black holes and gray matter. in one thousand tangos.

             

"Unlike other terrorist groups, ISIS has grown into a sophisticated military force and is estimated to have between 10,000 and 20,000 fighters. The group now firmly controls large swaths of territory in both Syria and Iraq.”

"The threat ISIS poses cannot be overstated. This is the most vicious, well-funded and militant terrorist organization we have ever seen, and it is very quickly consolidating its power. "

"In total, the U.N. reports at least 693 child casualties at the hands of ISIS this year. And at least 2,250 women and children are currently detained by the group.

ISIS has killedenslaved and captured thousands in its efforts at ethnic cleansing, including the Yazidis in Sinjar and the Turkmen in Amerli. Overall, more than a million Iraqis have been displaced.”

"There is an extremely high level of organization in ISIS operations and ISIS-controlled territory, almost reminiscent of a military dictatorship. ISIS controls extensive resources, military vehicles, heavy weapons and border crossings between Iraq and Syria. It has become a de facto terrorist state. Experts estimate that ISIS now has cash and assets worth $2 billion. ISIS adds as much as $1 million per day through extortion, crime, ransom and even the sale of oil on the black market from the several oil fields it controls. …

I understand that many Americans don’t want to become mired in another war. The conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq have claimed thousands of American lives and cost more than $1 trillion. But Americans need to understand ISIS’ degree of viciousness as well as what will happen in the absence of U.S. leadership and action.

If the United States fails to unite and lead the world against ISIS’ horrific goals, we could suffer the consequences for decades to come.”

Sen. Diane Feinstein: Confront ISIS Now

“She came into Baghdad after months in one of the world’s most forbidding deserts, a stoic, diminutive 45-year-old English woman with her small band of men. She had been through lawless lands, held at gunpoint by robbers, taken prisoner in a city that no Westerner had seen for 20 years.
It was a hundred years ago, a few months before the outbreak of World War I. Baghdad was under a regime loyal to the Ottoman Turks. The Turkish authorities in Constantinople had reluctantly given the persistent woman permission to embark on her desert odyssey, believing her to be an archaeologist and Arab scholar, as well as being a species of lunatic English explorer that they had seen before.
She was, in fact, a spy and her British masters had told her that if she got into trouble they would disclaim responsibility for her. Less than 10 years later Gertrude Bell would be back in Baghdad, having rigged an election, installed a king loyal to the British, re-organized the government, and fixed the borders on the map of a new Iraq. As much as anyone can be, Gertrude Bell could be said to have devised the country that nobody can make work as a country for very long—no more so than now.”
Gertrude of Arabia, the Woman Who Invented Iraq

She came into Baghdad after months in one of the world’s most forbidding deserts, a stoic, diminutive 45-year-old English woman with her small band of men. She had been through lawless lands, held at gunpoint by robbers, taken prisoner in a city that no Westerner had seen for 20 years.

It was a hundred years ago, a few months before the outbreak of World War I. Baghdad was under a regime loyal to the Ottoman Turks. The Turkish authorities in Constantinople had reluctantly given the persistent woman permission to embark on her desert odyssey, believing her to be an archaeologist and Arab scholar, as well as being a species of lunatic English explorer that they had seen before.

She was, in fact, a spy and her British masters had told her that if she got into trouble they would disclaim responsibility for her. Less than 10 years later Gertrude Bell would be back in Baghdad, having rigged an election, installed a king loyal to the British, re-organized the government, and fixed the borders on the map of a new Iraq. As much as anyone can be, Gertrude Bell could be said to have devised the country that nobody can make work as a country for very long—no more so than now.”

Gertrude of Arabia, the Woman Who Invented Iraq

FP: Top 10 Lessons of the Iraq War

Lesson #1:  The United States lost.

Lesson #2: It’s not that hard to hijack the United States into a war.

Lesson #3: The United States gets in big trouble when the “marketplace of ideas” breaks down and when the public and our leadership do not have an open debate about what to do.

Lesson #4: The secularism and middle-class character of Iraqi society was overrated. 

Lesson #5: Don’t listen to ambitious exiles. 

Lesson #6: It’s very hard to improvise an occupation.

Lesson #7:  Don’t be surprised when adversaries act to defend their own interests, and in ways we won’t like. 

Lesson #8: Counterinsurgency warfare is ugly and inevitably leads to war crimes, atrocities, or other forms of abuse.

Lesson #9: Better “planning” may not be the answer.

Lesson #10: Rethink U.S. grand strategy, not just tactics or methods.

Read on.

thedailywhat:

This Is Important, You Should Know About It of the Day: Over the weekend, troubling allegations have emerged of many Iraqi teenagers being stoned to death for dressing in “emo fashion.”
Scores of teens wearing skinny pants and graphic tees, and sporting a signature “emo style” haircut have allegedly been clobbered with cinder blocks [warning: graphic images] by members of Iraq’s “moral police.”
Though the number might be lower — Reuters put the death toll at 14 — the terrifying trend appears to have at least a measure of consent from Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which suggests it could get much worse.
“[The Moral Police] have official approval to eliminate them as soon as possible, because the dimensions of the community began to take another course, and is now threatening danger,” read a statement from the ministry, which also compared “the Emo phenomenon” to “devil worshipping.” […]
[photo: nyt.]

Read on.

thedailywhat:

This Is Important, You Should Know About It of the Day: Over the weekend, troubling allegations have emerged of many Iraqi teenagers being stoned to death for dressing in “emo fashion.”

Scores of teens wearing skinny pants and graphic tees, and sporting a signature “emo style” haircut have allegedly been clobbered with cinder blocks [warning: graphic images] by members of Iraq’s “moral police.”

Though the number might be lower — Reuters put the death toll at 14 — the terrifying trend appears to have at least a measure of consent from Iraq’s Interior Ministry, which suggests it could get much worse.

“[The Moral Police] have official approval to eliminate them as soon as possible, because the dimensions of the community began to take another course, and is now threatening danger,” read a statement from the ministry, which also compared “the Emo phenomenon” to “devil worshipping.” []

[photo: nyt.]

Read on.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is the world’s biggest and most expansive embassy. The $700 million fortified compound is visible from space, larger than the Vatican and employs almost 4000 people. The buildings include “a movie theater, retail shops, restaurants, schools and a fire station. Iraqis still struggle with constant blackouts but inside the embassy compound, power, water treatment, sewage treatment and telecommunications facilities offer self-sufficiency for more than 1,000 diplomats stationed there.”
I was only able to find a handful of photos of “Fortress America”. Above: Woodkern.

The U.S. Embassy in Iraq is the world’s biggest and most expansive embassy. The $700 million fortified compound is visible from space, larger than the Vatican and employs almost 4000 people. The buildings includea movie theater, retail shops, restaurants, schools and a fire station. Iraqis still struggle with constant blackouts but inside the embassy compound, power, water treatment, sewage treatment and telecommunications facilities offer self-sufficiency for more than 1,000 diplomats stationed there.”

I was only able to find a handful of photos of “Fortress America”. Above: Woodkern.

NG: Saddam Hussein’s chrome-plated Kalashnikov AK-47 is one of 540 stolen Iraqi artifacts recently returned to the country. More than 30,000 looted Iraqi antiquities and artworks have been confiscated inside and outside the country since 2003, according to the New York Times, but the total number is anyone’s guess. "We’ll never be able to determine how many pieces have been stolen, because many of the pieces were taken clandestinely from archaeological sites." - archaeologist Brian Rose

NG: Saddam Hussein’s chrome-plated Kalashnikov AK-47 is one of 540 stolen Iraqi artifacts recently returned to the country. More than 30,000 looted Iraqi antiquities and artworks have been confiscated inside and outside the country since 2003, according to the New York Times, but the total number is anyone’s guess. "We’ll never be able to determine how many pieces have been stolen, because many of the pieces were taken clandestinely from archaeological sites." - archaeologist Brian Rose

©2011 Kateoplis