France launches first air strikes on IS in Iraq

BBC, September 19

French jets have carried out their first strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq, the office of President Francois Hollande says.

A statement said planes had attacked an IS depot in north-east Iraq, and there would be more raids in the coming days.

The US has carried out more than 170 [...]

A Climate of Unaccountability

They’re back! John McCain, Lindsey Graham, Bill Kristol, Dick Cheney – the people who pushed the U.S. into the devastating mistake that was the 2003 invasion of Iraq, have discovered yet another existential threat ready and able to destroy the world. Back then it was Saddam Hussein and his mythical cache of Weapons of Mass [...]

Watch and weep

The covert origins of ISIS.

US ‘set to launch air strikes’ on senior Isis terror chiefs in Syria

White House will ‘take action’ against threats as Turkey comes under pressure to halt flow of jihadists across its border

The Observer, By Toby Helm & Martin Chulov, August 23

The United States was said to be considering air strikes aimed at eliminating individual leaders of Islamic State as Turkey came under mounting pressure to [...]

Turkey’s Premier Is Proclaimed Winner of Presidential Election

New York Times, By Ceylan Yeginsu & Sebnem Arsu, August 10

Istanbul – Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who has led Turkey for more than a decade, is set to become the country’s first popularly elected president, apparently cruising to a victory on Sunday that positioned him to be the dominant political figure here for [...]

Islamic State kills 270 in Syrian gas field ‘massacre’

Militant jihadist group kills dozens of Syrian troops and workers in its largest attack yet on the regime

Reuters, July 19

Jihadists have killed 270 Syrian regime fighters, civilian security guards and employees since seizing a gas field in Homs province, a monitoring group said Friday.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights described Thursday’s takeover [...]

UK military’s secret plan to train Syrian rebels to topple Bashar al-Assad

General Sir David Richards’ bid for 100,000-strong force had support from US heavyweights but was shelved as too risky

The Guardian, By Ewen MacAskill, July 4

The British military drew up a secret plan two years ago to train a 100,000-strong Syrian rebel force aimed at toppling president Bashar al-Assad.

The plan was the brainchild [...]

Obama Proposes $500 Million to Aid Syrian Rebels

Program to Train and Equip Moderate Opposition Would Expand U.S. Role in Civil War.

The Wall Street Journal, By Julian E. Barnes, Adam Entous & Carol E. Lee, June 26

Washington — The White House on Thursday proposed a major program to train and arm moderate Syrian rebels, in a significant expansion of the U.S. [...]

Syrian warplanes reportedly strike in Iraq, killing 57 civilians

CNN, By Mohammed Tawfeeq, Holly Yan & Chelsea J. Carter, June 26

Baghdad – Reports that Syrian warplanes carried out a cross-border attack on Iraqi towns this week is further evidence of the blurring between the two countries’ borders as they face an offensive by Islamic extremists.

At least 57 Iraqi civilians were killed and [...]

UN says 10.8 million Syrians need humanitarian aid

AP, By Edith M. Lederer, June 21

United Nations – The humanitarian situation in Syria is worsening and the number of people needing urgent help has reached 10.8 million – almost half of Syria’s population of 22 million, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said Friday.

Ban’s monthly report to the U.N. Security Council said the current [...]

Well, At Least Someone’s War Will Be Paid for With Iraq Oil…

Just not ours:

Sunni militants hung their black banners on watchtowers at Iraq’s largest oil refinery, a witness said Thursday, suggesting an ever-increasing stranglehold on the vital facility by insurgents who have seized vast [...]

Iraqi PM asks for state of emergency after insurgents take Mosul

Fighters believed to be from ISIL have taken over most of Iraq’s second-largest city and freed 1,400 prisoners

Al Jazeera, June 11

Iraq’s Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has called on parliament to declare a state of emergency after armed fighters believed to be part of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) seized [...]

Four French journalists freed after Syria kidnapping

RFI, April 19

Four French journalists are safe and in good health, after being held hostage in Syria since June 2013. The hostages were found overnight Friday by Turkish soldiers on the border between Turkey and Syria, where they had been tied-up and blindfolded.

French President François Hollande declared his huge relief on Saturday, in [...]

Jordanian warplanes hit convoy entering from Syria

Jordan took the rare step of using airstrikes to stop a convoy of vehicles entering Jordan from Syria.

UPI, By Ed Adamczyk, April 17

Amman – In defending its border with Syria, Jordan took the unusual move of firing upon vehicles from the air that were crossing the border, destroying a convoy of three trucks.

[...]

The Red Line and the Rat Line

Seymour M. Hersh on Obama, Erdoğan and the Syrian rebels    h/t Michael Collins

LRB – …Why did Obama delay and then relent on Syria when he was not shy about rushing into Libya?

The answer lies in a clash between those in the administration who were committed to enforcing the red line, and [...]

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