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. Subscribe here to receive this round-up by email.
This round-up will be on hiatus next Friday, but will return!
- Dexter Filkins’ longform inside look into the White House’s ongoing debate over what to do about Syria.
- Robert Ford, the US Ambassador to Syria, slipped secretly into northern Syria on Thursday in order to speak with opposition leaders.
- Syrian internet experienced a 19-hour blackout, but has been restored.
- Turkey is testing Syrians who seek medical care across the border for the effects of chemical weapons use.
- PKK rebels have begun to leave Turkey following a truce.
- Four Filipino UN peacekeepers were seized in the Golan Heights.
- Egyptian president Muhammad Mursi reshuffled his cabinet, increasing the influence of the Muslim Brotherhood.
- A new hearing was held on Benghazi attacks.
- Kenya has asked the ICC to halt the court proceedings against President Uhuru Kenyatta.
- A UN peacekeeper was killed in eastern Congo.
- Nigeria’s hunt for Islamists is highly costly to civilians, whose bodies are pouring into Nigeria’s morgues.
- The US expanded its Iran sanctions again.
- Iran unveiled a new drone.
- Karzai has said that the US military is allowed to continue to keep bases in Afghanistan after the end of the combat mission.
- In the Pentagon’s annual report to Congress, direct accusations of cyberattacks were made against China.
- Thousands protested in Moscow against politically-motivated prosecutions.
- Northern Ireland’s leaders make plans for the peace walls to come down by 2023.
- The upkeep for Guantánamo Bay comes in at $900,000 an inmate.
- Military photos from inside the prison’s hunger strike.
- The chief of the Air Force’s Sexual Assault Prevention and Response program, Lt. Col. Jeffrey Kusinski, was arrested for… sexual assault.
- A new report on sexual assault in the military shows a 6% increase in reported sexual assaults in 2012 and Pentagon estimates say that 26,000 women were sexually assaulted (up from estimates of 19,000 in 2011).
- 17 nuclear missile launch officers at Minot Air Force Base have been removed from duty.
- The question of where deceased Boston bombing suspect Tamerlan Tsarnaev would be buried has been answered. He is apparently buried at a mystery location outside of Massachusetts.
- On the relationship between Russia and the FBI.
- The FBI is pushing for more eavesdropping and spying power, specifically more power to monitor online communication, a wish that seems likely to be granted.
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Photo: Relatives of Iraqi Shi’ite fighter Diaa Mutashar al-Issawi mourn him Monday in Basra. Nabil Al-Jurani/AP.
In case you haven’t discovered this amazingly helpful Tumblr yet.
Be Bro Choice A Public Service Announcement from Sarah Silverman
I like her more and more as time goes on.
#safetytipsforladies: A hashtag about how tired women are of being told to do stupid, ineffective, unrealistic things to avoid being raped.
Dying of politically induced hilarity.
Most people in the United States think of feminism or the most commonly used term “women’s lib” as a movement that aims to make women the social equals of men. This broad definition, popularized by the media and mainstream segments of the movement, raises problematic questions. Since men are not equals in white supremacist, capitalist, patriarchal class structure, which men do women want to be equal to? Do women share a common vision of what equality means? Implicit in this simplistic definition of women’s liberation is a dismissal of race and class as factors that, in conjunction with sexism, determine the extent to which an individual will be discriminated against, exploited, or oppressed.
Dear Ann Coulter,
Come on Ms. Coulter, you aren’t dumb and you aren’t shallow. So why are you continually using a word like the R-word as an insult?
I’m a 30 year old man with Down syndrome who has struggled with the public’s perception that an intellectual disability means that I am dumb and shallow. I am not either of those things, but I do process information more slowly than the rest of you. In fact it has taken me all day to figure out how to respond to your use of the R-word last night.
I thought first of asking whether you meant to describe the President as someone who was bullied as a child by people like you, but rose above it to find a way to succeed in life as many of my fellow Special Olympians have.
Then I wondered if you meant to describe him as someone who has to struggle to be thoughtful about everything he says, as everyone else races from one snarkey sound bite to the next.
Finally, I wondered if you meant to degrade him as someone who is likely to receive bad health care, live in low grade housing with very little income and still manages to see life as a wonderful gift.
Because, Ms. Coulter, that is who we are – and much, much more.
After I saw your tweet, I realized you just wanted to belittle the President by linking him to people like me. You assumed that people would understand and accept that being linked to someone like me is an insult and you assumed you could get away with it and still appear on TV.
I have to wonder if you considered other hateful words but recoiled from the backlash.
Well, Ms. Coulter, you, and society, need to learn that being compared to people like me should be considered a badge of honor.
No one overcomes more than we do and still loves life so much.
Come join us someday at Special Olympics. See if you can walk away with your heart unchanged.
A friend you haven’t made yet,
John Franklin Stephens
Special Olympics Virginia
We all make do and say things we shouldn’t, but it’s so much easier to move past those mistakes when we apologize. C’mon Gap, issue a formal apology.
Blocking conversations about radical politics on Tumblr
TRIGGER WARNING ON THE LINKS: GORE AND MUTILATION
There are a few accounts currently posting graphic photos of mutilated bodies and tagging them all as #marxism, #leninism, #communism, #revolution, etc.
These accounts are clearly created by the same person (similar user names, similar or same content between each account).
The content is clearly spam intended to disrupt conversation (and the usefulness of the tag search) of one slice of radical politics on Tumblr.
The images are useless at best and intense triggers for those with PTSD at worst.
These accounts clearly violate Tumblr’s Community Guidelines.
Please do what you can about these accounts. I’m not interested in censoring free speech, but I can’t imagine that anyone would defend this behavior as anything but a complete bastardization of the term.
Feel free to send your own email to email@example.com using the above copy.