2016-09-22

World Today: 2016-09-22 Thursday

Kenya: Al-Shabaab attack on police station in Garissa County leaves two missing. 'Two policemen are missing after Somali Islamists attacked a police base in northeastern Kenya early on Thursday, a police spokesman said, the latest in a string of cross-border raids by the al Shabaab militia.'

Golan Heights: Syria regime prepares for major operation. Debka reports that 'Six steps by the Assad regime in the last few days, reported by debkafile’s military sources, point to preparations for a massive Syrian army offensive, backed by Hizballah, pro-Iranian Shiite militias and Iranian Rev Guards officers, for clearing the strong rebel presence out of the Syrian Golan. ...'

Iraq: Army claims Shirqat under control. 'Iraq's military backed by air strikes from a U.S.-led coalition on Thursday seized the center of Shirqat, a northern town seen as a stepping stone in the campaign to recapture Mosul from Islamic State.'

USA: Rahami was flagged twice in 2014. 'When Ahmad Khan Rahami returned in March 2014 from a nearly yearlong trip to Pakistan, he was flagged by customs officials, who pulled him out for a secondary screening. Still concerned about his travel, they notified the National Targeting Center, a federal agency that assesses potential threats, two law enforcement officials said. ...'

USA: Islamic State references scrubbed from Chelsea bombing complaint. 'Earlier today, Mike Levine of ABC News tweeted the image above showing a blood-soaked page from Ahmad Khan Rahami’s notebook. The US government has accused Rahami of detonating a bomb in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan on Sept. 17 and planting three other explosive devices in New York and New Jersey. ... Curiously, the complaint does not include any reference to the Islamic State.'

USA: Stratfor on Chelsea bombing. 'An explosion in New Jersey on Sept. 17 marked the start of a busy two days for grassroots jihadists in the United States — and for the law enforcement officers responding to the attacks. ...' Timeline and article at the link.

2016-08-29

Iran

Why Obama let Iran's Green Revolution fail. '... Obama wasn't just reluctant to show solidarity in 2009, he feared the demonstrations would sabotage his secret outreach to Iran. In his new book, "The Iran Wars," Wall Street Journal reporter Jay Solomon uncovers new details on how far Obama went to avoid helping Iran's green movement. Behind the scenes, Obama overruled advisers who wanted to do what America had done at similar transitions from dictatorship to democracy, and signal America's support.'

The Iranian naval threat. '... Meanwhile, the Iranians keep improving the firepower of their fast patrol boats and adapt Western technology to further raise the threat level. They now have a semi-submersible fast patrol boat they acquired from North Korea and improved. This carries significant firepower and is hard to find and hit. They have taken British technology from the superfast Bladerunner speedboat and turned it into the Seraj-1, which exceeds 55 knots on the surface. A newer version, thought to be the Seraj-2, may reach 80 to 85 knots, far faster than anything in the U.S. inventory. And the Iranians appear able to acquire diesel engines, surface drives and other sophisticated gear from Western sources without any practical interference.'

200 yards is too close. '“Too close” has to be publicly defined. The Iranians should be put on notice that if they close to within 500 yards of any ship or boat, they will be fired on, not just given the courtesy of warning shots. Five hundred yards is about the range of a rocket-propelled grenade (though it’s hard to hit anything smaller than a large ship from that distance).'

2016-08-22

Morning Report: 2016-08-22

Turkey promised to "cleanse" its southeastern border area of Islamic State following Saturday's attack at Gaziantep, which killed 54 people at a Kurdish wedding. A security official linked the attack to earlier Islamic State bombings targeting Kurds.

Libyan government forces claim capture of mosque and prison from IS in the terrorist group's stronghold of Sirte. Long War Journal has background:

US Africa Command announced today that the US has carried out 62 “precision” airstrikes since Aug. 1 in support of “Operation Odyssey Lightning,” which seeks to dislodge the Islamic State from its stronghold in Sirte, Libya. On Aug. 17, the US bombed 13 “enemy fighting positions” and a vehicle-borne improvised explosive device (VBIED).

Al Bunyan Al Marsoos (“Solid Structure”) operations room, which draws fighters from militias based in Misrata and is allied with Libya’s Government of National Accord (GNA), is the main ground force seeking to clear the city. Special Forces from the US, and possibly other Western nations, are on the ground in Sirte as well. ...

Afghan government claims to have captured Khanabad district in Kunduz province.

Russia is suspending use of Iranian base at Hamadan. "Russia first used the base last week to deploy long-range bombers last week and faced international criticism for it" as part of the joint Russian / Iranian campaign to support Syria's Bashar al-Assad. Debka has more:

Monday, Aug. 22, just a week after the Russian defense ministry proudly released images of the first Russian bombardments in Syria to be launched from Nojeh airbase, which Tehran had granted Moscow near the Iranian town of Hamedan, the Iranian defense ministry snatched the concession back in a public rebuff for Moscow. The Russians had presented its Iranian acquisition as the twin of the air base granted by Syria at Kmeimim near Latakia.

However, the Iranian defense ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi announced baldly on Monday that the Russian mission “is finished for now.” He added that the Russian air strikes in Syria were "temporary, based on a Russian request;" they were carried out with "mutual understanding and with Iran's permission" and that the Russian mission "is finished, for now.” Iranian sources claimed that this stinging slap to the Kremlin was prompted by mounting Iranian popular and parliamentary criticism ...

Israel continues to attack terrorist targets in Gaza in response to a rocket explosion in Sderot.

2016-08-17

Morning Report: 2016-08-17

North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production. 'North Korea says it has resumed plutonium production by reprocessing spent fuel rods and has no plans to stop nuclear tests as long as perceived U.S. threats remain, Japan's Kyodo news agency reported on Wednesday. ...'

Munich raises beerfest security after jihadi threats. 'Organizers of the world's biggest beer festival, Munich's Oktoberfest, have raised security after Islamist attacks in Germany last month, including banning rucksacks, introducing security checks at all entrances and erecting fencing. ...'

Leaked Soros memo on refugee crisis. 'A leaked memo from left-wing financier George Soros’s Open Society Foundations argues that Europe’s refugee crisis should be accepted as a “new normal,” and that the refugee crisis means “new opportunities” for Soros’ organization to influence immigration policies on a global scale. ...'

2016-08-14

Morning Report: 2016-08-14

Hafiz Saeed Khan gets his virgins. Islamic State's emir for Khorasan province (eastern Afghanistan) was killed in a July 26 airstrike in Nangarhar, the US military has confirmed. LWJ observes that 'Khan and his followers were so violent in Nangarhar that he even alienated Abdul Rahim Muslim Dost, a former Guantanamo Bay detainee who served as an unofficial spokesman for Khorasan province.'. Stratfor adds that 'Khan's death has been falsely reported before, but Afghan Ambassador Omar Zakhilwal said he had confirmation from security forces.'

Russia / Turkey rapprochement. Late last week, Turkish and Russian officials met in St. Petersburg to discuss cooperation on economic and Middle East issues (chiefly the Syria situation).

Totten: Iran payment wasn't ransom ... ... but it was ransom.

Simon: Which is worse ... ... an October surprise or a December surprise?

2016-03-03

Cruz, Trump, and Open Primaries

Citing Michael Harrington's post, the Washington Post observes that so far, Donald Trump has fared well in open-primary states (such as South Carolina) while Ted Cruz has won three of the four closed-primary states (Iowa, Oklahoma, and Alaska, with Nevada going to Trump).

US primary elections, in which each party chooses its respective candidate for the Presidential election in November, are held throughout the 50 states on varying dates. Rules regarding the primary process vary from state to state.

In a state with "open primaries",  any eligible voter may vote in either party's primary, regardless of the voter's own affiliation.  In such states, it's possible for voters to vote in the opposing party's primary, and damage that party's chances by choosing a weak candidate.

And that's what may have happened here:  Democrats in South Carolina may have voted for Trump in the Republican primary, because they are confident that he will lose the election to their own candidate, presumably Hillary Clinton.

Harrington concludes that Trump's victories in open-primary states were largely attributable to Democrats voting for Trump in Republican primaries.

The good news for Cruz, according to the Post's Zywicki, is that most of the upcoming primaries - and all of those being held this Saturday, March 15 (Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maine) - are closed.  So this may be Cruz's chance to pull ahead - without interference from Democrat voters.

"If we don't have a country, we don't have trans issues."

Caitlyn Jenner favors Ted Cruz for President, and would like to serve as his trans ambassador, according to reports. 

This is being reported in the appropriate sneering tones by the leftist press, of course, but better understanding between transgender people and conservatives would certainly be a good thing.  (Good for everybody except leftists, of course.) 

While this draws a puzzled "Wait, what?" from the towering intellects at the Huffington Post, Caitlyn herself puts the issues pretty clearly in the People article:

"I get it. The Democrats are better when it comes to these types of social issues. I understand that," she said, but countered, "Number one, if we don't have a country, we don't have trans issues. We need jobs. We need a vibrant economy. I want every trans person to have a job. With $19 trillion in debt and it keeps going up, we're spending money we don't have. Eventually, it's going to end. And I don't want to see that. Socialism did not build this country. Capitalism did. Free enterprise. The people built it. And they need to be given the opportunity to build it back up."
 Queer issues matter, but they're not the only issues that matter.  It's unfortunately still true that many conservatives are behind in their understanding of lesbian, gay, and transgender people, but there's opportunity for dialog.  Queer folk will gain if they do not tie their fortunes exclusively to the leftist star; conservatives will gain if they understand that queer folk do not want to "destroy society" but rather want the same things the rest of us want:  dignity, liberty, and the right to earn their own place in the world.

2016-03-01

Twelve Years and Counting

Next month will mark 12 years of posting hear at DiL.  The last few years have been off-and-on, and I'm looking forward to getting back into blogging.

Within the past year I've made two trips overseas to places I really wanted to visit:  Iraqi Kurdistan, and the African Jewish communities of Kenya and Uganda.  In the coming year I expect to be getting more involved in local politics (no, I'm NOT running for office!) and focusing on the areas of current events that interest me the most.

I plan to be writing primarily about Israel and the Middle East, Africa, the global jihad threat, the free market vs. socialism, classical liberal values, USA politics, Oregon politics, and Western lands issues.  I'll also probably write on science, books, music, and social issues from time to time.

Thanks for reading, and stay tuned.

2016-01-01

Tel Aviv Shooting Attack

Debka:
A gunman in black opened automatic fire on crowds outside the Dioz Bar, on Dizengoff Street in central Tel Aviv Friday, Jan. 1, injuring 10 people, two of whom died of gunshot wounds and four were seriously injured. He escaped as large police and security forces reached the scene. They have cast a wide net to hunt the killer in the neighboring streets up to the seaside promenade. Police officials decline at this point to determine whether the gunman was a Palestinian or Islamic terrorist or a criminal murderer. ...
Arutz Sheva:
The shooting took place at Dizengoff 122, close to Dizengoff Center Mall, as the area was packed with people. It began at a popular pub, and the attacker reportedly shot at several other institutions as well as at pedestrians walking along the street....
 Stratfor reports that 'two witnesses said a person dressed in black and wearing a black mask carried out the attack with what appeared to be a military-style assault rifle.'

2015-12-03

Why They Fought

Then and now.

John Gallagher, Jr. (d. 2015):
Why the War in Kurdistan Matters

First, let me get the obvious out of the way: I do not expect anyone to agree that it is a wise course of action to volunteer to fight against ISIS. Would-be terrorists from all over the world, including Canada, (including some I probably went to school with,) are flooding into the Middle East by the thousands. They’ve got the numbers and the weapons to win this war, so to go stand on the other side of the battlefield is objectively insane.

I also respect the viewpoint that the last thing any westerners ought to do is get involved in another Middle Eastern conflict. We’ve already done tremendous damage to the region; the rise of ISIS is a direct result of foreign policy blunders by the last two Presidents (at least!). If you think that for the good of the region we should all sit this one out, I can understand that. But I can’t agree.

The cause of a free and independent Kurdistan is important enough to be worth fighting for all on its own. The Kurdish people are the largest ethnicity in the world without a country of their own, and have suffered enormously under the boot-heel of regional powers. Now they are under threat from another genocidal foe, yet they have not given themselves over to the joint manias of religious fanaticism and suicide murder. This should be enough reason for the West to give them whatever support they need in such a time of crisis. But there is an even better reason.

For decades now, we have been at war. This war has been unacknowledged by our leaders, but enthusiastically proclaimed by our enemies. This war has produced casualties on every continent, in nearly every nation on earth. It has had periods of intense fighting, followed by long stretches of rearming and regrouping, but it has never ended. It is not even close to being won. Someday historians will look back and marvel at how much effort we put into deceiving ourselves about the nature of this conflict, and wonder how we convinced ourselves that it was not even taking place. This war may have started in 1979, or earlier; 2001 increased the intensity of the conflict; the withdrawal from Iraq kicked off the latest phase. Like the American Civil War, World War II, and the Cold War, this war is about ideas as much as it is about armies. Slavery, fascism, and communism were all bad ideas which required costly sacrifice before they were finally destroyed. In our time, we have a new bad idea: Theocracy.

We live in a society that’s grown around a very basic philosophical principle: That the world around us can be understood using our senses and our minds. From this simple insight comes the moral revelation that all human beings are equal in this capacity, and therefore equal in dignity. This radical idea was the turning point in human history, before which all civilizations had been dominated by the idea that class hierarchies and racism were perfectly justified according to the revealed wisdom of ancient texts, and sanctified by holy men with a special relationship to some ‘divine’ power. We began to see justice as something which could be measured by its effects on living people, not as superstition.

This idea has been under threat ever since its inception, because it’s the most powerful force for human emancipation that has ever been, and so it is a deadly threat to the privileged. It is also a threat to those who fear a world where human beings must be the judges of our own actions. Some prefer to subordinate their own morality to a doctrine they know they can never fully understand; this is more agreeable than facing the thought that we are alone in this world. This terror at our own freedom, and hatred for the mind that makes its realization inescapable, has given birth to movements that promise to give us back our comforting delusions. Communism and fascism were both answers to the problem of human freedom. These ideas were defeated. But always in the background the germ of these ideas was aggressively breeding. Theocracy isn’t just as dangerous as fascism; it’s the model of fascism, and all totalitarianisms. Communism said ‘instead of god, the Party.’ Fascism said, ‘instead of god, the Nation!’ Theocracy simply says ‘God.’

There is nothing uniquely Islamic about this trend, except that it just so happens that the most violent proponents of theocracy today happen to be Muslim. In the 1500’s, it was the Christians. By hard fighting and a brave defense of our principles, the forces of secularism managed to wrestle control of European society away from the theocrats, and we have been fighting the regressive movements that have tried to take their place ever since. The Muslim world has been dominated by theocratic politics for decades now, and that war has overflowed to engulf the rest of the world.

We are all on the front lines of this conflict, whether we know it or not. We can measure the causalities not only in the body counts of deadly terror attacks, ‘mass demonstrations,’ embassy assaults and assassinated artists; we can also measure it in the terror produced among cartoonists, satirists, publishers and booksellers, news media and educators who are being prevented from doing their necessary work of maintaining the machinery of the enlightenment. Not only have we all been threatened; in many ways we are all already casualties of this war.

The stance of pacifists and the appeasement left on this issue is not tolerance, but ironically, what it claims to oppose: fearmongering, and even ‘Islamophobia,’ since it betrays their utter terror of offending the sensibilities of immigrant communities and the so-called ‘community leaders’ who are presumed to give them their marching orders. Their pre-emptive apologism for barbarity betrays a deep contempt for the character of immigrant Muslims, since it presumes that they enjoy their mental oppression and prefer the moral stagnation of sharia law and the hadith to the pleasures of an open, cosmopolitan, secular society.

I have met plenty of self-described Muslims who have never even read the Qur’an, don’t care what it has to say about the role of women or the punishment for blasphemy, who don’t know or care how Muhammad treated prisoners of war, or how he dealt with dissenting poets in Mecca. That’s fine. I personally wish they would learn a bit about those last points and take more responsibility for the company they keep, but the point is that they are not an active part of the problem. Yet elements of our government are perfectly willing to accept that thuggishness is something we must automatically and un-judgmentally expect from Muslims, that it is US who must accommodate ourselves to THEM. What we need here is more historical education, not cultural sensitivity.

The war that is ongoing in the Middle East is a war against theocracy. In many ways it is a civil war, and I believe more depends on its outcome than anyone in power is prepared to face. But it is also a distant front in a civil war within Western society, since we are sending troops to fight on both sides. And here the stakes may be even greater. Our war is not just about theocracy; it is between those who still believe in the enlightenment, that self-determination is the most basic and most crucial of all human rights, that the first duty of every man in society is to defend the mechanisms by which we make ourselves free; and those who ultimately lack the capacity to believe in anything. These people have been corrupted by the masochistic fables circulated by leftists and identity politicians that tell us Western society is inherently racist, inherently sexist, and inherently imperialist, when it is Western society which pioneered the ideas that racism, sexism, and imperialism might be a problem in the first place.

Because of our beliefs, we live in the most racially inclusive, sexually liberated, and anti-imperialist society which has ever existed in human history, and to teach young people anything different is a criminal act of intellectual violence. And the crisis we face today is the direct result of this ‘progressive’ thinking: we are now under threat by those who take advantage of the masochism and apathy fostered by the left to recruit people who will take a violently affirmative ideology over nihilistic pessimism, even or especially if that means committing atrocities that would make the average ‘imperialist’ vomit. Those who contribute to this environment of moral decay and vulnerability are the useful idiots of jihad and fellow travelers of theocracy, and it is the duty of thinking persons to oppose their influence by every means at our disposal.

I was raised in a fundamentalist religious environment. If today I have any intellectual or spiritual existence worth fighting for, it is because it was impossible for the religious forces in my life to have their way and shield me from the assaults of reason and conscience. They could teach me that evolution was a lie, but they couldn’t prevent me from reading about it or prohibit the public schools from teaching it. They could tell me blasphemy was a sin, but they couldn’t prevent me from sneaking Monty Python and South Park. The mechanisms of society, in other words, gave me the tools by which I could make myself free. They saved my life. Who safeguards the social machinery now? Only an overbred political elite and intelligentsia who burble about the urgent need to never give offense. This is not only a disgraceful failure; it is a national emergency.

Like theocracy today, fascism used to be an international movement, with fascist parties in every western country. Then World War II happened. Nazi Germany became the standard-bearer of fascism, and when it was crushed, the movement wasn’t just destroyed, it was discredited for all time. Ironically, the rise of ISIS gives us the same chance now. We have the ability to eradicate jihadism in our lifetime. The terrorists’ own playbook sees the taking and holding of territory as a necessary step to discredit Western democracy and prove that the Caliphate is a real political possibility in the 21st century. We have to prove that it is not. And like we did with Nazi Germany, we must crush it with overwhelming, unrelenting force. We have to take it while the mass graves are still fresh, while there are still survivors to give testimony to the atrocities they’ve witnessed, while the murderers are still around to be put on trial. Only by destroying ISIS without mercy can we discredit the idea, and force the would-be jihadis and fellow-travelers to give up their insane dreams of a new Mecca and join the modern world.

I’m prepared to give my life in the cause of averting the disaster we are stumbling towards as a civilization. A free Kurdistan would be good enough cause for any internationalist, but we are fortunate enough to be able to risk our necks for something more important and more righteous than anything we’ve faced in generations. With some fortitude and guts, we can purge the sickness that’s poisoning our society, and come together to defeat this ultimate evil. I’ve been fighting this battle in one way or another for my entire life. I hope for success. The rest is in the hands of the gods.
Via Facebook.


Mark J. Daily (d. 2007):
Sunday, October 29, 2006

WHY I JOINED
Current mood: optimistic

Why I Joined:

This question has been asked of me so many times in so many different contexts that I thought it would be best if I wrote my reasons for joining the Army on my page for all to see. First, the more accurate question is why I volunteered to go to Iraq. After all, I joined the Army a week after we declared war on Saddam’s government with the intention of going to Iraq. Now, after years of training and preparation, I am finally here.

Much has changed in the last three years. The criminal Ba’ath regime has been replaced by an insurgency fueled by Iraq’s neighbors who hope to partition Iraq for their own ends. This is coupled with the ever present transnational militant Islamist movement which has seized upon Iraq as the greatest way to kill Americans, along with anyone else they happen to be standing near. What was once a paralyzed state of fear is now the staging ground for one of the largest transformations of power and ideology the Middle East has experienced since the collapse of the Ottoman Empire. Thanks to Iran, Syria, and other enlightened local actors, this transformation will be plagued by interregional hatred and genocide. And I am now in the center of this.

Is this why I joined?

Yes. Much has been said about America’s intentions in overthrowing Saddam Hussein and seeking to establish a new state based upon political representation and individual rights. Many have framed the paradigm through which they view the conflict around one-word explanations such as “oil” or “terrorism,” favoring the one which best serves their political persuasion. I did the same thing, and anyone who knew me before I joined knows that I am quite aware and at times sympathetic to the arguments against the war in Iraq. If you think the only way a person could bring themselves to volunteer for this war is through sheer desperation or blind obedience then consider me the exception (though there are countless like me).

I joined the fight because it occurred to me that many modern day “humanists” who claim to possess a genuine concern for human beings throughout the world are in fact quite content to allow their fellow “global citizens” to suffer under the most hideous state apparatuses and conditions. Their excuses used to be my excuses. When asked why we shouldn’t confront the Ba’ath party, the Taliban or the various other tyrannies throughout this world, my answers would allude to vague notions of cultural tolerance (forcing women to wear a veil and stay indoors is such a quaint cultural tradition), the sanctity of national sovereignty (how eager we internationalists are to throw up borders to defend dictatorships!) or even a creeping suspicion of America’s intentions. When all else failed, I would retreat to my fragile moral ecosystem that years of living in peace and liberty had provided me. I would write off war because civilian casualties were guaranteed, or temporary alliances with illiberal forces would be made, or tank fuel was toxic for the environment. My fellow “humanists” and I would relish contently in our self righteous declaration of opposition against all military campaigns against dictatorships, congratulating one another for refusing to taint that aforementioned fragile moral ecosystem that many still cradle with all the revolutionary tenacity of the members of Rage Against the Machine and Greenday. Others would point to America’s historical support of Saddam Hussein, sighting it as hypocritical that we would now vilify him as a thug and a tyrant. Upon explaining that we did so to ward off the fiercely Islamist Iran, which was correctly identified as the greater threat at the time, eyes are rolled and hypocrisy is declared. Forgetting that America sided with Stalin to defeat Hitler, who was promptly confronted once the Nazis were destroyed, America’s initial engagement with Saddam and other regional actors is identified as the ultimate argument against America’s moral crusade.

And maybe it is. Maybe the reality of politics makes all political action inherently crude and immoral. Or maybe it is these adventures in philosophical masturbation that prevent people from ever taking any kind of effective action against men like Saddam Hussein. One thing is for certain, as disagreeable or as confusing as my decision to enter the fray may be, consider what peace vigils against genocide have accomplished lately. Consider that there are 19 year old soldiers from the Midwest who have never touched a college campus or a protest who have done more to uphold the universal legitimacy of representative government and individual rights by placing themselves between Iraqi voting lines and homicidal religious fanatics. Often times it is less about how clean your actions are and more about how pure your intentions are.

So that is why I joined. In the time it took for you to read this explanation, innocent people your age have suffered under the crushing misery of tyranny. Every tool of philosophical advancement and communication that we use to develop our opinions about this war are denied to countless human beings on this planet, many of whom live under the regimes that have, in my opinion, been legitimately targeted for destruction. Some have allowed their resentment of the President to stir silent applause for setbacks in Iraq. Others have ironically decried the war because it has tied up our forces and prevented them from confronting criminal regimes in Sudan, Uganda, and elsewhere.

I simply decided that the time for candid discussions of the oppressed was over, and I joined.

In digesting this posting, please remember that America’s commitment to overthrow Saddam Hussein and his sons existed before the current administration and would exist into our future children’s lives had we not acted. Please remember that the problems that plague Iraq today were set in motion centuries ago and were up until now held back by the most cruel of cages. Don’t forget that human beings have a responsibility to one another and that Americans will always have a responsibility to the oppressed. Don’t overlook the obvious reasons to disagree with the war but don’t cheapen the moral aspects either. Assisting a formerly oppressed population in converting their torn society into a plural, democratic one is dangerous and difficult business, especially when being attacked and sabotaged from literally every direction. So if you have anything to say to me at the end of this reading, let it at least include “Good Luck”

Mark Daily
Via Michelle Malkin.

2015-11-30

Linkage: 2015-11-30 Monday

Jewish Kurds hold commemoration in Erbil.
A ceremony marking the deportation of Jews from Iraq seven decades ago was held for the first time on Monday in the country's autonomous Kurdish region. ... According to Mamsani, the ceremony is the first of its kind and marks what is known as the "Farhud", the bloody, Nazi-inspire Arab pogrom that led to the flight and deportation of Jews from Iraq.

UN official visits Erbil, learns about refugees.
As the war against the Islamic State passes the 15-month mark and the Syrian conflict approaches its fifth year, many displaced families have now exhausted their savings, finding themselves increasingly reliant on humanitarian assistance, while at the same time donor funding is decreasing. The Kurdistan Region's financial crisis is worsening an already dire situation, aid workers warn. Iraqi Kurdistan has provided a safe haven for refugees from Arab Iraq since the onslaught of Daesh in the spring of last year, but the strain on the economy and resources is severe.

Iran denies links to alleged Quds Force spies detained in Kenya.
Iran has denied any connection to two Kenyans arrested on charges of spying for the Islamic Republic as part of its elite Quds Force. The two are also accused of plotting attacks against Western targets in Nairobi.

Red World Space Car.
This is a space car that drives around on the red world near Earth. ...

In Nigeria, resurgence of Biafran nationalism.
The 1967-70 conflict followed a secessionist attempt by the eastern Igbo people. Most of the million who lost their lives died from starvation and illness rather than violence. Now, like then, Igbos say they have been marginalized - excluded from key government posts and denied vital funding for infrastructure development, schools and hospitals. ...