As an American Anglophile who lived in London in 1995 and in Edinburgh ten years later, I was greatly dismayed to witness how much the U.K. has changed for the worse during my recent trip to London shortly after Remembrance Day.
The highlight of my trip was to see the 888, 246 poppies and pay tribute to those who died in Afghanistan and Iraq, whose faces adorned small crosses lining the pavement alongside Westminster Abby. With Peaky Blinders' season two finale still fresh on my mind, I couldn't help but recognize the striking differences and similarities between 1914 and 2014 Britain.
Peaky Blinders, set in circa 1920 Birmingham, portrays a primarily white protestant and catholic community hit hard by the Great War. more >>
A United Nations terrorism expert said on Monday that the Islamic State terrorist group has made between $35 million and $45 million off of ransom payments in the past year alone, the Associated Press reports.
Speaking at a hearing for the U.N. Security Council's Counter-Terrorism Committee, Yotsna Lalji, an expert who has monitored Al Qaeda and other extremist groups, told the committee that the extremist practice of kidnapping for a source of revenue "continues to grow."
By telling the committee that the Islamic State has made as much as $45 million off of ransom payments this past year, Lalji put that dollar amount into perspective by stating that an estimated total of just $120 million in ransom payments were paid to terrorist organizations in the span of 2004 to 2012. more >>
Weapons recently supplied by the United States to Iraqi military forces and tribal militias are already ending up in the hands of Islamic State militants, Iraqi officers and lawmakers are claiming.
As the Pentagon requests $1.3 billion in 2015 to provide weapons to the Iraqi military and tribal forces to help them defeat the Islamic State terrorist organization, Iraqi lawmakers, officers and soldiers recently told The New York Times that corruption has run rampant among Iraq's military leadership and because of it, some of the "recently" supplied U.S. weapons have been sold on the black market to Islamic State fighters.
"I told the Americans, don't give any weapons through the army, not even one piece, because corruption is everywhere, and you will not see any of it," asserted Col. Shaaban al-Obeidi of the internal security forces, who is also a leader of a Sunni tribe on Anbar Province. "Our people will steal it." more >>
The Islamic State terrorist organization now has at least 12 known military allies, operating in nine countries outside of Iraq and Syria, that have publicly pledged their allegiances to the caliphate of ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
As Islamic State leadership continues to call on extremists worldwide to wreak havoc on the West, NYMag.com's Daily Intelligencer reports that the Terrorism Research & Analysis Consortium (TRAC) has identified 12 international militia organizations that are now affiliating their efforts with the Islamic State's jihad and could help expand the group's caliphate.
Militia allies in Pakistan, Algeria, Libya, Egypt, Indonesia, Lebanon, Philippines, Jordan and Gaza/Israel have all announced some sort of cooperation with the Islamic State and al-Baghdadi. Many of these organizations were recently affiliated with Al Qaeda and have since switched to ISIS allegiances over the summer and into the fall. more >>
Reza Aslan, author of the controversial nonfiction work Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth, said in a recent column that atheist public figures like Richard Dawkins, Sam Harris and Bill Maher don't accurately represent atheism.
Known as the "New Atheists," Aslan argued in a Salon column published Friday that these public figures "do not speak for the majority of atheists."
The fate of Pastor Saeed Abedini continues hanging in the balance following the extension of negotiations between Iran and several nations, including the U.S., on a nuclear deal. The American Center for Law and Justice noted that Abedini has not been "completely abandoned" yet by the Obama administration, and it remains critical that Iran be pressured for his release.
"The American people were heard and Iran was not rewarded with a nuclear deal while it continues to imprison and torment a U.S. citizen. Yet Pastor Saeed is not free," wrote Jordan Sekulow, executive director of the ACLJ.
"Second, the reports indicate that there will be no lull in the negotiations; they will continue as soon as next month. That means now continues to be a critical time to pressure Iran to release Pastor Saeed." more >>