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.
The ICC will probe possible war crimes in the Central African Republic.
Fighters in Nigeria’s Boko Haram drive fear in neighboring Cameroon.
The number of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan nears 2 million.
French mountaineering guide Herve Gourdel was beheaded by Jund al-Khilafah, an Algerian extremist group who has aligned themselves with ISIS.
The Syrian army has overrun the town of Adra al-Omalia, about 30km from Damascus.
A great visual guide to ongoing strikes in Iraq and Syria. 
The British debate joining the airstrikes.
The Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Yousef al-Turki was reportedly killed in strikes.
International law and strikes inside Syria - from Just Security.
The UAE’s bombing mission against ISIS targets was led by its first female fighter pilot, Mariam al-Mansouri. Fox News correspondents later joked that she represented “boobs on the ground”* and that she had probably been unable to park her jet. 
A newly-discussed terrorist element, Khorasan, appeared in the news this week. Khorasan is often misleadingly characterized in reports as a separate terrorist group, but this AP report is a really comprehensive explanation of who these people are.
The White House has said that any ISIS prisoners captured will not end up in Guantánamo.
The main theme of President Obama’s speech at the UN this week was ISIS and the plans to combat them.
The US believes about 20 to 30 Americans are currently fighting in Syria. 
Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, an Iraqi lawyer who fought for women’s rights, was executed by an ISIS firing squad after several days of torture — another instance of the group’s targeting of professional women.
The IAEA rejected an Arab bid to push Israel to sign the global anti-nuclear weapons pact. 
Hamas and Fatah have reached an understanding that paves the way for a unity government.
Radical cleric Abu Qatada was acquitted of terrorism charges in a Jordanian court.
The US has ordered some diplomats out of Yemen. Is the country on the brink of civil war?
Adam Baron on the myth of the “Yemen model” of counterterrorism.
Ashraf Ghani is now officially Afghanistan’s president-elect. 
Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan seized the Ajrestan district of Ghazni province Thursday night, killing 70 people.
A suspected drone strike killed 10 Uzbek and Pakistani militants near the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday. 
Photographer Massimo Berruti documents the injuries and traumas of victims of drone strikes.
The US transferred 14 Pakistani prisoners from military detention to Pakistani custody.
Human Rights Watch calls out abuses of political prisoners in Uzbekistan.
50 people were reported killed in Xinjiang last Sunday in what Chinese police are calling an act of terrorism.
The US is preparing to ease the Vietnam arms embargo.
Pro-Ukrainian residents remaining in the east live in a world of intense scrutiny and propaganda.
Latvia fears Kremlin aggression.
Hungary suspended gas supplies to Ukraine.
The Treasury Dept named 12 Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
Interpol is expanding its foreign fighters database.
The FBI has identified the killer responsible for the beheadings of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, but is not revealing that information to the public.
The US is undergoing a major atomic renewal, an overhaul and update of its nuclear weapons systems (despite previous ideas floated about disarmament).
The Boston bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been delayed two months. 
Elliott Ackerman wrote a beautiful essay for The New Yorker about the two photos marking a beginning and a kind of end for his war.
*As well as being sexists, Fox correspondents also apparently do not have the greatest grasp of the difference between aerial bombing and ground warfare.
Photo: Suruc, Turkey. Syrian Kurd refugees gather at the Syrian-Turkish border. Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty

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.

  • The ICC will probe possible war crimes in the Central African Republic.
  • Fighters in Nigeria’s Boko Haram drive fear in neighboring Cameroon.
  • The number of refugees fleeing violence in South Sudan nears 2 million.
  • French mountaineering guide Herve Gourdel was beheaded by Jund al-Khilafah, an Algerian extremist group who has aligned themselves with ISIS.
  • The Syrian army has overrun the town of Adra al-Omalia, about 30km from Damascus.
  • A great visual guide to ongoing strikes in Iraq and Syria. 
  • The British debate joining the airstrikes.
  • The Al-Nusra Front leader Abu Yousef al-Turki was reportedly killed in strikes.
  • International law and strikes inside Syria - from Just Security.
  • The UAE’s bombing mission against ISIS targets was led by its first female fighter pilot, Mariam al-Mansouri. Fox News correspondents later joked that she represented “boobs on the ground”* and that she had probably been unable to park her jet. 
  • A newly-discussed terrorist element, Khorasan, appeared in the news this week. Khorasan is often misleadingly characterized in reports as a separate terrorist group, but this AP report is a really comprehensive explanation of who these people are.
  • The White House has said that any ISIS prisoners captured will not end up in Guantánamo.
  • The main theme of President Obama’s speech at the UN this week was ISIS and the plans to combat them.
  • The US believes about 20 to 30 Americans are currently fighting in Syria. 
  • Sameera Salih Ali al-Nuaimy, an Iraqi lawyer who fought for women’s rights, was executed by an ISIS firing squad after several days of torture — another instance of the group’s targeting of professional women.
  • The IAEA rejected an Arab bid to push Israel to sign the global anti-nuclear weapons pact. 
  • Hamas and Fatah have reached an understanding that paves the way for a unity government.
  • Radical cleric Abu Qatada was acquitted of terrorism charges in a Jordanian court.
  • The US has ordered some diplomats out of Yemen. Is the country on the brink of civil war?
  • Adam Baron on the myth of the “Yemen model” of counterterrorism.
  • Ashraf Ghani is now officially Afghanistan’s president-elect. 
  • Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan seized the Ajrestan district of Ghazni province Thursday night, killing 70 people.
  • A suspected drone strike killed 10 Uzbek and Pakistani militants near the border with Afghanistan on Wednesday. 
  • Photographer Massimo Berruti documents the injuries and traumas of victims of drone strikes.
  • The US transferred 14 Pakistani prisoners from military detention to Pakistani custody.
  • Human Rights Watch calls out abuses of political prisoners in Uzbekistan.
  • 50 people were reported killed in Xinjiang last Sunday in what Chinese police are calling an act of terrorism.
  • The US is preparing to ease the Vietnam arms embargo.
  • Pro-Ukrainian residents remaining in the east live in a world of intense scrutiny and propaganda.
  • Latvia fears Kremlin aggression.
  • Hungary suspended gas supplies to Ukraine.
  • The Treasury Dept named 12 Specially Designated Global Terrorists.
  • Interpol is expanding its foreign fighters database.
  • The FBI has identified the killer responsible for the beheadings of James Foley, Steven Sotloff and David Haines, but is not revealing that information to the public.
  • The US is undergoing a major atomic renewal, an overhaul and update of its nuclear weapons systems (despite previous ideas floated about disarmament).
  • The Boston bombing trial of Dzhokhar Tsarnaev has been delayed two months. 
  • Elliott Ackerman wrote a beautiful essay for The New Yorker about the two photos marking a beginning and a kind of end for his war.

*As well as being sexists, Fox correspondents also apparently do not have the greatest grasp of the difference between aerial bombing and ground warfare.

Photo: Suruc, Turkey. Syrian Kurd refugees gather at the Syrian-Turkish border. Bulent Kilic/AFP/Getty

todaysdocument:


"Books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons."
-Franklin D. Roosevelt
"Books are weapons in the war of ideas", 1941 - 1945
From the series: World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945

Banned Books Week is September 21 - 27, 2014

todaysdocument:

"Books cannot be killed by fire. People die, but books never die. No man and no force can put thought in a concentration camp forever. No man and no force can take from the world the books that embody man’s eternal fight against tyranny. In this war, we know, books are weapons."

-Franklin D. Roosevelt

"Books are weapons in the war of ideas", 1941 - 1945

From the series: World War II Posters, 1942 - 1945

Banned Books Week is September 21 - 27, 2014

If ever a wire photo deserved thought bubbles, it’s this one… Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates — Ashraf Ghani (middle) and Abdullah Abdullah (right) have been battling it out since June over who gets to succeed Karzai. (Who wouldn’t want that job?) They have finally signed an agreement for a unity government in which Ghani will be president and Abdullah his chief executive. This picture of the two of them with Secretary Kerry is from back on August 8th while negotiations were ongoing. Your unity government, ladies and gentlemen.
Photo: AP
(HT Don Gomez)

If ever a wire photo deserved thought bubbles, it’s this one… Afghanistan’s two presidential candidates — Ashraf Ghani (middle) and Abdullah Abdullah (right) have been battling it out since June over who gets to succeed Karzai. (Who wouldn’t want that job?) They have finally signed an agreement for a unity government in which Ghani will be president and Abdullah his chief executive. This picture of the two of them with Secretary Kerry is from back on August 8th while negotiations were ongoing. Your unity government, ladies and gentlemen.

Photo: AP

(HT Don Gomez)

Important news context:

This past few days there have been reports that there is a  ”just as bad as ISIS” terror group plotting international attacks from the same region — a group named Khorasan.

The director of national intelligence, James R. Clapper Jr., said on Thursday that “in terms of threat to the homeland, Khorasan may pose as much of a danger as the Islamic State.”

If you’ve never heard of Khorasan, that’s fine. It’s probably because Khorasan’s not actually a terror group, new or old. It’s still Al Qaeda and Jabhat al-Nusra doing what they do. 

Journalist and Syria in Crisis editor Aron Lund explains it:

"Khorasan" would be a great name for a terror group, with nearly unlimited potential for ominous mispronounciation. Sadly, it is not. It’s a word used by al-Qaeda (& others) for the Afghanistan-Pakistan region, where its top leadership sits. What has happened, if US intel is telling the truth, is that a group of AQ veterans have relocated to Syria to support AQ’s local franchise, Jabhat al-Nosra, and (this is the newsworthy part) to develop its capacity for international attacks. All this, apparently, on the urging of AQ’s core leadership. The "Khorasan group" thing comes from them being sent to Syria from "Khorasan" – that is, by AQ’s leadership in Pakistan – and presumably taking their orders straight from there. It’s not the name of a group and they’re not an independent organization. As described in reports so far, they’re a specialized working group inside or otherwise attached to Jabhat al-Nosra that seeks to use the training camps, resources & recruits that Jabhat al-Nosra controls in Syria to run global attacks for which AQ can then claim credit.

 

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.
The United Nations took over the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, previously led by the African Union. 
Amnesty International has uncovered the extensive and horrifying torture practices of Nigerian security forces. 
5 UN peacekeepers were killed by a roadside bomb in Mali.
Egypt and Russia signed a preliminary arms deal worth $3.5 billion.
Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El Fattah has been released on bail.
Fighter jets from an unknown country carried out four airstrikes against militants near Libya’s capital.
ISIS released its third beheading video - this time of British aid worker David Haines, an RAF veteran working for the aid group Nonviolent Peaceforce. Here’s a brief profile of his life and work. The video then threatened the life of another captive Briton, a taxi driver named Alan Henning who was taken captive on his second aid convoy trip to Syria. 
Congress authorized arming and training the (non-ISIS) Syrian rebels.
President Obama and American military leadership show a split on ISIS strategy.
The three beheadings have drawn into debate the zero-concession policies of the US and UK. James Foley’s family have been deeply critical of the US government’s handling of their son’s case and treatment of the families of ISIS kidnapping victims. 
A second ISIS propaganda video featured another captive, British photojournalist John Cantlie in a mock newscast setting, wearing a prison-style jumpsuit and saying there will be more “programs” to follow.
The AFP will no longer accept work from freelance journalists in Syria.
France has ditched reference to the Islamic State or ISIS, instead opting for “Daesh,” as the extremist group is often referred to by Arabic speakers. 
Australia claims to have thwarted an ISIS attack on their soil. 
Christian Caryl comments on the incredible and underestimated power of collective rage in driving violent acts like those committed by ISIS.
"Al Qaeda denies decline, acknowledges ‘mistakes’ by its branches.”
A series of Friday car bombings in Baghdad have killed at least 17 people. Baghdad’s Thursday death toll was at least 45.
A new booming business in Baghdad defending people charged with terrorism offenses. 
Matthieu Aikins embeds with Syria’s first responders. 
43 veteran members of the clandestine Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 are refusing to participate in reserve duty on moral grounds, based on the country’s treatment of Palestinians.
A deal has been reached between Israel and Palestine over reconstruction work in Gaza.
Serious fighting is ongoing in Yemen after weeks of continued unrest between Houthi rebels and Sunni militias. The Houthi have pushed into the capital city Sana’a and besieged a university known for Sunni radicalism.
Sharif Mobley, an American imprisoned in Yemen who has been missing inside the system for seven months, managed a phone call to his wife in which he alleged torture and said he feared for his life.
Politico goes deep inside the US’ first armed drone mission, in October of 2001, and the failed attempt to take out Mullah Omar.
Talks have stalled yet again between the sparring Afghan presidential candidates.
Palwasha Tokhi is the seventh Afghan journalist to be killed this year.
Muhammad Shakil Auj, the dean of Islamic Studies at the University of Karachi, was shot dead on his way to a reception at the Iranian Consulate.
A South Asian wing of Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for hijacking a Pakistani naval ship and attempting to use it to attack US ships.
BBC journalists were attacked and had their equipment smashed while investigating the death of a Russian soldier. 
Popular Ukrainian football team Shakhtar Donetsk has been forced to relocate, along with other eastern teams, to Kiev for its matches because of fighting.
Ukrainian rebels says that new self-rule laws are not enough.
An intense border dispute at the India-China border in the Himalayas occurred while the two nation’s leaders met for a summit.
The CIA released a set of newly-declassified articles from its in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence. 
The White House has said it sees legal justification for strikes against ISIS in both the 2001 authorization to fight Al Qaeda and the 2002 authorization of the Iraq War.
Photo: Zummar, Iraq. A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells toward ISIS-controlled territory. Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters.

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.

  • The United Nations took over the peacekeeping mission in the Central African Republic, previously led by the African Union. 
  • Amnesty International has uncovered the extensive and horrifying torture practices of Nigerian security forces. 
  • 5 UN peacekeepers were killed by a roadside bomb in Mali.
  • Egypt and Russia signed a preliminary arms deal worth $3.5 billion.
  • Egyptian activist Alaa Abd El Fattah has been released on bail.
  • Fighter jets from an unknown country carried out four airstrikes against militants near Libya’s capital.
  • ISIS released its third beheading video - this time of British aid worker David Haines, an RAF veteran working for the aid group Nonviolent Peaceforce. Here’s a brief profile of his life and work. The video then threatened the life of another captive Briton, a taxi driver named Alan Henning who was taken captive on his second aid convoy trip to Syria. 
  • Congress authorized arming and training the (non-ISIS) Syrian rebels.
  • President Obama and American military leadership show a split on ISIS strategy.
  • The three beheadings have drawn into debate the zero-concession policies of the US and UK. James Foley’s family have been deeply critical of the US government’s handling of their son’s case and treatment of the families of ISIS kidnapping victims. 
  • A second ISIS propaganda video featured another captive, British photojournalist John Cantlie in a mock newscast setting, wearing a prison-style jumpsuit and saying there will be more “programs” to follow.
  • The AFP will no longer accept work from freelance journalists in Syria.
  • France has ditched reference to the Islamic State or ISIS, instead opting for “Daesh,” as the extremist group is often referred to by Arabic speakers. 
  • Australia claims to have thwarted an ISIS attack on their soil. 
  • Christian Caryl comments on the incredible and underestimated power of collective rage in driving violent acts like those committed by ISIS.
  • "Al Qaeda denies decline, acknowledges ‘mistakes’ by its branches.”
  • A series of Friday car bombings in Baghdad have killed at least 17 people. Baghdad’s Thursday death toll was at least 45.
  • A new booming business in Baghdad defending people charged with terrorism offenses. 
  • Matthieu Aikins embeds with Syria’s first responders. 
  • 43 veteran members of the clandestine Israeli military intelligence Unit 8200 are refusing to participate in reserve duty on moral grounds, based on the country’s treatment of Palestinians.
  • A deal has been reached between Israel and Palestine over reconstruction work in Gaza.
  • Serious fighting is ongoing in Yemen after weeks of continued unrest between Houthi rebels and Sunni militias. The Houthi have pushed into the capital city Sana’a and besieged a university known for Sunni radicalism.
  • Sharif Mobley, an American imprisoned in Yemen who has been missing inside the system for seven months, managed a phone call to his wife in which he alleged torture and said he feared for his life.
  • Politico goes deep inside the US’ first armed drone mission, in October of 2001, and the failed attempt to take out Mullah Omar.
  • Talks have stalled yet again between the sparring Afghan presidential candidates.
  • Palwasha Tokhi is the seventh Afghan journalist to be killed this year.
  • Muhammad Shakil Auj, the dean of Islamic Studies at the University of Karachi, was shot dead on his way to a reception at the Iranian Consulate.
  • A South Asian wing of Al Qaeda has claimed responsibility for hijacking a Pakistani naval ship and attempting to use it to attack US ships.
  • BBC journalists were attacked and had their equipment smashed while investigating the death of a Russian soldier. 
  • Popular Ukrainian football team Shakhtar Donetsk has been forced to relocate, along with other eastern teams, to Kiev for its matches because of fighting.
  • Ukrainian rebels says that new self-rule laws are not enough.
  • An intense border dispute at the India-China border in the Himalayas occurred while the two nation’s leaders met for a summit.
  • The CIA released a set of newly-declassified articles from its in-house journal, Studies in Intelligence. 
  • The White House has said it sees legal justification for strikes against ISIS in both the 2001 authorization to fight Al Qaeda and the 2002 authorization of the Iraq War.

Photo: Zummar, Iraq. A Kurdish Peshmerga fighter launches mortar shells toward ISIS-controlled territory. Ahmed Jadallah/Reuters.

But my answer is always the same when I’m asked what outcome I prefer: either result will be the correct one. We’re a pretty canny bunch and don’t suffer fools, so we’ll see through the political game playing and make an informed decision. I know the day I return home to live there I will be safe in the knowledge that we, as a people, decided the shape of our own future. Not many generations get the chance to say that.

Gavin Quirk - a Scottish expat living in Los Angeles

The polls have closed and the decision, whichever it is, has been made in Scotland’s referendum. Keep up here on the Guardian and the BBC — although it’s going to be a bit of a wait. The final result probably won’t be until the AM (in Scotland). 

The Narcicyst’s new track “7amith 7ilu (Bittersweet) - ft. DAM.” 

Best ever or best ever?

Definitely the best ever. 

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.
More than 5000 people have died in the Central African Republic (CAR) in the last 9 months, according to the AP’s tally. The AP admits this is probably only a portion of the real number.
About 1500 more UN troops will head to CAR next week.
CAR is the crisis that never makes headlines.
Libya has accused Sudan of sending weapons to Islamists in Tripoli and expelled the Sudanese military attache.
The UN helicopter that crashed in South Sudan last month was shot down.
Peacekeepers in Somalia used their hospital connections to target vulnerable women and girls for sexual assault and rape.
With the killing of Al-Shabab leader Ahmed Abdi Godane has been confirmed, the group chose a new leader — Ahmad Umar.
Drone footage surveys the extent of damage in Gaza. 
Israel has ordered investigation into five incidents during the latest Gaza war, including the deaths of the four boys playing soccer on the beach.
CrisisGroup analyzes the importance of Aleppo in the Syrian civil war.
The largest Syrian rebel group, Ahrar al-Sham, lost nearly all of its leadership in an unexplained explosion.
BuzzFeed profiles a smuggler who has brought thousands of foreign fighters into Syria. 
The Nusra Front, an al-Qaeda linked Syrian group, has released 45 peacekeepers.
Yemen is pursuing talks with the Houthi rebels.
A transcript of President Obama’s remarks on ISIS and strategy from Wednesday.
And… Obama, airstrikes and that tricky War Powers Act.
The Pentagon is authorized to proceed with leadership targeting as a tactic against ISIS, with Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at the top of the hit list. 
Partnerships against ISIS bring their own complications.
Kurdish Peshmerga forces make advances against ISIS with the help of US airstrikes.
The Washington Post keeps a running tally of US strikes against ISIS.
Looking at the legal rationale offered up by the administration for conducting strikes in Syria.
A more in-depth look at what was on the ISIS laptop obtained by journalists. 
ISIS may have taken anti-tank weapons from Syrian rebels.
Tim Arango, the Baghdad Bureau Chief for the New York Times did a Reddit AMA.
In the thirteen years (this week) since the 9/11 attacks, how has al-Qaeda changed? It has been weakened but it hasn’t been defeated.
The Iraqi parliament approved a new government headed by Haider al-Abadi.
Qatar confirms the detention of two British men researching migrant labor issues.
Afghanistan’s election results are likely coming next week. 
Presidential candidate Abdullah Abdullah has already said he will not accept the official results. 
Pakistan is digging a trench along the border with Afghanistan.
Imran Khan marks a month of protests — demonstrations which have wearied Pakistan’s capital city.
Luhansk counts its dead.
Russia still has 1000 troops in Ukraine and 20,000 at the border.
The EU tightens Russia sanctions.
Mexican journalist Karla Silva was savagely beaten for her critical reporting.
Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) says the declassified CIA torture report might not be released until November.
We already know, though, that CIA waterboarding of top terrorism suspects involved “holding them underwater until the point of death.”
Zelda, the Dear Abby of the NSA.
In 2008, Yahoo! ended its legal battle against complying with the PRISM program because the government threatened a $250,000/day non-compliance fine. 
An appeals court ruled that Jose Padilla’s 17-year sentence was too lenient and revised it to 21 years.
Crowdsourcing a catalogue of all the guns of World War One. 
Photo: Bambari, Central African Republic. June 2014. A Moroccan peacekeeper with the UN’s MINUSCA peacekeeping force on patrol. Catianne Tijerina/UN.

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.

Photo: Bambari, Central African Republic. June 2014. A Moroccan peacekeeper with the UN’s MINUSCA peacekeeping force on patrol. Catianne Tijerina/UN.

afp-photo:

BAHRAIN, Jannusan : An blindfolded Bahraini protester holds up a placard bearing the portrait of jailed photographer Ahmed Humaidan during an anti-government protest in the village of Jannusan, west of Manama, on September 5, 2014. “Ongoing violations of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and the targeting of human rights activists in Bahrain remain of serious concern,” Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

afp-photo:

BAHRAIN, Jannusan : An blindfolded Bahraini protester holds up a placard bearing the portrait of jailed photographer Ahmed Humaidan during an anti-government protest in the village of Jannusan, west of Manama, on September 5, 2014. “Ongoing violations of the rights to freedom of expression, peaceful assembly and association, and the targeting of human rights activists in Bahrain remain of serious concern,” Ravina Shamdasani, the spokeswoman for the office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights said in a statement. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED AL-SHAIKH

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.
ISIS murdered a second journalist this week — Steven Sotloff, a freelancer whose life they threatened in their propaganda video of James Foley’s beheading.
Read some of Sotloff’s excellent reporting at Foreign Policy and at TIME.
The head of the Committee to Protect Journalists, Joel Simon, asks whether it’s time to end media blackouts on kidnapped journalists like Sotloff and Foley.
Photographers William Daniels, Pierre Terdjman and Michaël Zumstein want to continue their work covering conflict in the Central African Republic but are stymied by lack of international interest. 
Armed ex-Seleka rebels stormed the town of Nana Bakassa in northern CAR, kiling at least 5.
More than 26.000 people fled the town of Bama in northeastern Nigeria after Boko Haram seized it. A Nigerian lawmaker says that Boko Haram now patrol Bama’s streets, still littered with bodies days later.
The US is preparing a major border security program in Nigeria.
Afonso Dhlakama, the rebel leader of Renamo in Mozambique, has come out of hiding — returning to the capital, Maputo, to mark a symbolic end to a two-year conflict.
A US airstrike in Somalia killed six members of Al-Shabab, possibly including leader Ahmed Abdi Godane. Al-Shabab has confirmed that Godane was in one of the vehicles struck, but has refused to say whether he was killed.
American and AU forces step up the offensive against Al-Shabab.
Somalia’s government offers Al-Shabab amnesty.
Activists in Egypt and Bahrain, sentenced for their role in protests and human rights activism, turn to hunger strikes.
Libya braces for civil war.
Israel announced plans to take a nearly 1000 acre tract of West Bank land for Jewish settlers, the largest land appropriation in the last three decades. The US has strongly condemned the plan.
Archaeologists rush to save Syrian landmarks.
Education is indefinitely on hold for Syria’s “lost generation.”
Evidence that ISIS is using cluster munitions.
Iraqi forces have captured the first Chinese citizen known to have been fighting with ISIS.
A Yazidi girl tells of her kidnapping and escape from ISIS captors in Iraq.
350 more American troops will be deployed to Iraq.
Iraqi forces broke the ISIS siege of Amerli.
50 men have been kidnapped by ISIS militants from Tal Ali village, 170 miles north of Baghdad.
28,000 pro-ISIS Twitter accounts have been set up since James Foley’s murder.
Human Rights Watch has new evidence that ISIS massacred Iraqi soldiers, between 560 and 770 of them, at Camp Speicher in June.
Two British-Nepali human rights advocates have gone missing in Qatar after arriving there last week to look into the condition of Nepalese migrant workers.
Human rights activist Maryam Al-Khawaja was detained by Bahrain upon entering the country to try and see her imprisoned father.
Kate Clark at the Afghanistan Analysts Network patches together the first list of detainees at Bagram.
Avoidable miscommunication blamed for a friendly fire incident in Afghanistan in June.
Artist Richard Johnson will cover the Afghan war for the Washington Post.
The Taliban is running low on foreign fighters. 
Pakistan says the military has killed 910 militants since the start of its offensive in Waziristan in June.
Al Qaeda establishes a new branch on the Indian subcontinent.
Ukraine, Russia and pro-Russian separatists are set for talks in Belarus this afternoon, but shelling continues in eastern Ukraine (see photo).
More dispatches from Vice News in Ukraine - this time from Novoazovsk, where they found “found terrified civilians trapped in the shelling, along with desperate Ukrainian forces angry at their lack of reinforcement from their leaders in Kiev.”
A Russian photojournalist for the state-owned RIA Novosti news agency, Andrei Stenin, has been killed in Ukraine. 
The Beslan school siege, ten years on.
NATO gathers for its annual summit this week, with a rather extraordinary amount on its plate and Afghanistan taking a backseat.
September 3rd was the anniversary of Britain and France’s declaration of war on Germany.
This week marked the 20th anniversary of the 1994 IRA ceasefire in Northern Ireland. Here are photographs from Northern Ireland then and now.
A federal appeals court on Tuesday heard oral arguments on the constitutionality of the government’s mass data collection programs.
Click here to donate to the Committee to Protect Journalists in Steven Sotloff’s name.
Photo: The outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine. Sept. 4. Philip Desmazes/AFP/Getty.

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.

Click here to donate to the Committee to Protect Journalists in Steven Sotloff’s name.

Photo: The outskirts of Mariupol, Ukraine. Sept. 4. Philip Desmazes/AFP/Getty.

It’s hard to watch the video of Steven Sotloff’s last moments and not conclude something similar: the ostensible objective of securing an Islamic state is nowhere near as important as killing people. For the guys who signed up for ISIS—including, especially, the masked man with the English accent who wielded the knife—killing is the real point of being there. Last month, when ISIS forces overran a Syrian Army base in the city of Raqqa, they beheaded dozens of soldiers and displayed their trophies on bloody spikes. “Here are heads that have ripened, that were ready for the plucking,” an ISIS fighter said in narration. Two soldiers were crucified. This sounds less like a battle than like some kind of macabre party.
Dexter Filkins on Steven Sotloff’s murder and some of the real reasons why ISIS, like Al Qaeda before them, chooses to revel in the brutality of their methods.

Reports have come in that ISIS has now also beheaded American journalist Steven Sotloff

… and threatened the life of Briton David Cawthorne Haines. 

To honor Sotloff, a man who reported on civilian suffering in dangerous circumstances with a lot of compassion, read a selection of his work here at Foreign Policy and at TIMEAlso consider a donation in his honor to the Committee to Protect Journalists.

Rest in peace.

Today’s the 20th anniversary of the 1994 IRA ceasefire. 
And from the BBC — Northern Ireland then and now.
[Irish Times front page from 1994 via @ElaineEdwardsIT on Twitter.]

Today’s the 20th anniversary of the 1994 IRA ceasefire. 

And from the BBC — Northern Ireland then and now.

[Irish Times front page from 1994 via @ElaineEdwardsIT on Twitter.]

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.

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.

Photo: Donetsk, Ukraine. A damaged and bloody kitchen in downtown Donetsk. Sergei Ilnitsky/EPA.

BREAKING: American journalist Peter Theo Curtis has reportedly been released from captivity in Syria.
After disappearing in October of 2012, Curtis was apparently handed over to the UN today (Sunday). Photo above is a still from a June video showing Curtis alive, if somewhat the worse for wear.
[Al Jazeera]

BREAKINGAmerican journalist Peter Theo Curtis has reportedly been released from captivity in Syria.

After disappearing in October of 2012, Curtis was apparently handed over to the UN today (Sunday). Photo above is a still from a June video showing Curtis alive, if somewhat the worse for wear.

[Al Jazeera]

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