Links August 2014

August 30th, 2014 No comments

Clearing the holiday backlog…


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Philippine Syria troops ‘attacked’

August 30th, 2014 No comments

A group of Philippine peacekeepers trapped by rebels in the Syrian Golan Heights are “under attack”, the Philippine defence minister says.
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US urges global ‘coalition’ to fight IS jihadists

August 30th, 2014 No comments

Police officers stand guard on Downing Street in London on August 29, 2014US Secretary of State John Kerry has called for a global coalition to combat Islamic State fighters' "genocidal agenda" after President Barack Obama admitted he had no strategy to tackle the group. The number of refugees who have fled Syria, where rebels have been battling the regime as well as jihadists, has now exceeded three million people, the United Nations said. Writing in the New York Times, a week before a NATO summit in Wales, Kerry urged "a united response led by the United States and the broadest possible coalition of nations." He said he and Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel would meet with European counterparts on the sidelines of the summit to enlist assistance, and then travel on to the Middle East to build support "among the countries that are most directly threatened."

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Gulf rivals struggle to build anti-jihadist front

August 30th, 2014 No comments

A Jihadist media outlet Welayat Raqa image from July 25, 2014, allegedly shows Islamic state militants raising their black and white flag over a building belonging to a Syrian army base in the northern rebel-held city of RaqaGulf countries, while siding with Washington against Islamic State jihadists, are struggling to build a common front because of differences within their own ranks and with non-Arab Iran. US President Barack Obama is sending his Secretary of State John Kerry to the Middle East to try to build strong regional support against IS, which is rampaging through Iraq and Syria. Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal has over the past week been at the centre of diplomatic efforts to stand up to the challenge posed by IS to the status quo. He and his counterparts from Egypt, Qatar and the Emirates held talks on Syria and "the rise of terrorist extremist ideology", according to an official statement.

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Comment on Ukraine: What is the word for What is Happening There? by Richard Steven Hack

August 30th, 2014 No comments

Drivel. While Russia is undoubtedly supporting the Ukraine militia under the table, so is the US and NATO supporting the Ukraine military under the table.

So what? The bottom line is the US overthrew a democratically elected (if corrupt) government and replaced it with a bunch of neo-Nazis with the intent of putting NATO military bases on Russia’s borders.

Putin has been EXTREMELY FORBEARING by not immediately invading Ukraine and stomping the neo-Nazis flat. Supporting the pro-Russian rebels is the least he could do and he’s done it in the least encroaching manner possible. He has no interest in “invading” or “annexing” a failed state like the Ukraine unless that’s the only way to keep NATO out.

It’s Obama, irritated that Putin out-maneuvered him last year on Syria, the neocons in the State Department, and the poodles in the EU who are responsible for this mess. Not Putin. And not Russia.

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Comment on ISIS: How to Defeat a Phony “Caliphate” by Clif Brown

August 30th, 2014 No comments

Victory is heady, any morality, religion, cause can be created to back it, no matter how absurd and irrational as seen from the outside. Genghis Khan was unstoppable and set a standard for creating fear with wanton destruction and killing (unlimited slaughter, piles of skulls as monuments, etc.). War is the food that keeps the killing machine going, victory the fuel of morale. It’s when a large area is taken and the limits are reached that internal difficulties bring disintegration of what seemed like an unstoppable force. The fighters flock to IS, the people do not. IS shouts to the world “bring it on!” Let’s not.

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Comment on Can you Pass the Hamas Quiz? by R.A.

August 30th, 2014 No comments

I find it interesting that some of the commenters above appear not to have read the Hamas Quiz but just repeat Israeli talking points, such as “Why exactly did Hamas start shooting rockets into Israel? Apparently because they themselves were being excluded from power, being denied pay.” This comment completely ignores the many Israeli provocations, including the arrest of hundreds of Hamas followers in the West Bank, that preceded the rocket fire.

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An "Informal" Area in Cairo’s Upscale Doqqi: A Surrouded Village

August 30th, 2014 No comments

To leave you for the weekend, and especially for the Cairo hands, here’s an interesting piece on an “informal” area (usually meaning a slum or illegal squatter settlement, but in this case one that long precedes the urbanization of the area): one of a number of “surrounded villages” on the West Bank of the Nile. It’s  useful to see these examples (there are others) of onetime villages swallowed up by urbanization but still essentially separate.

David Sims and other students of Cairene urbaniztion have studied these places, but this is a rather thorough post on one I hadn’t known about..
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Comment on US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin– But Climate Change is Real Challenge by Craig

August 30th, 2014 No comments

One reason why China has to be handled more carefully than a few years ago is that they’re finally coming around on global warming. If Europe, the U.S. and China are reasonably working together to limit CO2 emissions and rapidly building up alternative energy infrastructure, that is probably enough to bring most countries along.

As long as one remains realistic about the issue while also limiting where possible Russian energy games, the Ukrainian issue could have a profound impact on energy policies in either direction and needs to be handled right. As for ISIL, it’s important to keep them away from oil fields as much as possible. If the world economy crashes because there’s neither enough alternative energy or enough fossil fuels or both to sustain energy needs, that does considerable harm to dealing with global warming. One needs a reasonably healthy, functioning economy to build up alternative energy.

Of course, Tea Party Republicans are bent on sabotaging alternative energy as much as possible, enough reason on that basis alone to reduce their numbers in Congress.

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Comment on US Public Worried about ISIL, Putin– But Climate Change is Real Challenge by DeeDee Halleck

August 30th, 2014 No comments

I can’t stand the music on the video clip. How to trivialize important information!

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