – we have rushed ahead anyway: Ready, Shoot, Aim. Unfortunately, we now have quite the track record of removing one monster only to find a more brutal monster in his place. This global war will never end without a coherent American strategy and we don’t have one for Iraq and Syria at the time of this writing. [...] To defeat the Islamic State and to further American interests, the United States must create a legitimate secular, political alternative for Iraq’s Sunnis."
posted by Golden Eternity on Nov 26, 2014 - 111 comments

According to one senior official, “He wasn’t up to the job.”

President Obama will announce today that Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel is submitting his resignation. According to the New York Times, "The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ." [more inside]
posted by roomthreeseventeen on Nov 24, 2014 - 98 comments

A new and terrifying state has been born.

Patrick Cockburn a Middle East correspondent since 1979 has a couple of new articles:
Isis consolidates and The Underrated Saudi Connection, Why Washington’s War on Terror Failed.
posted by adamvasco on Aug 26, 2014 - 384 comments

Isis claims to have beheaded an American journalist missing in Syria

Video has emerged showing the beheading of journalist James Foley. James Foley has been reportedly beheaded by Isis in retaliation for US airstrikes in Iraq. He was working in Syria when he was reported missing in 2012. [more inside]
posted by lpcxa0 on Aug 19, 2014 - 266 comments

The wistful specter of what might've been if only he'd been listened to

From his time in Cairo, Lawrence was aware of the extravagant promises the British government had made to Hussein in order to raise the Arab Revolt: full independence for virtually the entire Arab world..............His first act of sedition — and by most any standards, a treasonous one — was to inform Faisal of the existence of Sykes-Picot.....The True Story of Lawrence of Arabia . Previously and Previously
posted by lalochezia on Jul 1, 2014 - 11 comments

Isis declares caliphate in Iraq and Syria

The militant Sunni group Isis has said it is establishing a caliphate, or Islamic state, in the territories it controls in Iraq and Syria. This is not the first border we will break, we will break other borders," its spokesman warns. Standing on a border sign he threatens to "break the borders" of Iraq, Jordan and Lebanon. [more inside]
posted by whyareyouatriangle on Jun 30, 2014 - 161 comments

40 Maps of the Middle East

Forty maps that explain the Middle East. Includes sections on Middle East history, the region today, Israel-Palestine, Syria, Iran, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia and oil, Iraq and Libya, and "points of light." [more inside]
posted by Halloween Jack on May 6, 2014 - 8 comments

WSJ's Middle East Real Time blog

Since the end of March, the Wall Street Journal's new Middle East Real Time blog has written about Turkey's "unstoppable" export boom in soap operas, Saudi Arabia's "life after jihad" rehab program, the persistence of obviously fraudulent bomb detectors across Iraq, YouTube branding discussions among Syrian rebel factions, a rising media star Sunni cleric in Lebanon, a post-revolutionary Cairo arts festival, and attempts to overcome conservative objections and change the Saudi Thursday-Friday weekend to match the rest of the business world. Previous non-paywalled WSJ Real Time blogs include Korea, China, Canada, India, Brussels, Emerging Europe, Japan.
posted by mediareport on May 9, 2013 - 16 comments

Crossing the "Red Line"?

Syria Options Go From Bad To Worse
As reports have surfaced of possible use of sarin gas in the Syrian civil war, calls by long-time proponents of U.S. intervention on behalf of the anti-Assad rebels have grown to a fever pitch. These same voices, both at home and abroad, have evoked the administration’s previously stated “red line” on use of chemical weapons. But even assuming that reports of WMD usage in Syria turn out to be true, the Obama Administration’s position may be far more nuanced than previously thought.
[more inside] posted by the man of twists and turns on May 2, 2013 - 289 comments

Will oil companies provide Kurdistan its de facto statehood?

Iraq, Kurds, Turks and oil - A tortuous triangle The governments of Turkey, Iraq and Iraqi Kurdistan play a dangerous game [more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on Feb 2, 2013 - 9 comments

“There’s culture shock, and then there’s the culture shock of moving to a country that started a war in your home.”

"The war has uprooted 4.7 million people from their homes. So where are they?" With the election of Obama and the economic crisis, the topic of Iraq has fallen by the wayside. As hard as things may be right now, Iraqis have been going through far worse for years now. If you're curious about what they have to say, hear them tell it in their own words. Iraqi Refugee Stories. [more inside]
posted by wander on Mar 23, 2009 - 16 comments

Leaving home...

Riverbend resurfaces in Syria
posted by dinsdale on Sep 6, 2007 - 36 comments

Forty years on.

Forty years on. After a quick buildup, the Six Day War started 40 years ago today and reshaped the Middle East. At the time, Israel's quick win looked like a triumph, but after 40 years the war is still being fought and it looks like it may have been a pyrrhic victory.
posted by kirkaracha on Jun 5, 2007 - 157 comments

Doing our homework on the Middle East

22 basic suggested readings on the Middle East from history professor and informed commenter on Middle Eastern affairs Juan Cole.
posted by LobsterMitten on Mar 7, 2007 - 37 comments

Spreading democracy with death squads?

The Salvador Option --sending Special Forces teams to advise, support and possibly train Iraqi squads, to target Sunni insurgents and their sympathizers, even across the border into Syria, in imitation of our actions in El Salvador. It remains unclear, however, whether this would be a policy of assassination or so-called "snatch" operations, in which the targets are sent to secret facilities for interrogation. More here, including this: In Iraq, in fact, as in many other places where the United States has tried to train ethical armies to fight dirty wars, the Iraqi troops are tacitly expected to do what American troops won’t. A fundamental purpose of the upcoming elections on January 30 is to create democratic legitimacy for whatever extreme measures the newly organized military decides to take.
posted by amberglow on Jan 14, 2005 - 18 comments

Export Restrictions on a website?

Export Restrictions on a website? I had to agree to this before downloading stuff from Oracle:
I am not a citizen, national or resident of, and am not under the control of, the government of: Cuba, Iran, Sudan, Iraq, Libya, North Korea, Syria, nor any other country to which the United States has prohibited export.
posted by arnab on Sep 10, 2002 - 10 comments

America Can Persuade Israel to Make a Just Peace

America Can Persuade Israel to Make a Just Peace An op-ed piece by former president Jimmy Carter that is going to get a lot of play in the media. Unfortunately, Mr. Carter seems to suggest a rather easy solution: give back the Palestinian lands and have the Palestinians recognize Israel's right to exist. Put the pressure on Israel by withhold financial aid till they do as we bid. Problem: Palestinians being subsidized by Iraq, Iran, EU and Syria. What about pressure on them? And: Palelstinian issues still in need of resolving: capital and Right of Return....with this left out, we are still not going to get peace. Does Carter simplify or is he on target? reg reqd.
posted by Postroad on Apr 21, 2002 - 33 comments

Middle East war predictions

Middle East war predictions "..what we are witnessing looks like joint preparations by the Palestinian Authority, Syria, its Lebanese client, Iraq, and Iran, for war on a regional scale, against both Israel and U.S. interests. I fear we may face a major, sudden, external assault on Israel, meant to precede U.S. action against the Saddam Hussein regime in Iraq, and indeed prevent the U.S. from going there by enmiring it in the defence of Israel. [From The Ottowa Citizen, lead link in today's Wall Street Journal Best of the Web]
posted by Voyageman on Mar 27, 2002 - 14 comments

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