“Permission to Engage – Witness” (Al-Jazeera)

This Al-Jazeera documentary dissects the infamous “Collateral Murder” video.

See the Wikileaks Page here.

See the Chelsea Manning Page here.

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Spanish leftists join fight against ISIL (Al-Jazeera)

Lions of Rojava

“At any rate, the Syria-is-Spain debate took a new turn last week when a video surfaced showing two Spaniards who had travelled to Syria to join the “revolutionary” Kurdish struggle against ISIL.

The young men, appear in front of a Soviet flag and the tri-colour flag of the Second Spanish Republic, and address the camera dressed in military fatigues, with their faces covered. One of the fighters, identified by his nom de guerre Paco Arcadio, declares: “We are not fighting against Muslims, but against the fascism that Islamic State [ISIL] represents, in the same way that people fought in Spain in 1936 or in Stalingrad in 1943.”

Spanish intelligence stumbled upon the seven-minute video on a pro-Kurdish YouTube channel, and are now trying to identify the fighters and find out how manySpaniards have gone to fight ISIL. The Spanish volunteers are members of a far-left group called Reconstrucion Comunista (Communist Reconstruction).”

Read the full article here

ISIL DEFACEMENTS EXPLOITING WORDPRESS VULNERABILITIES (FBI)

Centcom Hack

“Continuous Web site defacements are being perpetrated by individuals sympathetic to the Islamic State in the Levant (ISIL) a.k.a. Islamic State of Iraq and al-Shams (ISIS). The defacements have affected Web site operations and the communication platforms of news organizations, commercial entities, religious institutions, federal/state/local governments, foreign governments, and a variety of other domestic and international Web sites. Although the defacements demonstrate low-level hacking sophistication, they are disruptive and often costly in terms of lost business revenue and expenditures on technical services to repair infected computer systems.”

Read the full text of alert I-040715a-PSA here.

What does an Arab League joint military force mean for the crisis in Yemen? (PBS News Hour)

“The decision by the 21 nations of the Arab League to create a joint military force because of the crisis in Yemen raises the question: Why didn’t the organization mobilize the same way to fight ISIS in Iraq? Matt Bradley of The Wall Street Journal joins Hari Sreenivasan via Skype from Erbil, Iraq, to discuss the muddled situation.”

“Petraeus: The Islamic State isn’t our biggest problem in Iraq” (WaPo)

Petraeus

“Gen. David H. Petraeus, who commanded U.S. troops in Iraq during the 2007-2008 surge, was back in that country last week for the first time in more than three years. He was attending the annual Sulaimani Forum, a get-together of Iraqi leaders, thinkers and academics, at the American University of Iraq – Sulaimani in northern Iraq’s Kurdistan region.

[Read: Five things Petraeus thinks about the future of the Middle East]

In his most expansive comments yet on the latest crisis in Iraq and Syria, he answered written questions from The Post’s Liz Sly, offering insights into the mistakes, the prosecution and the prospects of the war against the Islamic State, also known as ISIS, which he refers to by its Arabic acronym, Daesh.”

See the full interview here.

Stabilizing Iraqi Territories (State Department)

Special Presidential Envoy for the Global Coalition To Counter ISIL 
Prime Minister’s Guest House
Baghdad, Iraq
March 16, 2015

“It is good to be back in Baghdad and to see so many familiar faces. I want to thank the Prime Minister and COMSEC for hosting us today. I also want to thank the Iraqi deputy ministers, Dr. Hamid, Dr. Turki, German Charge Milan Simandl and leaders who have come together to discuss a series of efforts that are vital to the peaceful and prosperous future of Iraq.

We also have a team today from the United Kingdom, Germany, Italy, the UN, and the EU to learn from you today. We will bring your message back to the other Coalition partners who will meet in Berlin on Wednesday.

When I was here last, Prime Minister Abadi and I spoke about the importance of planning for Stabilization Operations. I have come to Baghdad today with a team of experts because we agreed that Stabilization planning must begin in earnest. Today and tomorrow our team will learn and understand how the Coalition can best support the Iraqi plan for stabilizing territories your country will take back from Daesh.

As Daesh is defeated in population centers and the military forces must move on to other objectives, there will be an immediate need for policing and public security efforts to set the conditions for essential service delivery. Populations that have fled the fighting will need shelter, assistance, and security, until they can return home. In many cases facilities will have been destroyed or made insecure by IEDs. Providers will need to rapidly assess and respond with basic medical care, water, electricity and other municipal services. All first responders, whether civil or military, should be sensitized to the special needs of those who’ve suffered under Daesh, especially women and girls.”

See the full press release here.

How to Win Friends and Influence Iraqis (Foreign Policy)

Shia Militias

“The United States has taken a back seat to Shiite militias and Iranian commanders in the battle for Tikrit. Does that make Washington all but irrelevant in Baghdad going forward?”

See the full analysis here.