Wednesday, 17 September 2014

How ISIS Works - NYTimes.com

How ISIS Works - NYTimes.com

The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has a detailed structure that encompasses many functions and jurisdictions, according to ISIS documents seized by Iraqi forces and seen by American officials and Hashim Alhashimi, an Iraqi researcher. Many of its leaders are former officers from Saddam Hussein’s long-disbanded army who augmented their military training with terrorist techniques during years of fighting American troops...

Saturday, 13 September 2014

Five Hidden Risks of U.S. Action Against the Islamic State - Syria in Crisis - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Five Hidden Risks of U.S. Action Against the Islamic State - Syria in Crisis - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

U.S. President Barack Obama’s four-pronged strategy of air strikes, support to local proxies, defense against the Islamic State’s attacks through intelligence and counterterrorism, and humanitarian assistance leaves many unanswered questions. It’s hardly a clear articulation of the sort of long-term, holistic strategy needed to deny the Islamic State the fertile ground it needs to thrive. The approach is fraught with trade-offs, risks, and hidden costs that need to be addressed.

  1. The focus on targeting the Islamic State’s leadership...

Wednesday, 10 September 2014

ISS Africa | THINK AGAIN: In defence of the African Union

ISS Africa | THINK AGAIN: In defence of the African Union

The African Union (AU) gets a lot of flak. Critics often argue that it is slow to respond to security threats; that it prioritises power over justice; and that it fails to adequately represent the needs of this continent’s 1,11 billion citizens.

The continental organisation is often dismissed as a talk shop for tyrants, or depicted as an ineffectual, lumbering bureaucracy that worries more about per diems than it does about Africa’s most pressing political problems.

There is merit to some of these critiques. But they don’t tell the whole story, and they leave out the good bits. It is time to give credit where credit is due, and to recognise that – as imperfect as it may be – Africa is in much better shape with the AU than without it...

Monday, 8 September 2014

Ebola: Misinformation can spread like virus

Ebola: Misinformation can spread like virus

Much of the reporting around ebola is rife with rumours and misconceptions. In my experience, there seem to be three main popular misconceptions around the viral outbreak. The first is that it is easy to contract ebola. Due to the gruesome nature in which the virus manifests itself in humans, people are understandably terrified of contracting ebola. Anecdotes abound about how people are scared of being on an airplane in the same confined space as anyone travelling from West Africa.  However, ebola is not airborne and cannot be contracted by simply sitting beside someone and breathing the same air. Concern Worldwide have dedicated staff on the ground in both Sierra Leone and Liberia, none of whom have contracted the virus or come even close....

Ebola: Eight facts about American perception and West African reality - The Washington Post

Ebola: Eight facts about American perception and West African reality - The Washington Post

The Washington Post’s Todd C. Frankel writes about what it takes to leave some West African airports: a normal temperature. The cold calculation of health is many travelers’ ticket out of the Ebola-ravaged region

Here’s more about the epidemic, our perception of Ebola in the United States and the reality abroad:

1.  The current Ebola epidemic has claimed more lives than all previous Ebola outbreaks combined.

As of last week, the number of suspected deaths (1,552) surpassed the number of confirmed deaths (1,548) from every outbreak since the disease was discovered in 1976, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention....

Monday, 1 September 2014

U.S. and Iran Unlikely Allies in Iraq Battle - NYTimes.com

U.S. and Iran Unlikely Allies in Iraq Battle - NYTimes.com

BAGHDAD — With American bombs raining down from the sky, Shiite militia fighters aligned with Iran battled Sunni extremists over the weekend, punching through their defenses to break the weekslong siege of Amerli, a cluster of farming villages whose Shiite residents faced possible slaughter.
The fight in northern Iraq appeared to be the first time American warplanes and militias backed by Iran had worked with a common purpose on a battlefield against militants from the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, even though the Obama administration said there was no direct coordination with the militias.
Should such military actions continue, they could signal a dramatic shift for the United States and Iran, which have long vied for control in Iraq. They could also align the interests of the Americans with their longtime sworn enemies in the Shiite militias, whose fighters killed many United States soldiers during the long occupation of Iraq...

Sunday, 31 August 2014

Backdrop to an Intervention: Sources of Egyptian-Libyan Border Tension - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Backdrop to an Intervention: Sources of Egyptian-Libyan Border Tension - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The airstrikes that Emirati forces with Egyptian support conducted against militia positions in Libya in late August 2014 were sparked by an anti-Islamist military campaign in eastern Libya.  The campaign, led by retired General Khalifa Hifter and a breakaway faction of the Libyan military, has profoundly altered Egyptian-Libyan relations. But the roots of Egyptian meddling in Libya run deeper than Hifter’s current operation.

Among Libya’s many afflictions, none is more threatening to Egypt than the two states’ nearly 700-mile-long shared border. Border policing in Libya has always been weak and ill-defined—even under Muammar Qaddafi—but it has suffered a catastrophic decline following the dictator’s overthrow in 2011. Oversight of borders has devolved to a constellation of eastern militias that are only tenuously connected to the government and that, in many cases, are colluding in the very smuggling they are meant to combat. The border is now North Africa’s eastern thoroughfare for weapons, fighters, illegal migrants, and illicit goods flowing into the Levant, with profoundly destabilizing effects on the Sinai, Gaza, and Syria..

Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Your dashboard | AviationClub

Your dashboard | AviationClub

 As a prospective student, you probably hear about instrument training from more experienced students, and you might wonder what exactly “instrument” flying entails.

Instrument flying can seem like an elusive or abstract term if you’re not familiar with flying, but it quickly becomes clear as you learn the difference between VFR and IFR, or VMC and IMC. Even seasoned pilots tend to use these terms incorrectly, so don’t feel too bad if you don’t know exactly what they mean.  Let’s take a look at what all of this means...
 

Monday, 18 August 2014

Is the World Falling Apart? - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

Is the World Falling Apart? - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

The world can be an awfully dangerous and unpredictable place. As news was breaking that the United States initiated airstrikes against militants in Iraq, fears were mounting about the Russian troops amassed near the border with Ukraine, momentarily eclipsing headlines of the war in Gaza, the insurgency in Syria, tensions in Asia, and other global concerns. And every day seems to bring more bad news as instability rages on. But is the level of turmoil really unique? Or does it just feel like it?

Carnegie experts from around the world assess the situation and today’s foremost geopolitical hotspots. It’s some much-needed sober analysis during heady times....

Saturday, 16 August 2014

By Sea and by Ladder, Africans Seek Entry to Spain - NYTimes.com

By Sea and by Ladder, Africans Seek Entry to Spain - NYTimes.com

Migrants from Africa continued to pour across the Mediterranean this week, and Spain’s sea rescue service picked up 681 people traveling in 70 small boats across the Strait of Gibraltar. Above, a Red Cross worker helped with a feeding at a sports center in the Spanish port of Tarifa. Below, new arrivals stormed border fences with ladders to try to enter Spain’s northwest African enclave of Melilla from Morocco. Around 50 stayed on one of the fences for hours...

Friday, 8 August 2014

Billions promised to Africa - here's how it would be spent | Africa | Africa | Mail & Guardian

Billions promised to Africa - here's how it would be spent | Africa | Africa | Mail & Guardian

"IT is summit season in Africa. The US-Africa Leaders Summit is the second major meeting this year, following the EU-Africa summit in March, and comes hot on the heels of similar summits with France, Japan and Arab nations last year.

Later this year India will hold its second triennial summit with African leaders, as Beijing’s flagship Forum on China-Africa Co-operation waits in the wings for next year.

These summits have recently been similar in that they are carefully wrapped in varying degrees of “co-operation” and “equal partnership” talk, but despite this the headlines are usually around the money and investment promised.

We take a look at the numbers announced so far: (Quoted exchange rates reflect the time the deal was announced.)

1: United States, ($33-billion), August 2014

President Barack Obama has become the first American leader to convene a summit of such magnitude with African heads of state, with the US-Africa summit themed around investment, security and rights issues.

On Tuesday, Obama announced $33-billion in commitments, with American companies planning $14-billion worth of investments in Africa, and his Power Africa drawing an additional $12-billion in commitments to go with the initial $7-billion it had attracted..."

What the Gaza War Means for the Middle East - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

What the Gaza War Means for the Middle East - Carnegie Endowment for International Peace

With intensifying international pressure to end hostilities, a brief lull in fighting currently prevails in Gaza. But a formal ceasefire between Israel and Hamas has proven elusive and the death toll continues to mount following sporadic attacks.

Carnegie experts assess how the crisis will impact Palestinians, Israelis, and the rest of the Middle East.