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Iraq’s Night is Long

Source: Counterpunch

Iraq’s night is long

Dawn breaks only to the murdered,

Praying half a prayer and never finishing a greeting to anyone.”

Mahmoud Darwish, Athar al-Farasha (tr. Sinan Antoon).


Northern Iraq, between the Kurdish zone and Baghdad, convulsed before the blitzkrieg of three formations — the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), the Iraqi Islamic Army (manned by former Ba’athists) and elements of the former Mujahedin Shura Council. Like the Mongols, ISIS – the main force – runs across the landscape unchecked. It did not take long for Iraqi army soldiers to throw off their uniforms and join the caravans of Iraqis fleeing north and south from along the Tigris River cities of Mosul and Tikrit as well as from the western city of Tal Afar – along the road that links Iraq to Syria. Those Iraqi soldiers captured by the ISIS and their confederates had a perilous time. ISIS soldiers divided them up by their sectarian denominations. Before their own video cameras, ISIS troops slaughtered the Shia soldiers – 1700 by their own admission – and then posted the video on-line. Sunni soldiers were forced, on pain of death, to recite their fealty to the eternal Islamic State. The UN Human Rights chief, Navi Pillay, has already said that these killings constitute a war crime. read more

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Obama Sends in Troops Back to Iraq as Isis Insurgency Worsens

Source: The Guardian Unlimited

The Obama adminstration has ordered the urgent deployment of several hundred armed troops in and around Iraq, after the rampant insurgency in the country forced the first talks between the US and Iran over a common security interest in more than a decade.

Barack Obama discussed the crisis with national security team on Monday night after earlier notifying Congress that up to 275 troops could be sent to Iraq to provide support and security for personnel and the US embassy in Baghdad. read more

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Why Brazil’s World Cup Protesters Are So Furious

Source: In These Times

Excerpted from Dave Zirin’s Brazil’s Dance With the Devil: The World Cup, The Olympics and the Fight for Democracy (May 2014, Haymarket Books).

When Brazil won its bid to host the 2016 Olympics, the country was heralded as a capitalist success story, with the Financial Times, the Wall Street Journal, and other organs of the 1% engorged over a nation whose stock market, Bovespa, had grown at a rate of 523 percent over the previous decade. For so many in Brazil, this was long overdue. Hosting these sporting events was about international recognition that Brazil’s day had come. read more