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What ISIS Really Wants

Valin   Posted Today, 07:05 PM

Jun 18, 2015

Experts discuss the ongoing crisis in the Middle East and the state of violent extremism.

 

Speakers:
Bernard Haykel, Professor of Near Eastern Studies, Princeton University
Graeme Wood, Contributing Editor, The Atlantic; Lecturer, Yale University

 




CUBA DEMANDS RETURN OF GUANTANAMO, END OF US TV BROADCASTS IN RETURN FOR DIPLOMACY

Valin   Posted Today, 06:21 PM

I wonder how many decades it will take to clean up the messes this admistration is making.

 

 

All I can say is.......

 

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CUBA DEMANDS RETURN OF GUANTANAMO, END OF US TV BROADCASTS IN RETURN FOR DIPLOMACY

clearvision   Posted Today, 06:18 PM

I wonder how many decades it will take to clean up the messes this admistration is making.


The Everyday Horrors of the Islamic State

Valin   Posted Today, 04:53 PM

Spiegel Online‎:

Uwe Buse and Katrin Kuntz
July 1 2015
 
In late June, images made their way around the world of four men as they were locked in a car and killed with a rocket-propelled grenade. They showed seven men, chained together with explosive necklaces, as they were blown up. And they provided evidence that five men had been locked in a metal cage and lowered into the water to drown. As we learned last week, 16 men in total were murdered in these brutal ways. We know this because the executioners with the group calling itself "Islamic State" wanted to film their victims as they were dying.
 
The films, carefully staged and distributed using all modern channels, seem to be coming directly from hell. The men who see themselves as the new caliphs are performing an unparalleled dance of death, complete with the kinds of horrors once depicted by painter Hieronymus Bosch -- only these killers and executioners are anything but fiction. In Syria and along the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers in Iraq today, where human civilization once began, it is not some nightmarish fictional characters at work, but real players in contemporary history with a megalomaniacal agenda. And instead of covering up their murders, they are doing the opposite -- inviting the rest of the world to look on, proud of a brutality that knows no bounds and is both part of their military strategy and an instrument of oppression.
 
The Islamic State is both fact and fiction at the same time. It has clearly created a propaganda bubble, but it also represents a new social order in places where it has come into power. The "caliphate" was proclaimed about a year ago, and the older group ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and Syria) has become IS, often referred to as Da'ish in the Arab world. But all of these names refer to the same thing: a militant movement with its origins partly in the Iraqi prison camps run by the Americans, which grew into al-Qaida in Iraq and now, as IS, is claiming territory for a new state, territory captured by former top figures in the regime of dictator Saddam Hussein.
 
In truth, the Islamic State is nothing but a claim. On closer inspection, it is merely an irregular occupation regime without a cohesive country to call its own. IS controls cities, such as Raqqa, Ramadi and Mosul, and it has infiltrated and now controls villages in Syria and Iraq. But there is also a paucity of verifiable facts.
 
Any reporter who dared to enter Raqqa to investigate the situation there would be in the kind of mortal danger that no reputable news organization can justify. Those who go there anyway, like former German lawmaker and author Jürgen Todenhöfer -- whose new book "Inside IS - 10 Days in the 'Islamic State'" is currently at the top of the SPIEGEL non-fiction bestseller list -- are at the mercy of their hosts and are only permitted to ask subservient questions. But there are other paths into the sinister realm, access through back doors and the underground. For example, not all telecommunications lines have been disconnected yet, and it is sometimes still possible to communicate by phone, Skype or text message.
 
Courageous Efforts

Most importantly, there are groups of committed people who have made a point of documenting all IS activities, both virtual and tangible. There is opposition in the occupied areas, and there are courageous individuals who are determined, despite danger to life and limb, to keep the hope of a different life alive and, in the meantime, to use sound, images and text to record everyday life under IS. It is because of these people that SPIEGEL is able to provide the insights into daily life under IS that are described in this article.

(Snip)





Intensive Sheikh Zuweid clashes continue, reports of civilian deaths

Valin   Posted Today, 04:30 PM

 

 

Egypt at War

Michael Rubin | @mrubin197107.01.2015 - 3:00 PM

 

 

 

 

Unease at Egypt’s human rights situation may be real, but that does not mean that the United States can be sanguine about the fight Egypt now faces.

 

Given Egypt is the most populous Arab country, I'd say so. These attacks are only one problem el-Sisi and the Egyptian government face...and maybe not even the most pressing. Egypt is broke, by broke I mean they're looking in the sofa for loose change.

 

Egypt

Quick Facts

    Population:
        84.2 million
    GDP (PPP):
        $553.6 billion
        2.1% growth
        3.2% 5-year compound annual growth
        $6,579 per capita
    Unemployment:
        12.7%
    Inflation (CPI):
        6.9%
    FDI Inflow:
        $5.6 billion

 

I think we are the banker

 

 

We and the EU.  Still that's not good. It speaks to the Arab World in general.




Trip to Israel thrills ex-Vikings

Valin   Posted Today, 04:28 PM

MPLS (Red) Star Tribune:

Mark Craig
July 1, 2015
 
ows_143571651666777.jpg?w=525
Chris Doleman and other Hall of Famers attended an American football practice in Israel.

 

Ask Chris Doleman to choose the highlight of last month’s trip to Israel and the Vikings Pro Football Hall of Famer answers about as quickly as he used to zip past left tackles.

 

“I think the highlight was being baptized in the Jordan River,” the former Vikings defensive end said Tuesday. “Everybody can’t say that one.”

 

Getting baptized in the same river where Jesus of Nazareth was baptized by John the Baptist wasn’t on Doleman’s original itinerary. But he was one of about a dozen Hall of Famers who walked into the water during the weeklong trip being called “Touchdown in Israel: Mission of Excellence.”

 

(Snip)

 

“We were signing autographs one night and this older guy came up to me and says, ‘So, you’re the one who has 81 interceptions?’ ” said Krause, who retired in 1979 and still owns the NFL record for career interceptions. “I says, ‘Yeah, I’m very proud of that.’ He says, ‘Well, I want to tell you something. I have 1,700 interceptions.’

 

“He was the guy who invented the Iron Dome, which protects Israel from missiles. He’s got 1,700 hits on missiles coming into Jerusalem.”

 

Krause paused for a second and shook the man’s hand.

 

“I told him, ‘Your 1,700 interceptions are a heck of a lot more useful than my 81.’ ”





Intensive Sheikh Zuweid clashes continue, reports of civilian deaths

Draggingtree   Posted Today, 03:58 PM

 

Egypt at War

Michael Rubin | @mrubin197107.01.2015 - 3:00 PM

 

 

 

 

Unease at Egypt’s human rights situation may be real, but that does not mean that the United States can be sanguine about the fight Egypt now faces.

 

Given Egypt is the most populous Arab country, I'd say so. These attacks are only one problem el-Sisi and the Egyptian government face...and maybe not even the most pressing. Egypt is broke, by broke I mean they're looking in the sofa for loose change.

 

Egypt

Quick Facts

    Population:
        84.2 million
    GDP (PPP):
        $553.6 billion
        2.1% growth
        3.2% 5-year compound annual growth
        $6,579 per capita
    Unemployment:
        12.7%
    Inflation (CPI):
        6.9%
    FDI Inflow:
        $5.6 billion

 

I think we are the banker




The Road Ahead for Believers: Not So Gay

Valin   Posted Today, 03:08 PM

Power Line:

Steven Hayward
July 1, 2015
 
I’ll have a lot more to say in here and in several other venues about the status of religious liberty and religious faith in post-modern and post-Obergefell America.  But for now it is worth recalling the observations of Richard John Neuhaus, from his important 1984 book The Naked Public Square:
 
When the democratically affirmed institutions that generate and transmit values are excluded, the vacuum will be filled by the agent left in control of the public square, the state. In this manner, a perverse notion of the disestablishment of religion leads to the establishment of the state as church…
 
Our problems, then, stem in large part from the philosophical and legal effort to isolate and exclude the religious dimension of culture…only the state can…”lay claim to compulsive authority.”…of all the institutions in societies, only religion can invoke against the state a transcendent authority and have its invocation seconded by “the people” to whom a democratic state is presumably accountable. For the state to be secured from such challenge, religion must be redefined as a private, emphatically not public, phenomenon. In addition, because truly value-less existence is impossible for persons or societies, the state must displace religion as the generator and bearer of values…

 
[T]he notion of the secular state can become the prelude to totalitarianism. That is, once religion is reduced to nothing more than privatized conscience, the public square has only two actors in it – the state and the individual. Religion as a mediating structure…is no longer available as a countervailing force to the ambitions of the state…
 
If law and polity are divorced from moral judgment…all things are permitted and…all things will be done…When in our public life no legal prohibition can be articulated with the force of transcendent authority, then there are no rules rooted in ultimacies that can protect the poor, the powerless and the marginal…
 
(Snip)
 
_______________________________________________________________________________________________
 
The Naked Public Square: Religion and Democracy in America
Richard John Neuhaus
September 9, 1988





CUBA DEMANDS RETURN OF GUANTANAMO, END OF US TV BROADCASTS IN RETURN FOR DIPLOMACY

Valin   Posted Today, 03:02 PM

 

 

Ah, another Obama diplomatic successblink.png

 

 

Is there any enemies he hasn't sucked up to or tried to suck up to, and any friends he hasn't dissed?

 

IDK - I think he's treated Mexico pretty wellwink.png

 

 

 

Thank you Donald




CUBA DEMANDS RETURN OF GUANTANAMO, END OF US TV BROADCASTS IN RETURN FOR DIPLOMACY

Geee   Posted Today, 02:55 PM

 

Ah, another Obama diplomatic successblink.png

 

 

Is there any enemies he hasn't sucked up to or tried to suck up to, and any friends he hasn't dissed?

 

IDK - I think he's treated Mexico pretty wellwink.png