— A fixer on the Syria-Turkey border says of war tourists coming to see and experience the Syria conflict
This all really makes sense.
Whew.A median of 56% in seven Middle Eastern and North African countries had an unfavorable view of the United Nations.
May 24th is the last day AFP recorded as a day with no death tolls. The days since have included one or more deaths as neighboring conflicts and sectarianism brews up violence in Iraq.
Another personal post of reporting with shortformblog:
Villagers in Diyala Province saw much death during the worst of Iraq’s carnage over the past decade, but they say what is happening now is far worse.
The orange archway at the entrance to this farming community welcomes visitors in “peace.” The lush palm groves are heavy with ripe dates. For generations, Shiite and Sunni families worked the land, earning a living from their sheep and cows, their wheat fields and lemon trees.
On a recent morning, though, the only talk was of how to stop them from killing one another. The latest strategy: new concrete walls with separate entryways for the different sects.
“So there’s a Sunni way in, and a Shiite way in,” Abu Jassim, a Sunni resident who recently fled his home after sectarian revenge killings by Shiite gunmen, explained to a local representative in Parliament.
And now on Saturday September 21st, Reuters reports at least 65 were killed in an attack that involved three bombs at a Sadr City Shiite funeral gathering. While the focus is on Syria, the ongoing divisive and highly sectarian violence in Iraq is alarming as it confirms that Syria’s war is continuing to inflame conflicts in neighboring countries (also signal in Lebanon, and so on).
In Iraq, there’s so much.
ISIS, al-Qaida, rebel and militant fighters from Iraq are crossing in and out from Syria, constantly bringing the Syrian conflict into the nation. There’s the worrying sectarianism that seems to grow and grow not only as a seemingly permanent line of divide but as in deadly violence.
This is something to watch, especially after America’s spent so much time in there. And Syria is affecting neighboring countries more and more than we think it is.
— Writer Patrick Cockburn gets to the point on Libya after 2011. Read it.
— Nicholas Kristof says on Syria
McClatchy reports Yemen’s al Qaida “thinks globally, acts locally.”
The August incident underscored the sometimes-confusing nature of al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula, its goals and its real strength.
“They seem to be focusing on building a local base: They find a vacuum and they fill it,” Abdulghani al Iryani, a Sanaa-based political analyst, said of the group. “This makes them even more dangerous than they were before.”
For its part, al Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula appears to relish the spotlight. The group has released a series of written, video and audio statements in recent days, and analysts have said the scope of the group’s rhetoric underscores its wider ambitions.
“AQAP’s messages appear to be aimed at a broader international audience, rather than just at Yemeni themselves,” said Fernando Carvajal, a Sanaa-based Yemen analyst.
Yemen’s government asks the United States for drones to fight against al Qaida in their country.
"I have discussed the issue of helping us acquire this technology with the U.S. administration," [State news agency] Saba quoted [Yemen President Abd-Rabbu Mansour] Hadi as saying, adding that the Yemeni army was capable of using drones.
The Yemeni army, with U.S. backing, last year drove al Qaeda militants and their allies from strongholds they seized during months of turmoil against Saleh’s rule. But the militants have since regrouped and mounted attacks on government officials and installations.
"We will pursue them until they seek peace, give up their weapons and return to their senses as Yemeni citizens and not as enemies of Yemen, and kick out the foreigners who carry out these military attacks with them," he said.
— United States Congressman Alan Grayson says
This tweet: Egypt’s armed rebellion may be worse than in the 1990’s.
A military expert explains how an United States strike may actually happen in Syria. What kind of military force would it be? What kind of machinery would be used? What kind of timing would it take? It’s explained here by Anthony Cordesman who works Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
The Washington Post goes through various targets the United States military may attack in Syria. They cite the goal being Syria’s Defense Ministry locations across the country. They also name their number one, according to intelligence officials, being the Scientific Studies and Research Center (SSRC) in Jamraya, near Damascus.