A three-day cease-fire between Israel and Palestinian militant group Hamas in Gaza is holding as of Monday morning, with negotiations for a longer-term truce set to begin later that day in Cairo.
The cease-fire agreement began midnight in Gaza, BBC News reported, following days of mediation by Egypt, whose previous endeavors for truce between the two sides had been rejected by Hamas.
ISIS and ISIL are currently both being used to refer to Iraq's Islamic extremist terrorist organization, but recently there has been confusion over what to call the jihadist group. While the U.S. State Department is using the ISIL designation, much of American media still uses the better-known ISIS. Adding to the confusion is a third name, Da'ish, which is being used by some Arabic media and politicians.
ISIS stands for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria or Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham, and emerged roughly two years ago, according to reports. The highly dangerous offshoot of al-Qaeda is responsible for thousands of deaths in the Syrian civil war and has taken credit for terrorist acts in Iraq. The group, led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, aims to create a Sunni Muslim state consisting of Iraq, Syria and other Middle Eastern countries.
However, the U.N. and the U.S. State Department have now started using the term ISIL to refer to the jihadists because of the group's broader mission to extend their reach into a wider area. In Arabic, "al-Dawla al-Islamiya fi Iraq wa al-Sham" refers to an area bigger than just Iraq and Syria, which English speakers refer to as the Levant. Thus, the ISIL acronym was created. more >>
President Barack Obama was praised Friday for acting to save refugees fleeing ISIS. Some have criticized his decision, however, to not have a broader strategy to combat ISIS.
After the U.S. military fired two 500-lb bombs as ISIS targets Friday morning, additional airstrikes on Friday afternoon took out ISIS mortars and a convoy. A Defense Department spokesperson said more strikes could continue throughout the weekend.
(ISIS, which stands for "Islamic State in Iraq and Syria," is sometimes called Islamic State or ISIL, for "Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.") more >>
White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced Friday that while the U.S. military might be conducting additional airstrikes Friday and over the weekend, he reiterated President Obama's statement on the humanitarian crisis in Iraq that the U.S. "will not be dragged into fighting another war in Iraq."
Earnest said during the White House daily briefing that the authorization Obama has given for military action is "very limited in scope," and didn't provide information on the possibility of additional military operations following the airstrike the Department of Defense confirmed Friday morning had already been carried out.
The protection of American military and diplomatic officials in Arbil is the administration's top priority, said Earnest, who added that their protection merits the use of military force. more >>
President Barack Obama announced Thursday night at the White House that the U.S. military will engage in targeted airstrikes against Islamic State terrorist convoys in Iraq if they advance toward the U.S. embassy in Baghdad or the consulate in Arbil.
Obama emphasized that while he believes the "U.S.cannot and should not intervene every time there's a crisis in the world," he said his administration is taking action in this case to help "avert a massacre."
"In recent days, these terrorists have continued to move across Iraq, and have neared the city of Arbil, where American diplomats and civilians serve at our consulate and American military personnel advise Iraqi forces," Obama said. "We're also providing emergency assistance to the Iraqi government and Kurdish forces so they can more effectively wage the fight against ISIL." more >>
Former President Jimmy Carter, who once accused Israel of being an "apartheid state" worse than South Africa, has gone even further, rebuking the Jewish State for the way it has waged war with Hamas while actually siding with the terrorists.
Writing together with former Irish president Mary Robinson in Foreign Policy magazine, Mr. Carter stated that, "There is no humane or legal justification for the way the Israeli Defense Forces are conducting this war," calling on Israel and the West to recognize Hamas's "legitimacy as a political actor."
Mr. Carter claims that Hamas, by recently joining together with the Palestinian Authority, "pledged to adopt the three basic principles demanded by the Middle East Quartet comprised of the United Nations, the United States, the European Union, and Russia: nonviolence, recognition of Israel, and adherence to past agreements." more >>