You Know How James Foley Died. This Is How He Lived.

When we think of James Wright Foley now, one image is seared into our collective memory: a screenshot from a video, a prisoner on the verge of death. It’s a horrifying picture, the final scene in Foley’s tragic journey from documenting war to becoming its victim. So take a look at Foley’s life from childhood to his time reporting in the Middle East here. 

The Foley family requests that any donations be made to The James Foley Scholarship.


An excerpt:

It’s like you break into somebody’s house, you put their Islamic flag and you say, ‘This is an Islamic State from today.’ There is no legitimacy. The entire act is unlawful and unethical. Getting into somebody’s country, killing them and then wrongfully occupying their land and then declaring that land to be an Islamic State - this all in itself, principally speaking, is against the fundamental teachings of Islam. There is no excuse whatsoever for this tyranny and oppression.

Rolling Coal: From Anti-Environmentalists in the U.S. to the ISIS in the Middle East

If you missed the media frenzy earlier this summer, “rolling coal” is the term for a rising trend among anti-environmentalist conservatives in the U.S. who alter their truck engines to emit massive black clouds of exhaust, often from smoke stack-like attachments. In this latest of Vice News’ dispatches from the advances of the Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) in Syria and Iraq, we couldn’t help but see this display of military conquest by the IS as a strange parallel to similar displays of anti-authoritarianism in the US. Clearly not an example of knowingly “rolling coal”, the selection of this propaganda of might (whether provided by Vice’s host, an IS press secretary, or selected by Vice’s editors) argues the transcultural rhetorical power of blowing smoke.


Top military official suggests Obama still open to ground troops in Iraq.
"I am a 14-year-old Yazidi girl given as a gift to an Isis commander. Here’s how I escaped"

“That afternoon, they brought us to an empty school in Baaj, a little town west of Mosul near the Syrian border. We met many other Yazidi women who were captured by Islamic State. Their fathers, brothers and husbands had also been killed, they told us. Then Islamic State fighters entered. One of them recited the words to the shahada, the Muslim creed – “I testify that there is no God but Allah, and that Muhammad is his prophet” – and said that if we repeated them, we would become Muslims. But we refused. They were furious. They insulted us a lot and cursed us and our beliefs.”

I’ve been reading a lot on ISIS and this article in particular really affected me. It’s the story of Narin, a fourteen-year-old Yazidi girl who was taken captive by ISIS. It’s her story of captivity up until she was able to miraculously escape. It’s a good read so I highly suggest you read it, especially if you don’t know much about what’s happening with ISIS.


Years ago, Hitch predicted exactly what’s happening in Iraq today. If he was still alive, having had seen the turmoil in Syria and the U.S. and International neglect of Syria, he would have certainly added the ISIS sectarians to the list.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is said to be ‘the new Osama Bin-Laden.’ Maybe Hitch would have equated him more so with Saddam Hussein; a viscous, tyrannical, fascist dictator with all the intent in the world to destroy and partition along political, ethnic, and religious divisions.

President Obama has ruled out the use of ground forces in Iraq. So now, after years and decades of the spoilage of war in the Middle East, having desperately tried to establish a federal government in Iraq, eliminate the Taliban from Afghanistan, and a ridiculous attempt to secure oil, nuclear and other massively destructive weapons, and at least some moderate allies in the region, and pathetic games with Russia while millions of Syrians are in duress……… we’re just going to piss off and let it all slip back five, ten, twenty years in time……..

Fine. Let the blood run. Syria doesn’t have the oil of Lybia. It doesn’t have the Jewish ear of Israel. It doesn’t have a Bin-Laden-esque sectarian leader like in Afghanistan. No. Syria is just the place where a man even al-Zawahiri couldn’t bare to work with has gained power, money, and weapons, not to mention enough men to take the entirety of western Iraq and still have an appetite for Baghdad.

Could we possibly fuck this up further???

Please stop spreading pictures of the death of Captain al-Kasasbeh.

Firstly, of course, please remember that he had a family like the rest of us. He had just married last September, and leaves behind a widow. Her name is Anwar al-Tarawneh. It is utterly dehumanizing and cruel.

Secondly, we need to remember why ISIS murdered him. Terrorist groups feed off shock value. By definition, these organizations use violence and the threat of more violence in order to coerce a target audience into giving into a certain set of demands. In this case, “signal boosts”, and making this man’s suffering and death into a sort of a shocking spectacle, is playing into ISIS’s hands.

This isn’t in the least bit to imply that we shouldn’t remember him or that we should accept ISIS, the perpetrators of countless crimes against humanity. But for heaven’s sake don’t turn this man into a spectacle. 

Iraqi artist transforms instruments of war into “instruments of peace”

Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat—In a recent video posted on the Internet, Karim Wasfi, an Iraqi musician and the former conductor of Iraq’s National Symphony Orchestra, walks into a car bomb site in Baghdad with his cello and starts playing a sad, haunting melody he had especially composed for the purpose—appropriately titled Baghdad Melancholy. Right in the…

Iraqi artist transforms instruments of war into “instruments of peace” was originally published on ASHARQ AL-AWSAT