Links to Start Your Year 1/1/15

Middle East

Foreign Policy reports that there is a coalition of secular, nationalist Syrian rebels based in the country’s south that may be an alternative to Assad’s rule and that of ISIL. These might be the “moderate rebels” American policymakers dream of, but there is also reason for caution: they have allied with the al Nusra Front, an extremist jihadi group.

Jordan is seeking help from Turkey to secure the release of their fighter pilot, who has been captured by ISIL.

Jordan is also going to begin helping train Iraqi troops.

Palestine pushed for a U.N. vote on ending the Israeli occupation. It failed, but they did join the International Criminal Court.

Libya’s two rival governments are fighting near one of the country’s oil ports.


To close out the year, Africa is a Country has an epic list of recommended books. I have added basically all of them to my wish list.

The Nigerian militant group Boko Haram has expanded their attacks into Cameroon.

Latin America

Current low oil prices are a threat to the already fragile political order in Venezuela.

Human Rights

The military has started using cheap prison labor to make its uniforms. In addition to the fact that prison labor doesn’t pay fair wages (sometimes less than a dollar an hour,) this undercuts other small businesses.

After 18 months, the man President Obama appointed to oversee the closure of Guantanamo Bay is stepping down. Spoiler alert: Guantanamo is still open.

In the aftermath of the release of the part of the Senate’s torture report, The Duck of Minerva did a throwback to their post about the movie Zero Dark Thirty, where the author posits that the main point of the film was one character’s assertion, after torturing a suspect, that “This is what winning looks like.”

The Atlantic compares the CIA’s predictions for the world in 2015 from 2000 to the world we face today. There are similarities but also some stark differences.

Police Violence

Some statistics on the racial groups most likely to be killed by police.

Also here is a video with more numbers on police violence in the U.S. against people of color.

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