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Posts Tagged ‘ Syria ’

The Evolution Of ISIS

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With $2 billion on hand the Islamic State is an extremely well-funded terrorist group that poses a major international crisis for the U.S. and the world.

They have come to prominence in recent months by carrying out large scale murders on Iraqi and Syrian soil while also using propaganda videos to show the beheadings of numerous western hostages and threatenin others in th process.

Last week Britain agreed to join a U.S led coalition backed heavily by countries from the Middle East as they attempt to destory ISIS once and for all. There is a long road ahead and with no British troops on the ground who knows if this mission will be successful.

This exclusive infographic from infographicworld.com depicts the rise to power of Islamic State and the effect they have had on society thus far.

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Some Fights Are Right: Obama’s IS Strategy

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Barack Obama has received criticism for his recent expansion of strikes against IS to include Syria. On the far left are those who object outright to liberal intervention, while on the right of the spectrum Senator Rand Paul labelled him a ‘neo-con’. However despite his perceived hesitancy, Obama’s strategy looks set to hit a sweet spot between reckless and cautious that is grounded in sound principles and is the best reasonable response to the current threat posed by IS.

IS are the closest the 21st century has to the Nazi’s- fundamentally motivated, exceptionally violent and on a quest that is their downfall before it has even begun. Their so called caliphate has no precedent in history. Killing Shia as easily as they behead innocent westerners or massacre Yazidi Iraqis, the group’s strategy is founded on brutality, with no room for any form of tolerance or compromise, to the point where they have drawn condemnation from Al-Qaeda. Mass murder of civilians and trafficking of women for as sex slaves are par for the course with IS . This incarnation of radical Islam is now the richest terrorist organization in history.  It has also shown itself to be a master of cinematic and striking (and ironically western style) media campaigns in a way that Al-Qaeda never was, making it the most hot brand of radical Islam. The stunning videos are a draw for young radicals of fighting age as well as rich benefactors who may be sympathetic to their cause, and is possibly the greatest threat posed by IS. However despite capturing swathes of Iraqi and Syrian cities (and open desert), the groups has united even larger swathes of the world against it through its actions. General consensus already exists. This includes almost every parliament and head of state in the world, as well as mainstream Muslim groups in western countries (see the “Not in my name” campaign if you feel like blaming regular Muslims). Continue reading

The Goggle Box : The End Is Nigh Mr. White

Episode 14 - "Ozymandias"

Episode 14 – “Ozymandias”

What is left to say? Fans of “Breaking Bad” can rest assured that they have just witnessed the greatest hour of television history this week, make no mistake about that. That there’s two hours to go is nearly torturous, such is the fear that even this gang of bandits could sully the memory of this TV event. It should be done deal by now guys, but seriously, SPOILERS BELOW. Continue reading

Obama’s Dilemma And World Hesitation

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Over a year ago I contributed a piece to this website which mentioned the use of torture by Syrian government forces in an organised fashion. It should be no surprise to us that the Assad regime has gone ahead and used gas on its own people. The Assad regime is without a doubt an evil regime hell-bent on maintaining power in any way possible. It is disheartening and tragic that this can continue in the twenty first century. We are essentially sitting watching another Rwanda happen, albeit over a longer period of time.

Living in the large shadow of the Gulf War II it is to be expected that western powers are going to be hesitant to intervene in another Middle East conflict. Assad’s regime is reportedly preparing for a U.S. strike, with reports coming through of troops, ordinance and sensitive documents being moved to civilian buildings and discreet locations. Obama’s decision to delay any possible action seems to be allowing time for Assad to prepare for this possibility. However the decision is hugely complex and Obama will have a number of motivations for his decision.

Following on Britain’s example, Obama is seeking Congressional approval for his action. One can easily see the allure of having a strong consensus built behind military action, given the disaster that was Iraq. Domestic factors may be present in the president’s mind. Intervening without Congressional approval (as in Libya) would leave Obama and the Democrats open to criticism from Rand Paul et al, hailing the UK as an example of how a democracy should decide on entering into a war. This would be an easy card to play to an American public which may balk at the prospect of another drawn out war. They have seen enough American boys come home in body bags.

Syria is also stocked full of new Russian anti-aircraft technology, and the supply chain will not halt any time soon. The UN is also unlikely to reach a strong consensus due to Russia and China’s position on the Security Council. This is an issue which needs to be changed as the current setup of the security council prevents it functioning to its full and proper potential.

There are numerous other complications so boggling that nobody can say with any certainty what will happen. The Islamic fundamentalist elements among the Syrian rebels are a mysterious threat. During this week, Iran threatened retaliation against Israel if Syria were struck. The war has already spilled over into Lebanon. Egypt, once reliable as a bastion of stability, is now more chaotic than any other point in recent years. One cannot blame America for being apprehensive about beginning to bomb a region that could inflame the whole region.

The great tragedy of these complications is that the carnage continues. This was the second gas attack by Syrian government forces, twice crossing Obama’s ‘Red Line’. The UK’s rash decision to avoid war, and America’s hesitation will send out the wrong message worldwide. This message is clear when we hear reports of the Syrian government taunting America’s aversion to war and loss of superpower status. To prevent mass war crimes against whole peoples in the future, perpetrators must understand they will be brought to justice. John Kerry has a reputation as a dull operator, but he has been an ardent supporter of intervention. He is one of a few prominent politicians with the conviction to call the Syrian government for what it is.

The firm line taken by France is hardly surprising given their willingness to become involved in former colonies like Chad and Mali.

Obama had missed the opportunity to be decisive and take a firm line on Syria. The UK has essentially forfeited its chance to help. The memories of Iraq, and the continuing deadlock of the U.N. Security Council means we are facing into more misery and more dead civilians with no end in sight.

Tweets Of The Week

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With Twitter becoming an ever growing way of life for online users it can be difficult to keep up with all the big tweets of the week when some stories simply take over the net for a couple of days such as the recent #SlaneGirl scandal. Here at Irish News Review we aim to bring you the best tweets of the week from a wide range of sectors in our new weekly segment. Here are our selections of interest from the past seven days: Continue reading

NBC TV Crew Escape Abduction In Syria

After being held prisoner for five days in Syria, NBC journalist Richard Engel and his TV crew have managed to escape.

They were captured by armed pro-regime gunmen on Thursday, while they were driving through a part of the country that they believed was controlled by rebels. Roughly fifteen armed men attacked their jeep and dragged into a car. The gunmen reportedly killed their escort, who was a rebel; Engel and his crew were then subjected to fake executions over the next few days. They managed to escape during a gun fight on Monday night, between their captors and some rebels. The group then journeyed secretly to Turkey, where they crossed the border yesterday.

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NBC have not said if everyone was accounted for, and also didn’t reveal how many crew members were in Syria in the first place. Engel and two of his crew appeared on the ‘Today Show’ on NBC, to discuss what had happened. Engel said that he believed their captors were a Shi’ite militia group, who were loyal to the Syrian government. He said they were kept blindfolded, and although they suffered psychological torture, they weren’t harmed physically. Engel stated that the gunmen repeatedly made them ‘choose’ which one of their party was to be shot first.

The civil war in Syria has left 40,000 people dead since March 2011, and 28 journalists have also lost their lives.

Irish Troops Reviewed Ahead Of Lebanon Mission

Three hundred Irish soldiers, including eight fathers and sons, are to be deployed to the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) next month. Minister of State for the Department of Defence, Paul Kehoe, Chief of Staff for the Defence Forces, Lieutenant-General Sean McCann, and Councillor Jim Henson reviewed the troops today in Athlone.

The review was the final phase of the battalion’s training as they get ready for their deployment next month.

At the review the Minister spoke of the proud tradition of Irish peacekeeping in the area. “I am again reminded of the great pride we can take in all that the Defence Forces have done and continue to do as peacekeepers throughout the world”.

Irish troops have been carrying out peacekeeping operations in the Middle East since 1958 and began working as part of UNIFIL in 1978. They are currently operating under the UN resolution which aims to monitor the end of hostilities between Israel and Lebanon, assist the Lebanese government in securing its borders, and ensure humanitarian access to the civilian population.

“Participation in missions such as UNIFIL is a continuation of our proud tradition of supporting the United Nations in the cause of peace and security”, Mr Kehoe said.

The regiment, which is made up of 300 Irish troops and 177 Finnish troops, is set to depart for the Middle Eastern country on the 6th and 15th of November. They will be taking over from the 106th Infantry Battalion which had been serving in the destabilised region with UNIFIL since May.

The minister acknowledged the challenges the men and women of the 107th infantry will face, alluding to the recent upheaval in the country and in the surrounding areas.

“We have all witnessed on our television screens just how volatile the Lebanon and the Middle East are at the moment. Performing your duties overseas can require considerable sacrifices. I know the dangers you will face and the hardships you will be expected to endure as part of your service overseas”.

Last week a Lebanese intelligence official, Brigadier General Wissam Al-Hassan, was killed when a car bomb went off in a residential area of Beirut.

The IrishFinn battalion, as it is known, will occupy a post just south of the village of At Tiri, chosen for its visibility of the surrounding areas and proximity to the smaller Irish UN posts.

A spokesperson for the Irish Defence Forces outlined the risks in deploying troops into the area – “There are real risks in operating in an area where there has been recent conflict. The area is a volatile environment and there is still debris, such as mines, left from previous wars. Troops heading to the Middle East have to be mindful of the dangers which can arise at any moment.”

When asked about how the events in Syria were affecting peacekeeping in the area they said “day to day operations have not been affected yet but geographically we are very close to the conflict zone so we have to be wary of that.”

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