Video Claims to Show U.S. Reporter’s Beheading by ISIS
The Islamic State in Iraq and Syria has beheaded Steven J. Sotloff, the second American executed by the Islamic militant group, and posted a video of it on the Internet, the SITE Intelligence Group, a research organization that tracks jihadist web postings, said Tuesday.
The execution of Mr. Sotloff, 31, came despite pleas from his mother aimed directly at ISIS’s top leader seeking mercy for her son, a freelance journalist who was captured in northern Syria a year ago.
Word of Mr. Sotloff’s beheading came two weeks after James Foley, 45, another American journalist, was beheaded by ISIS, which warned that Mr. Sotloff would be the next to die.
via The New York Times
Drawing up the drawdown
The Washington Post’s Richard Johnson begins his fourth journey to Afghanistan this week. Work from his earlier assignments won international awards and a place in the Smithsonian Museum’s permanent collection.
Amnesty International Accuses Islamic State of War Crimes, ‘Ethnic Cleansing’
The actions of the terrorist group known as the Islamic State, which include the mass killings and abductions of religious minorities in Iraq, amount to war crimes of historical proportions, according to a new report by the human rights group Amnesty International.
Amnesty points to newly uncovered “gruesome” evidence that proves that the militants (formerly known as ISIS or ISIL) is conducting an unprecedented and systematic “ethnic cleansing” campaign in Iraq
"The massacres and abductions being carried out by the Islamic State provide harrowing new evidence that a wave of ethnic cleansing against minorities is sweeping across northern Iraq," said Amnesty investigator Donatella Rovera, who wrote the new 26-page report published on Tuesday. Read more…
Tweaking the UX of our social media tools could help readers better understand fast-moving news.
The Boston Marathon bombings. Tornadoes in the Midwest. Now, tragically, Ferguson. When serious breaking news happens, many of us turn to social media—especially Twitter—to keep up and get the most detailed information we can as quickly as possible. But the events in Missouri these last few weeks made me think about the deficiencies of our current information tools, and how we might improve the social, breaking news experience.
After 50 bloody days of conflict, it looks like a ceasefire may finally take hold in Israel and Gaza. Recently Gaza has been one of the deadliest places in the world for the press. According to CPJ research, at least seven journalists and media workers were killed on the job in four separate incidents.
This Week in War. A Friday round-up of what happened and what’s been written in the world of war and military/security affairs this week. It’s a mix of news reports, policy briefs, blog posts and longform journalism.
- Representatives for two rebel groups in Mali agreed to end hostilities and join together for peace talks with the government next month.
- Riek Machar’s rebel group in South Sudan have rejected a power-sharing deal.
- Vice reports on weapons moving into South Sudan.
- 17 were killed in in-fighting among factions of the Seleka rebel group in the Central African Republic.
- Abdullah al-Thinni has resigned as Libya’s prime minister in an attempt to end a power struggle.
- Egypt and the UAE have secretly carried out airstrikes in Libya.
- An indefinite ceasefire was brokered between Israel and Gaza.
- Scenes from on the ground in Gaza and Israel — captured by photographers Paolo Pellegrin and Peter van Agtmael.
- The UN says that 3 million people have fled Syria in the current conflict, and another 6.5 million have been internally displaced.
- American journalist Peter Theo Curtis, who has published under the name Theo Padnos, was released from captivity in Syria this week. He was held by the Nusra Front.
- His release was secured with the help of Qatar, who are continuing to try to negotiate the release of other Western hostages — one of whom is now known to be an American aid worker held by ISIS.
- Steve Coll on the kidnapping of journalists.
- ISIS captives, including James Foley, were waterboarded.
- Evan Hill remembers his correspondence with Foley.
- The mother of captive journalist Steven Sotloff has released a video plea to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi for her son’s freedom.
- Ben Hubbard and Eric Schmitt report on ISIS’s management and organizational structure.
- One piece of reporting indicates that there is support among non-extremist rebels in Syria for US action against ISIS, saying that ISIS has “ravaged” Syria and hijacked their revolution.
- Public beheadings have become a “common spectacle" in Syria, according to the UN.
- Two journalists acquired an ISIS laptop — full of “how-tos” for weaponizing the bubonic plague, among other things.
- A 33-year-old US citizen — Douglas McCain — was killed fighting for ISIS in Syria. US intelligence has reportedly identified almost a dozen Americans who have similarly traveled abroad to join ISIS.
- 43 UN peacekeepers are being held by an armed group in Syrian Golan Heights.
- Mapping ISIS’ development and expansion in Syria and Iraq.
- In Iraq, ISIS is accused of ethnic cleansing in a prison massacre in Mosul where 670 Shia prisoners were reportedly killed.
- US airstrikes in Iraq, day by day.
- Armed Yemeni rebels staged sit ins this week outside the capital city, Sanaa, protesting the government.
- An ongoing, bloody Taliban offensive in southern Afghanistan has killed as many as 900 in some of the “worst fighting” in years.
- Afghanistan’s disputed presidential election is costing the country ‘s economy $5bn.
- PM Sharif has been named by Pakistani police as a murder suspect in the deaths of 14 protesters near Lahore in June.
- Thousands of Pakistani demonstrators, lead by Tahir ul-Qadri and Imran Khan, have camped out in front of parliament in Islamabad since mid-August demanding Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif step down. Pakistan’s army chief has now been named mediator in the crisis.
- Russia has opened up a new offensive in Ukraine and NATO has accused Russia of “blatant violation" of Ukrainian sovereignty.
- Ukrainian soldiers coming out of Novoazovsk say they were “cannon fodder" for Russian tanks.
- Ukraine’s prime minister announced the country’s renewed intentions to join NATO.
- In photos: what remains of Donetsk.
- The debate over Russia’s invasion/incursion plays out, of course, on Twitter.
- Obama announced executive actions to benefit veterans, soldiers and military families.
- The prosecution rests in the Blackwater trial.
Photo: Donetsk, Ukraine. A damaged and bloody kitchen in downtown Donetsk. Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA.
Two unidentified gunmen stormed the offices of the independent news agency Online International News Network in Quetta, the capital of Baluchistan province, killing the bureau chief Irshad Mastoi and a reporter, Ghulam Rasool Khattak. A network employee, accountant Muhammad Younis, was also killed, according tonews reports.
All three were shot several times, according to police. Khattak and Younis were killed immediately, and Mastoi was rushed to hospital where he was pronounced dead, reports said. The assailants fled the scene, according to reports.
Obama: ‘We don’t have a strategy yet’ regarding Islamic State
NBC News: President Obama said Thursday that the U.S. doesn’t “have a strategy yet” on how to deal with the growing threat from the Islamic State in the Middle East.
Obama also announced that the Secretary of State John Kerry will soon travel to the Middle East to help build a coalition to respond to the militants. In the meantime, Obama indicated that US airstrikes in Syria were not imminent.
Follow updates on BreakingNews.com.
“Every writer, of every political flavor, has some neat historical analogy, or mini-lesson, with which to preface an argument for why we ought to bomb these guys or side with those guys against the guys we were bombing before. But the best argument for reading history is not that it will show us the right thing to do in one case or the other, but rather that it will show us why even doing the right thing rarely works out.”
– Adam Gopnik on the value of studying history. (via newyorker)