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Posts tagged: Syria

crisisgroup:

A Late-Night Phone Call Between One Of Syria’s Top Extremists And His Sworn Enemy | Mike Giglio
A rebel commander named Mohamed Zataar sat on a living room couch in the ancient Turkish city of Antakya one recent night, taking a short break from the war across the border with Syria some 15 miles down the road. He was eager to return. “There is a new battle starting,” he said, staring at the door. Instead Zataar, who leads a battalion of moderate rebels called Wolves of the Valley, decided to call his enemy from his iPhone.
He dialed the number for the shadowy jihadi known as Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, one of the most notorious men on the chaotic battlefields of northern Syria. Abu Ayman doesn’t fight for the Syrian regime. He’s a leader in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the al-Qaeda-inspired force that has upended the rebellion with its fanaticism and brutality — while also kidnapping Western journalists and raising global alarms that the foreign fighters who fill out its ranks will return to sow terror at home. Other rebel groups turned on ISIS at the start of the new year, sparking an internal war that men like Zataar, a former dealer of fake antiques who despises extremists, were happy to join. “We are fighting a war against terror,” Zataar said.
Someone answered on the other line, and Zataar asked to speak with Abu Ayman, whom he referred to as “sheikh.” Then he hung up, saying it wasn’t uncommon for the two men to speak. An hour later, Abu Ayman called back.
FULL ARTICLE (BuzzFeed)
Photo: FreedomHouse/flickr

crisisgroup:

A Late-Night Phone Call Between One Of Syria’s Top Extremists And His Sworn Enemy | Mike Giglio

A rebel commander named Mohamed Zataar sat on a living room couch in the ancient Turkish city of Antakya one recent night, taking a short break from the war across the border with Syria some 15 miles down the road. He was eager to return. “There is a new battle starting,” he said, staring at the door. Instead Zataar, who leads a battalion of moderate rebels called Wolves of the Valley, decided to call his enemy from his iPhone.

He dialed the number for the shadowy jihadi known as Abu Ayman al-Iraqi, one of the most notorious men on the chaotic battlefields of northern Syria. Abu Ayman doesn’t fight for the Syrian regime. He’s a leader in the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, the al-Qaeda-inspired force that has upended the rebellion with its fanaticism and brutality — while also kidnapping Western journalists and raising global alarms that the foreign fighters who fill out its ranks will return to sow terror at home. Other rebel groups turned on ISIS at the start of the new year, sparking an internal war that men like Zataar, a former dealer of fake antiques who despises extremists, were happy to join. “We are fighting a war against terror,” Zataar said.

Someone answered on the other line, and Zataar asked to speak with Abu Ayman, whom he referred to as “sheikh.” Then he hung up, saying it wasn’t uncommon for the two men to speak. An hour later, Abu Ayman called back.

FULL ARTICLE (BuzzFeed)

Photo: FreedomHouse/flickr

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
March was the deadliest month in the Syrian war. 
Lauren Wolfe of Women Under Siege reports in great deal the massive rape crisis facing women in Syria.
A new report from King’s College says that the Syrian conflict has drawn in hundreds of Europeans to fight.
The Free Syrian Army’s female fighters.
The Syrian conflict has stirred up a “fuel war” of sorts in Lebanon. 
Matthieu Aikins reports that Aleppo’s Kurds appear to have switched sides to support the rebels.
Palestinians protest and inmates go on hunger strike after the death of inmate Maysara Abu Hamdiyeh, whom they say received inadequate medical care. 
Two Palestinian teenagers were shot and killed by Israeli forces yesterday during clashes in the West Bank city of Tulkarm.
The “inner syntax of Palestinian stone-throwing.”
Popular Egyptian satirist and television personality Bassem Youssef is facing accusations of insulting Islam and President Morsy.
In a sign that Iran and Egypt are working to restore ties, the first commercial flight from Cairo to Tehran in 34 years took off on Saturday.
Adnan Pachachi, a veteran of the Iraqi political system, writes about “the road to failure in Iraq” for the New York Times At War Blog.
Eleven candidates have been killed so far in the lead-up to Iraqi provincial elections. 
Iran is slowing and limiting its nuclear activity ahead of its looming election.
A suicide attack in Farah province, Afghanistan, on Wednesday is the deadliest attack in the country for civilians in over a year, killing 44 and wounding 100.
Afghanistan filed a formal protest amidst growing worries about Pakistan’s “unilateral construction and physical reinforcement activities” on the border of Ningarhar province. 
Frontline reports on the recruitment activities of Pakistani terror group Lashkar-e-Taiba. 
Seven people were killed when militants raided an electricity plant in Peshawar, Pakistan.
China released a Tibetan political prisoner after 17 years. 
North Korea will restart its nuclear reactor.
The US will deploy a missile defense system to Guam as a response to North Korean threats. 
In March, Ieng Sary, one of the last living leaders from the Khmer Rouge, died of a heart attack. He also died “not guilty,” despite being on trial twice for genocide. He died while the most recent trial was still underway.
This Easter season marked fifteen years since the Good Friday Agreement in Northern Ireland. Colum McCann writes beautifully about the miracle and process of peace for the New York Times. 
Militancy remains a cause for concern as Northern Ireland prepares to host the G8 summit.
More than 200 people were arrested over the union flag protests. 
Leaders from Serbia and Kosovo are returning home with no accord after meeting in Brussels for EU-mediated negotiations over how to address ethnic Serbs living in Northern Kosovo.
The hunger strike in Guantanamo Bay is expanding, now 39 of the 166 prisoners have met the minimum standards for definition of hunger striker. 
Attacks against the Argentinian press increased dramatically over the past year. 
The woman behind Blog Del Narco, the anonymous blog that graphically chronicles the drug war in Mexico, spoke for the first time to The Guardian and The Texas Observer. 
The UN passed the first international arms trade regulation treaty with an overwhelming majority. 
Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called for a major structural shake-up in the Pentagon, ordering a top to bottom review, likening it to the last major reorganization in 1986.
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Photo: Hebron, West Bank. Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security. Ammar Awad/Reuters

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Hebron, West Bank. Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli security. Ammar Awad/Reuters

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
This morning: a suicide bomber has detonated in the Malian city of Gao in the north. This is the first incident of its kind in Mali, according to military sources.
France wants the current African-led mission in Mali to be replaced with a UN-led peacekeeping mission by April.
“A decade of missteps” in US counterterrorism policies in Africa.
According to the UNHCR, 5,000 Syrians flee every day.
CJ Chivers profiles Hajji Marea, a Syrian rebel commander.
On Saturday, the leader of the Syrian opposition council. Sheikh Ahmad Moaz al-Khatib, met separately in Munich with representatives from the US and Russia.
The Sunday Times has told British war photographer Rick Findler not to submit any more photos out of Syria in order to not encourage freelancers to put themselves at risk for a photo.
A former English teacher in Aleppo has become known as Guevara  by some and by others as simply “the female sniper.”
23 members of Hamas, three of them lawmakers, were arrested by Israel in the occupied West Bank on Monday.
The 12th summit of the Organization of Islamic Co-operation opened in Cairo Wednesday.
The Egyptian opposition is claiming that the police tortured 28-year-old activist Mohammed El-Gindy to death.
Jailed Moroccan rapper El Haqed (Mouad Belghouat) is on hunger strike to protest the conditions of his imprisonment.
The assassination of leading Tunisian opposition figure Chokri Belaid has led to protests and clashes and a greater sense of threat for the nation’s pro-democracy movement.
Today: gunmen in Kano, Nigeria, killed two health workers administering polio vaccines.
The UN-backed tribunal in Rwanda overturned two 2011 genocide convictions for two former ministers: Justin Mugenzi and Prosper Mugiraneza, who were sentenced to thirty years in prison.
According to a new report, Joseph Kony’s Lord’s Resistance Army killed far fewer civilians this year than in the past two years. 51 seems like a pretty sizable number of civilians, but that’s the lowest that number has been since 2007. In 2010 and 2011 it was 706 and 154 respectively.
The US widened its sanctions on Iran this week with actions that included blacklisting the state broadcasting authority.
Iran has rejected the idea of direct nuclear talks with Washington while sanctions remain in place.
Iranian President Ahmedinejad is involved in a feud with one of the country’s notable families.
Vietnam jailed 22 people for “subversion.”
North Korea released a YouTube video which depicted a young man dreaming of a destroyed US set to an instrumental version of “We Are the World.”
A new report from the watchdog group Open Society Justice Initiative reveals that 54 countries aided in 136 CIA renditions (the transfer of a detainee by the US to another country for interrogation).
From NBC, the DOJ’s white paper justifying the overseas drone strike program.
The release of the Obama administration’s own legal analysis and justification of the drone program has created a serious public debate over the validity of those arguments and of the drone program.
David Cole took part in that dialogue with his NYRB response “How We Made Killing Easy.”
David Cole also has 13 questions for John Brennan.
Drone strikes also dominated the discussion at Brennan’s rocky confirmation hearings for director of the CIA.
The CIA runs a secret drone base in Saudi Arabia, established two years ago. Media outlets knew about the base, but refrained from reporting on the request of the administration.
A secret legal review has asserted the President’s broad powers to order a pre-emptive strike if there is credible evidence a major incoming cyberattack.
A new lawsuit asserts that the NYPD’s surveillance of Muslims violates rules against spying that were created in the 60s and 70s to protect political activists.
Outgoing Defense Secretary Leon Panetta has said that torture was unnecessary to the discovery of bin Laden’s whereabouts.
According to a new GAO report, the US has spent $97 million in Central America over the past 4 years to fight the war on drugs. It’s questionable how much success that money bought.
The UK has plans to install spy devices throughout the country’s telecoms network, surveilling citizens’ uses of overseas services like Twitter. These “probes” are part of a larger eventual scheme to track everything the Brits do online.
Canada is considering changing its laws to allow the possibility of revoking Canadian citizenship for those dual citizens who commit acts of terrorism.
Slain French photojournalist Rémi Ochlik’s work is on display as an exhibition titled “Revolutions: Photographs of the Arab Spring by Rémi Ochlik” at the Art Institute of Boston at Lesley University through February 22nd. Ochlik was killed in Syria last year.
Listen to Iraq war vet Brian Turner, a soldier-poet, read some of his poems for NPR.
What does Richard III’s body tell us, not just about him, but about the Battle of Bosworth and war in general?
If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.
Photo: Damascus, Syria. Insurgents run for cover during fighting. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Damascus, Syria. Insurgents run for cover during fighting. Goran Tomasevic/Reuters.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
François Hollande is calling on Syrian rebels to form a government, and is saying that France would recognize it.
Assad’s foreign minister gave his first interview to a Western journalist since the beginning of this revolution/war, accusing all of Syria’s international opponents of being instruments of the US.
CJ Chivers was interviewed on NPR’s All Things Considered about the Syrian rebels’ weapons pile: a combination of smuggled arms, DIY mortars and weapons left behind Assad’s army. 
Syrian filmmaker Orwa Nyrabia was abducted just prior to boarding a flight to Cairo out of Damascus.
From Twitter, a map of Syria with the number of dead in each region.
Mohammed Morsi’s proposed plan for a regional approach to addressing Syria shows his first foreign policy moves as Egypt’s new president. He visited Iran, the first time since the 1979 coup that an Egyptian president has done so, for the summit of the Non-Aligned Movement, and in his speech directly stood against the Syrian government, Iran’s ally, sparking a walkout by the Syrian delegation. 
Reuters snagged Morsi’s first interview with an international news org. since his election.
If former Mubarak prime minister and presidential candidate Ahmed Shafiq ever returns home to Egypt, he will be detained.
Eighteen months into the revolution, how is the Egyptian Twittersphere doing?
Palestine has put its bid for UN recognition on hold.
An Israeli judge ruled this week that Israel bears no responsibility for the death of American pro-Palestinian activist Rachel Corrie who was killed by a military bulldozer in 2003.
The pro-government Somalian army have taken the port of Merca from Al-Shabab.
Saudi Arabia claims to have foiled a terror plot.
Iraq executed 21 people in a single day on terrorism charges, despite continued UN calls for the country to halt the practice.
Bamiyan, once a predominantly peaceful Afghan province often held up as an example of the war’s successes, has become increasingly violent.
Targeted killings remain an ever-present reality on the streets of Karachi, as is anger against government negligence in the face of the violence. 
The Indian Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence for Mohammed Ajmal Kasab, the only surviving gunman from the 2008 Mumbai attacks.
President Mohammed Waheed Hassan of the Maldives is refusing to step down now that an inquiry has found that he did not come to power through a coup. Protesters disagree.
Three soldiers and eleven militants are dead after a hostage situation on the border between Georgia and Russia.
12 Mexican federal police are under arrest in connection with the shooting of two US government workers last week.
Reports are circulating that last month in Venezuela, gold miners attacked Yanomami tribespeople, leaving 80 dead.
US weapons sales have tripled since 2011 to a record high. The US is at the top of the global list of arms sellers, with $66.3 billion in 2012, or three-quarters of the entire global market. This has been spurred on by foreign sales to Persian Gulf nations who are concerned about Iran.
Ahmed al Darbi, a Saudi prisoner, is being charged by prosecutors in the Guantanamo tribunal with plotting with Al Qaeda to blow up oil tankers off the coast of Yemen.
John Walker Lindh is suing for the right to a Muslim prayer group with other prisoners in the high-security Indiana facility where he is serving his 20-year sentence for aiding the Taliban. Prison officials have expressed concern during the trial about letting him do this.
The Pentagon is busy reviewing the new book on the Abbottabad raid by former Navy SEAL Matt Bissonnette. Legal action is being considered against him because he failed to submit his work for security review, but since he retired (with five bronze stars) before he could qualify for a pension, they admit that punishing him would be difficult. 
Major Nidal Hassan, on trial for the Ft. Hood shootings, is refusing to shave his beard to appear in court. An appeals court has ruled that it is premature to rule on whether or not Hassan should shave his beard.
The Justice Dept. announced yesterday that no criminal charges will be brought as a result of the investigation into CIA interrogation practices. The investigation is dropped. 
Micah Zenko puzzles through some of the national security and foreign policy elements of the newly released Republican party platform.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Afghan National Police during their graduation ceremony. Rahmat Gul/AP.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in WarA Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.

If you would like to receive this round-up as a weekly email, you can sign up through this form, or email me directly at torierosedeghett@gmail.com.

Photo: Afghan National Police during their graduation ceremony. Rahmat Gul/AP.

doctorswithoutborders:

Medical Needs Increasing Among Syrian Refugees in LebanonOn July 20 and July 21, there was a new surge as thousands of Syrians entered Lebanon. MSF teams were dispatched to the areas along the border and to the Bekaa valley, where many refugees are seeking sanctuary.

As the crisis in Syria continues to intensify, the humanitarian needs—both in Syria and in surrounding countries—are increasing significantly. Many people have been killed and wounded and tens of thousands have fled their homes, leaving behind everything they own. Medical and humanitarian assistance within Syria is extremely limited, and aid from international organizations, including MSF, has been severely restricted. In neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, MSF has therefore augmented its work with the growing numbers of Syrian refugees flowing across the borders.Photo:An MSF nurse gives a vaccine to a young Syrian boy in northern Lebanon.
Lebanon 2012 © Nagham Awada/MSF

doctorswithoutborders:

Medical Needs Increasing Among Syrian Refugees in Lebanon

On July 20 and July 21, there was a new surge as thousands of Syrians entered Lebanon. MSF teams were dispatched to the areas along the border and to the Bekaa valley, where many refugees are seeking sanctuary.

As the crisis in Syria continues to intensify, the humanitarian needs—both in Syria and in surrounding countries—are increasing significantly. Many people have been killed and wounded and tens of thousands have fled their homes, leaving behind everything they own. Medical and humanitarian assistance within Syria is extremely limited, and aid from international organizations, including MSF, has been severely restricted. In neighboring countries such as Lebanon, Jordan, and Iraq, MSF has therefore augmented its work with the growing numbers of Syrian refugees flowing across the borders.

Photo:An MSF nurse gives a vaccine to a young Syrian boy in northern Lebanon.
Lebanon 2012 © Nagham Awada/MSF

reuters:

A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires a rocket during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.  [REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic]
PHOTOS: Goran Tomasevic’s photos from inside Syria

reuters:

A Syrian Air Force fighter plane fires a rocket during an air strike in the village of Tel Rafat, some 37 km (23 miles) north of Aleppo, August 9, 2012.  [REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic]

PHOTOS: Goran Tomasevic’s photos from inside Syria

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
News this Morning: Two days away from major international talks about Syria, violence continues to flare.
Women Under Siege is crowd-mapping sexual violence in Syria. An amazing project.
Foreign companies like KFC, Cinnabon and Four Seasons hotels continue to keep shop in Damascus.
The discussion continues about Sgt. Bales, what exactly happened that night and what will happen now. The Pentagon has confirmed that it payed family members $50,000 a piece. 
Yalda Hakim of the Australian SBS network has become the first Western journalist to enter the village where the massacre occurred. She interviewed survivors and Afghan guards on duty that night about what happened.
A US government audit shows that security costs for the US in Afghanistan are set to rise by as much as 46%.
Billions of dollars in cash are smuggled out of Afghanistan every year. This year $4.5bn was flown out of the country (compare that to USAID’s assistance to Afghanistan in 2011, which was around 2.5bn.
Human Rights Watch released a report on the hundreds of women jailed for “moral crimes” in Afghanistan.
The Arab League came to Baghdad. Check out my round-up on that from yesterday.
The US has cut off aid to Mali following the coup. Assistance to the Malian government totaled $140m a year.
Sudan and South Sudan are dangerously close to war. Senior envoys have met in Ethiopia to try and calm the situation.
The revolution in Yemen has been accompanied by a sharp increase in US attacks against militants inside Yemen.
Drones are always a popular topic of discussion and reporting, but there was a lot this week in particular. Peter Bergen and Jennifer Rowland of the New America Foundation report that drone strikes inside Pakistan in the first three months of this year are down sharply. PRI’s The World ran a piece on UAV proliferation. The Center for Democracy and Technology has an excellent timeline of the process and planning for implementation of domestic drones in the US.
The Smithsonian interviewed counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke about Stuxnet.
A cybersecurity bill has been introduced in the House by Republican sponsors. It parallels a similar Senate bill.
The Washington Post profiled the heavy smoking, “irascible” convert to Islam who heads the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center.
The war in Afghanistan has seen a steep drop in public support inside the US. An NYT/CBS poll shows that currently 69% of the population thinks we should not be at war in Afghanistan, up from 53% four months ago.
A touching and beautifully put-together NYT documentary by Micah Garon profiled USAF Lt. Col. John Darin Loftis who was recently killed in Afghanistan.
IAVA released its annual survey of members this Monday. Veterans listed as their top concerns in this order: employment, mental health, disability benefits, health care, education, suicide and families.
NBC has been doing a really nice job this week of focusing on employment for returning veterans.
And… if you haven’t read Mitch Prothero’s piece for Vice on playing paintball with Hezbollah, you have to.
Photo: Soldiers wait in a transport plane to depart from Afghanistan to a transit station in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty.

thepoliticalnotebook:

This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.

Photo: Soldiers wait in a transport plane to depart from Afghanistan to a transit station in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan. Vyacheslav Oseledko/AFP/Getty.

The Revolution, Syria, and Iran.
theeconomist:

KAL’s cartoon: this week, Western agitators.

The Revolution, Syria, and Iran.

theeconomist:

KAL’s cartoon: this week, Western agitators.