A Bit More Detail

Assorted Personal Notations, Essays, and Other Jottings

Posts Tagged ‘iraq

[NEWS] Some Monday links

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  • Al Jazeera notes the Iraqi desire for foreign intervention, the problems with sex-offender registries, and the plight of former nuclear workers at Hanford in the United States.
  • Bloomberg observes Russian resistance to Western pressure and Ukrainian alliance-seeking, notes that Senegal was declared Ebola-free, looks at the terrible job market in Spain, observes competition in East Asia for wealthy Chinese immigrants, suggests that China’s one-child policy will be relaxed, and examines Turkey’s quiet border with the Islamic State.
  • Bloomberg View compares Russia and Germany in not prioritizing economic growth, looks at how Brookyln is the only borough of New York City to see its housing market recover, notes Turkey’s issues in the Arab world, and examines with problems of Petrobras with expensive deep-sea oil at a time of falling oli prices.
  • The Inter Press Service notes the critical role of mangroves in mitigating disasters and protecting fisheries, looks at ethnic conflict in China, finds hope for civil society in Cuba, suggests that HIV/AIDS can be controlled worldwide, and fears for Iraq’s minorities.
  • National Geographic notes North America’s threatened monarch butterfly migrations and examines Ebola as a zoonosis.
  • Open Democracy notes issues of British Jews with Israeli policy and looks at Russian economic policy.

[URBAN NOTE] “Baghdadis Stay Put in Belief Islamic State Can’t Take City”

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While I suspect that the Baghdadis interviewed by Bloomberg’s Aziz Alwan and Zaid Sabah are right, I also really really hope that they are entirely wrong. Terrible things–a mass expulsion of Sunnis from greater Baghdad?–are possible.

Each morning Majdi al-Dabbagh listens to the news to figure out if Islamic State is any closer to Baghdad. He has an escape route south planned for his family if the jihadist group manages to storm the Iraqi capital, yet sees no immediate need to flee.

“I’m afraid of hearing headlines saying that Da’esh are clashing or fighting in the streets of Baghdad,” the Sunni Muslim resident of the eastern Baladiyat neighborhood said in a phone interview, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. “All Baghdadis are scared right now. But in general, life is still normal.”

By staying put, al-Dabbagh is betting that Baghdad will be better defended than cities such as Mosul, seized by Islamic State after it routed the Iraqi army during a lightning advance across the north in June. Analysts say he’s probably right, with enough government forces and allied Shiite militias amassed around the capital, and backing from U.S. warplanes, to prevent an outright assault by the Sunni militant group.

“Baghdad isn’t Mosul and is the hardest domino to knock over,” Ramzy Mardini, a Jordan-based non-resident fellow at the Atlantic Council research group, said in an e-mailed reply to questions. “To overtake Shiite territory, especially a major city like Baghdad, the Islamic State would need far more military power than it has.”

There are about 120 Iraqi battalions stationed around the capital, according to Abdul Kareem Khalaf, an Iraqi military analyst and former interior ministry spokesman. While numerical superiority didn’t help the Iraqi army in Mosul, the mostly Shiite force faces less opposition from the public in Baghdad, and will get more support from irregulars.

On the outskirts of Baghdad, Shiite militias have set up checkpoints where masked men in black with automatic rifles stop and search vehicles. The largest groups include the Peace Brigade of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr and the League of the Righteous linked to Qassem Suleimani, head of foreign operations for the Iranian Revolutionary Guards.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 18, 2014 at 12:49 am

[LINK] “Conservative MPs approve combat mission in Iraq”

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It’s official: Canada is participating in the American-led intervention against the Islamic State. From the Canadian Press:

One by one, Conservative MPs in the House of Commons led by Prime Minister Stephen Harper voted late Tuesday to join the war in Iraq, passing a controversial motion that clears the way for Canadian CF-18s to embark on airstrikes in the Middle East.

After two days of debate, the motion to launch a combat mission against the militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant passed 157-134.

Some 155 Conservatives voted in favour of the motion, with the help of Independent MP Brent Rathgeber and Green MP Bruce Hyer, while the NDP and the Liberals were opposed. Liberal MP Irwin Cotler abstained from the vote.

Combat missions do not ordinarily require the approval of the House of Commons, but Harper himself promised any combat mission, including airstrikes, would be subject to a debate and a vote.

Canada had initially stayed out of the U.S.-led campaign against the now-notorious al-Qaida splinter group, which is currently in control of large swaths of territory in both Syria and Iraq.

A sustained bombing effort targeting ISIL positions began in August. The following month, Canada quietly announced it would provide up to 69 special forces “advisers” for 30 days to train Iraqi and Kurdish fighters currently battling the group. At last word, 26 of those troops were on the ground in Iraq.

Those soldiers will now be part of a sustained six-month campaign that includes as many as six CF-18 fighter-bombers, two CP-140 surveillance planes, one refuelling aircraft and 600 personnel, but which expressly excludes the possibility of additional ground forces.

I approve of the war, but I fear what will come.

Written by Randy McDonald

October 8, 2014 at 3:53 am

Posted in Canada, Politics

Tagged with , , , , ,

[BLOG] Some Monday linls

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  • blogTO notes the five longest TTC routes in Toronto.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze notes evidence that objects detected by Kepler are gravitationally bound to their parent stars.
  • The Dragon’s Tales tracks the migrations of raccoons and their kind from North to South America, and notes that Pacific Island nations are hoping to find places they can evacuate their populations to.
  • Joe. My. God. notes that the computer of the anti-gay papal nuncio to the Dominican Republic has been found to be filled with child porn, and observes apparent success in treating Ebola with HIV medications.
  • Language Log looks at gendered pronoun usage on Facebook.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money notes depression.
  • Marginal Revolution links to an article examining the lives of lightning survivors.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer looks at Russian-Ukrainian energy wars and isn’t hopeful for Ukraine.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog notes war-related mortality patterns in Iraq.
  • Savage Minds notes that anthropologists at the University of Chicago have played a leading role in getting that university to disengage from its Confucius Institute.
  • Torontoist notes how 1971 thinkers thought Toronto could be made more pleasant.
  • Towleroad considers if Britney Spears is a proper gay icon.
  • Window on Eurasia suggests the death of civic nationalism in Russia, notes the refugees in Ukraine displaced from the Donbas, suggests that there is sympathy in Tatarstan from Crimean Tatars, looks at Russian official support for the far right worldwide, and suggests that Eurasianism and Dugin are of falling importance.

[BLOG] Some Thursday links

  • blogTO shares photos of the Eaton Centre immediately after its opening in the 1970s.
  • Crooked Timber’s Chris Bertram comes out in favour of a federal United Kingdom.
  • The Dragon’s Tales notes that Australia is set to buy ten submarines from Japan.
  • Eastern Approaches picks up on the travails of the Crimean Tatars.
  • The Power and the Money’s Noel Maurer notes how Slovakia is a bad model for Scotland, not least because a large majority of Czechoslovaks wanted the country to survive.
  • The Russian Demographics Blog links to a study that has a frankly optimistic projection for Iraq’s Christian community over the next half-century or so.
  • Spacing Toronto’s John Lorinc describes Rob Ford’s trajectory as a Greek tragedy. I’m inclined to agree.
  • Torontoist and blogTO share reports of how Torontonians and others react to Rob Ford’s cancer diagnosis.
  • Towleroad notes European Union pressure on Serbia to improve its gay rights record.
  • Window on Eurasia notes the issues of Crimean Tatars as well and suggests that the Russian government maintains bad population statistics.

[NEWS] Some Monday links

  • Al Jazeera notes controversy over a proposed women-only beach in Turkey, suggests that Iraqi Sunnis are ready to fight against the Islamic State while observing Germany’s arming of the Kurds, notes the decision of France to halt its delivery of warships to Russia, warns of general concern in the Netherlands about Islamic State activism, notes the existential issues of a relatively declining American evangelical Christianity, and notes African immigration to Brazil.
  • Bloomberg suggests Russia wants to prevent Ukraine from integrating with the West, notes the strengthening of European Union sanctions against Russia, observes that Berlin has outstripped Rome as a tourist destination, examines Filipino insecurity vis-a-vis China, and looks at the booming Tokyo property market.
  • Bloomberg View, meanwhile argues that there is a job shortage not a “stagnation vacation” in developed countries, warns that right now closer links with NATO would harm Ukraine, and favours the strengthening of the European Union’s eastern perimeter.
  • MacLean’s notes NATO’s reorientation away from Afghanistan towards containing Russia.
  • National Geographic and Universe Today about both skeptical about reports of a meteorite impact in Nicaragua.
  • PBS notes a very unusual triple–possibly quadruple–star system.
  • Reuters notes Thailand’s efforts to encourage Chinese tourism.
  • Universe Today notes that planets in binary systems are more common than once thought and looks at the difficulties of landing Philae on its target comet.

[BLOG] Some Wednesday links

  • Anthropology.net reacts to the discovery of Neanderthal abstract carvings and what they say about the Neanderthal mind.
  • blogTO shares Toronto postcards from the 1980s and lists the five least used TTC subway stations.
  • Centauri Dreams reports that potentially habitable exoplanets Gliese 667Cc has been confirmed to exist.
  • Crooked Timber’s Corey Robin describes the continuing Steven Salaita affair, with another Crooked Timber post and one at Lawyers, Guns and Money providing more context.
  • The Dragon’s Gaze links to a paper placing HD 10180g in its star’s habitable zone and links to another making the case for the potential habitability of exomoons.
  • The Dragon’s Tales’ Will Baird is very concerned for the fate of Ukraine.
  • Language Log’s Victor Mair examines the pressing question of why Hello Kitty is not a cat.
  • Lawyers, Guns and Money looks at rape culture in England.
  • Marginal Revolution notes that Bolivians of different classes rarely marry each other and is relatively optimistic about the country’s future.
  • Spacing Toronto has a lovely picture of a track on a ride at the CNE under construction.
  • Window on Eurasia notes that Kazakhstan is ready to leave the Euriasian Union to protect its independence, argues that the Ukrainian war is sparing Tatarstan and North Caucasus attention, and examines the depopulation of Pskov oblast next to the Baltic States.
  • Yorkshire Ranter Alex Harrowell notes the strengths and weaknesses of the Islamic State as described in an article: a willingness to risk death isn’t always a plus.
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