Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Foreign suicide bombers kill thousands and bring Iraq to the brink of civil war - UK Independent

A wave of suicide bombings carried out by foreign volunteers entering Iraq from Syria is killing some 1,000 civilians a month, bringing the country back to the brink of civil war. Many of the bombers are likely to have entered Syria across the 500-mile border with Turkey in the expectation that they would be giving their lives to overthrow Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and his government.
The foreign jihadists are brought to Iraq by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isis), which in recent weeks has started to publicise on its Twitter feed the national origins of the bombers. According to a study by Bill Roggio, of the Long War Journal website, of 26 Isis bombers in one much-fought over Iraqi province, Diyala, north-east of Baghdad, no less than 24 were foreigners whose noms de guerre indicate that the majority came from North Africa, with 10 from Tunisia, five from Saudi Arabia, two each from Libya and Egypt, and one each from Denmark, Chechnya, Iran and Tajikistan.
Isis, which is seeking to establish an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria, does not recognise the border between the two countries. The bombers carried out their missions between September 2012 and today, but there has been a sharp escalation in bombings, usually aimed at killing as many Shia as possible, over the past year, with 9,571 civilians killed in 2013 and 3,630 killed so far in 2014....

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/world/middle-east/foreign-suicide-bombers-kill-thousands-and-bring-iraq-to-the-brink-of-civil-war-9272391.html

-bth: original article worth reading in full.  It looks like Iraqi government has virtually lost control of key Sunni areas with the apparent loss of control of Fallujah and evacuation of Abu Ghraib being noted examples.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Putin foes fear Internet crackdown as 'blogger law' sails through - Reuters

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russia's upper house of parliament approved a law on Tuesday that will impose stricter rules on bloggers and is seen by critics as an attempt by President Vladimir Putin to stifle dissent on the Internet.

The Federation Council overwhelmingly approved the tighter controls on Russian blogs and websites that attract more than 3,000 daily visits, under legislation the government says is needed to formalize the definition of blogging in Russian law.

Opponents say the law will enable Putin to silence opponents who are rarely given air time on the mostly state-controlled or pro-Putin television channels, and have instead used the Internet to organize protests against the former KGB spy.

"The new policy is to restrict free information exchange, restrict expression of opinion, be it in written text, speech or video. They want to restrict everything because they're headed towards the 'glorious past'," Anton 
Nosik, a prominent Russian blogger and online media expert, told Reuters....

-bth: I wonder what Snowden thinks as he looks out the window on his adopted home?