America’s Kurdish Allies Are Surrounded … By U.S.-Equipped Armies
Neither Iraq, Iran nor Turkey are happy that Iraqi’s semi-autonomous Kurdish region went ahead with its referendum on independence last month. They responded by threatening economic sanctions, along with other punitive measures, and flexing their military muscles by conducting exercises on Iraqi Kurdistan’s doorstep. These exercises serve as a... Read more
Russia’s Air Defenses In Syria Have Some Big Problems
In late September 2017, satellite photographs indicated that Russia had deployed a second Russian SA-21 surface-to-air missile system in Syria. Purportedly, the system in question is deployed high in the mountains near Masyaf, fewer than 40 kilometers southeast of Lattakia, and right next to a battery of Bastion-P systems... Read more
Walk For Weeks, Cross the River and Wait … as Government Planes Watch Overhead
More than a million refugees have fled to Uganda to escape the grinding civil war pitting the majority Dinka against the minority Nuer in South Sudan. Photographer Rita Kabalan visited a refugee community in June 2017. At top — a South Sudanese refugee waits for a bus at the... Read more
Forty-Three Students Vanished And There’s Still No Justice
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. It remains unclear exactly how 43 students from a rural teacher’s college in Mexico disappeared three years ago. And much of what is known about the case has come not from the Mexican government, but rather from investigations by journalists and non-governmental groups, illustrating the... Read more
I Met an ISIS Fighter in an Iraqi Prison
In a war-scarred jail in Kirkuk, in northern Iraq, I meet a 27-year-old former Islamic State fighter. I’ll call him Abdullah. He claims he intentionally left the terror group in order to seek medical treatment. While trying to pass into Kurdish territory in October 2016 via a checkpoint in... Read more
Itchy Militia Wrecks Syrian Ceasefire
Hard on the heels of the sixth round of diplomatic talks in Astana – facilitated by Russia and Turkey – Hayat Tahrir Ash-Sham, an Al Qaeda-linked jihadist group in Syria, announced that it launched a “major offensive” against parts of northern Hama nominally controlled by the regime of Syrian... Read more
Russia Wheels Out Robotic Ground Vehicles
This year’s Army-2017 military expo in Russia has featured a myriad of systems designed to showcase current Russian achievements fielded by the country’s forces, as well as to show prospective new technologies. Unmanned military systems — or military robotic complexes, as Russia calls them — receive a lot of attention.... Read more
Islamic State Surges in Libya
On Aug. 23, 2017, nine soldiers from the Libyan National Army’s 131st Brigade — including its commander Ali Al Ghadbane — were killed at a checkpoint near Al Fugha between Sabha and Zillah in southwestern Libya. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. The last attack by the terrorist... Read more
Colombia’s Biggest Organized Crime Group Is Hurting
This article originally appeared at InSight Crime. The most wanted drug trafficker in Colombia and leader of the powerful Urabeños has offered to surrender himself and his organization to authorities just days after his number two was killed by security forces. However, it is unlikely that the dispersed, decentralized criminal group will be... Read more
Myanmar Has Forced Thousands of Rohingya Into a Virtual Prison
This story originally appeared on Feb. 6, 2016. Myanmar’s Kaladan River widens as my ship nears the great Bay of Bengal, the horizons reaching out in every direction while seabirds swoop to snatch bread thrown by the passengers. I embarked on New Year’s Day 2016 from the medieval town... Read more
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