The Middle East Channel
Islamic State Posts Video of Execution of U.S. Journalist Steven Sotloff
The U.S. National Security Council has confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday Sotloff additionally held Israeli citizenship, information that had been seemingly withheld to reduce the risks to the freelance reporter, who disappeared in Syria in August 2013. The Islamic ...
The U.S. National Security Council has confirmed the authenticity of a video showing the beheading of U.S. journalist Steven Sotloff. The Israeli Foreign Ministry said on Wednesday Sotloff additionally held Israeli citizenship, information that had been seemingly withheld to reduce the risks to the freelance reporter, who disappeared in Syria in August 2013. The Islamic State released a video showing the execution of Sotloff on Tuesday, two weeks after a similar video was posted of the beheading of U.S. journalist James Foley. In the video, a masked Islamic State militant threatened to continue killing Americans as long as U.S. airstrikes continue targeting the group in Iraq. U.S. President Barack Obama called the murders barbaric and said "We will not be intimidated." He additionally said "justice will be served" but did not discuss a timeline for determining a strategy that might expand operations to combat the militant group in Syria. On Tuesday Obama ordered the deployment of an additional 350 troops to protect the U.S. Embassy and "support facilities" in the Iraqi capital of Bagdad, though the White House maintained the troops would not serve in a combat role.
- Houthi leaders have rejected Yemeni President Hadi’s move to quell weeks of anti-government protests after he dismissed the government and proposed lowering fuel prices.
- Gunmen shot and killed an off-duty police officer Wednesday in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula a day after 11 policemen were killed by a roadside bomb.
- Israel is sending a delegation to the United States next week to lobby world powers against making any nuclear deal that would allow Iran to retain any nuclear capabilities.
- Iran has granted 3G and 4G licenses to the country’s main cellphone operators improving Internet speeds for mobile devices.
Arguments and Analysis
‘A broad approach to countering the Islamic State‘ (Christopher Paul and Colin P. Clarke, The Washington Post)
"This means that step one in defeating militants from the Islamic State, formerly referred to as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), is to overmatch them and defeat their conventional aspirations. While this has not happened yet in Iraq, U.S. air power could make a significant contribution toward that end. Airstrikes will help curb Islamic State advances in strategically important parts of Iraq and thus, help bolster the Iraqi government and security forces, at least in the short term.
Second, we concluded from the research that ‘effective COIN practices tend to run in packs,’ meaning that governments that managed to defeat insurgencies implemented numerous effective practices rather than just a few. Qualitative Comparative Analysis (QCA) techniques identified three COIN concepts critical to success. These three concepts were implemented in each and every COIN win, and no COIN loss implemented all three: Tangible support reduction; commitment and motivation; and flexibility and adaptability."
‘Who does Obama talk to in Turkey?‘ (Henri Barkey, Al Monitor)
"How will the Obama administration react to efforts by Erdogan to usurp the powers of his former office? In effect, Erdogan wants to be both president and prime minister. Should the Obama administration make it clear that the president of the United States will primarily interact with the prime minister of Turkey, except for occasional courtesy conversations with Erdogan?
It may be beneficial to the US administration to clarify its position on this issue before things become messy. There are those who will argue, with some justification, that with real power residing in Erdogan, the United States would be making a mistake by alienating him. Washington would be cutting off its nose to spite its face, since if it wants things to be done, it needs to go to the source of power."
‘For Yazidis, Exile From Spiritual Homeland in Iraq Dilutes Ancient Culture‘ (Rania Abouzeid, National Geographic)
"Most of the Yazidis who were on the mountain are now in makeshift camps in the governorate of Dahuk and other parts of Iraqi Kurdistan. Some 450 displaced families are staying in Lalish.
With the initial emergency over, the news cycle has moved on from the tragedy of the Yazidis, as it invariably does. But the fate of this community remains uncertain.
Entire villages have been emptied, their residents left to ponder if or when they can safely return. Some are contemplating migration, severing ties to a land they deem holy. Others are determined to stay and protect their shrines."
— Mary Casey