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John Cantlie has been producing video content and aricles under duress. Futurenet1977 - Photograph taken by a friend Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons

John Cantlie: a final message from a hostage to misfortune?

On February 9, Islamic State propagandists uploaded the latest video to feature captured British journalist John Cantlie. In the film, From inside Halab (Aleppo), an expectedly unkempt and slightly dishevelled…
The US’s refusal to track civilian casualties in the conflict against Islamic State represents a radical departure from established military protocol. EPA/Sedat Suna

The politics of (not) counting: why war on terror’s civilian toll matters

Lieutenant-General James L. Terry, commander of US forces in Iraq and Syria, recently admitted he had no idea how many civilians have died as a result of coalition airstrikes in the region. In a briefing…
Hollywood films have long depicted Arabs in a negative light. Pictured is the movie poster from 1921’s The Sheik. Wikimedia Commons

American Sniper perpetuates Hollywood’s typical Arab stereotypes

The first Iraqis to appear in Clint Eastwood’s Iraq War drama, American Sniper, are a young mother and boy of maybe 12. They are seen from the point of view of the man who will kill them: Chris Kyle, the…
The US plans to arm and train ‘moderate’ rebels in Syria in addition to air strikes to defeat Islamic State forces. EPA/US Air Force

US plan to train ‘moderate’ Syrian rebels raises troubling questions

The United States' reluctance to become decisively committed to the complex quagmire in Syria is understandable. However, its plan to insert a US-trained-and-equipped “moderate rebel” force into the mix…
A harbinger of things to come? VP Joe BIden up close and personal with Brazil’s President Rousseff Ricardo Moraes/Reuters

Around the world in 2015: the big stories predicted

The New Year always provides an opportunity for both introspection and speculation. So it seems a good time to consider what the big stories are likely to be this year. Some of the five major stories I…
The UK’s detainee abuse scandal was more than a matter of bad apples. EPA/Nigel Iskander

British abuse of Iraqi detainees was a pattern, not a single stain

The report published by the al-Sweady Inquiry has found that charges of murder levelled at a number of British troops by Iraqi prisoners were “without foundation”, but that nonetheless there were instances…
From the Turkish side of the border, residents watch an attack on Islamic State positions in the Syrian town of Kobane. EPA/Sedat Suna

Turkey has its own good reasons for not intervening in Kobane

As the Kurdish town of Kobane continues to defy Islamic State (IS) forces, many pundits have condemned Turkey’s unwillingness to help the People’s Protection Units (YPG) keep the forces of “evil” at bay…
A military campaign against Islamic State forces will offer no long-term resolution to Iraq’s extremist problem. YouTube/VICE News

Islamic State knows its history; to defeat it, we must know ours

To explain the disaster befalling Iraq, as well as the rise of Islamic State (IS), you have to go back a century – before modern Iraq even existed. That’s not to discount the shared culpability of Iraq’s…
Female members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) helped patrol the outskirts of Makhmur, a northern Iraqi town that was seized back from Islamic State militants in August. AAP/Eddie Gerald

Our forgotten allies against Islamic State: Iraqi and Syrian women

Women and girls living in Syria and Iraq have been subject to gross sexual violence, economic strife and the psychological trauma of a war that, to them, seems endless. But women in these countries are…
Most media outlets lined up behind the ‘coalition of the willing’ last time around. This time seems no different. The US Army

When governments go to war, the Fourth Estate goes AWOL

A year after the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the University of California, Berkeley, conducted a postmortem of the media coverage of the so-called “Iraq war”. The conference included academics, journalists…

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