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ISIS and the U.S. Presidential Election

The United States is already taking some steps to roll back the Islamic State (ISIS) and restrict its resources and recruits, including airstrikes, armin

Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, November 4, 2016 9:51 PM

This is a non-partisan post and a video that is fairly balanced; this video nicely lays out some of the cultural and political factors that the next president of the United States should consider when crafting foreign policy in the especially problematic Middle East.  

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq?

Are American Troops Already Fighting on the Front Lines in Iraq? | ApocalypseSurvival | Scoop.it
The Pentagon is denying that U.S. troops are fighting ISIS on the ground in Iraq—but eyewitness accounts and Kurdish officials tell a different story.

Via Kenneth Weene, ApocalypseSurvival
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Kenneth Weene's curator insight, September 2, 2014 9:37 AM

Damn, what are we getting ourselves into now? I hope these "American" and "German" fighters are volunteers and mercenaries and not members of our actual military (of Germany's). Quite simply, we had no place in Iraq to begin with and we shouldn't be there now. And, yes, I do want the Kurds to be okay. And, yes, I do want ISIS defeated. But not using U.S. troops. Enough with the world's policeman already.

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Make no mistake: We're back in an Iraq war

Make no mistake: We're back in an Iraq war | ApocalypseSurvival | Scoop.it
Every time Barack Obama thinks he has succeeded in establishing restraint as the central doctrine of his foreign policy, a new outburst of chaos in the Middle East draws him back in. In 2011, fears that Libya's Moammar Kadafi would massacre opponents led the United States into an air war. In 2013, Syria's use of chemical weapons against civilians almost drew Obama into another. Now it's Iraq, where the president thought he had disentangled the United States, only to see a new threat arise in the form of the terrorist army of the Islamic State.

Via Ken Feltman, ApocalypseSurvival
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Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin

Freshwater Stores Shrank in Tigris-Euphrates Basin | ApocalypseSurvival | Scoop.it
An arid region grew even drier between 2003 and 2009 due to human consumption of water for drinking and agriculture.

Via Seth Dixon
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James Hobson's curator insight, October 22, 2014 6:24 PM

(Southwest Asia topic 2)

The area known as the Cradle of Humanity is becoming less hospitable. Though natural climate change can be attributed to the dryer conditions, humans have made just as much of an impact. Increased water usage leads to less reserve. Impacts stretch further, however. Less water flow below the dam can lead to changes in sedimentation patterns and disrupt wildlife habitats, potentially causing harm to wildlife.

Alex Vielman's curator insight, November 25, 2015 2:09 PM

Similar to the Aral Sea,  the Tigris and Euphrates river basins have become drier and drier between 2003 and 2009. It is important to see all the aspects that have caused the rive to dry out and its do to there own people in this region. About 60 percent of the loss was attributed to the pumping of groundwater from underground reservoirs. Most of the problems are due to that about one-fifth of the water losses came from snowpack shrinking and soil drying up, partly in response to a 2007 drought. These could be some of the environmental issues but also there has been tremendous population increases in this region. This water is perfect drinking water for the people of South East Asia and the countries surrounding it but numbers are extremely high. 

It is important to analyze how us humans can change the geography of a certain area in such little time. 

Adam Deneault's curator insight, December 14, 2015 4:19 PM

The middle east has lost a huge portion of its freshwater over the past decade. The two natural-color images above were acquired by the Landsat satellites and show the shrinking of the Qadisiyah Reservoir in Iraq between September 7, 2006 and September 15, 2009. The first graph shows the elevation of the water in that reservoir between January 2003 and December 2009. The second graph shows water storage from January 2003 to December 2009. Obtaining ground data information in the middle east can be difficult.The researchers calculated that about one-fifth of the water losses in their Tigris-Euphrates study region came from snowpack shrinking and soil drying up, partly in response to a 2007 drought.

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Introducing ISIS

"The invasion of Iraq was supposed to turn the country into a democracy that posed no threat to the United States, or the rest of the world. Thirteen years later, Iraq has collapsed into three warring states. A third of the country is controlled by ISIS, who have also taken huge amounts of territory in Syria. VICE correspondent Ben Anderson gains exclusive access to the three front lines in Iraq, where Sunni, Shiite and Kurdish forces are fighting for their lives. Anderson visits with the Russian military forces in Syria, meets captured ISIS fighters in Kurdistan, and interviews US policymakers about how the situation in Iraq spun out of control."


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Seth Dixon's curator insight, September 13, 2016 2:15 PM

Many young students are especially baffled at how a terrorist organization can seize control of large chunks of territory.  If you are looking for a good video introduction that explains how and why ISIS was able to gain power and than gain and maintain territory, this is it (it's classroom safe despite the source). 

 

Tags: Syria, war, conflict, political, geopolitics, Iraq, devolution, terrorism, ISISMiddle East.

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The 9 biggest myths about ISIS

The 9 biggest myths about ISIS | ApocalypseSurvival | Scoop.it
If you want to understand the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, the first thing you have to know about them is that they are not crazy. Murderous adherents to a violent medieval ideology, sure. But not insane.

Via Seth Dixon, ApocalypseSurvival
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David Lizotte's curator insight, March 14, 2015 2:39 PM

This article does a good job helping the reader gain a more rounded perspective of ISIS, that is ISIS' rational. The writer feels it necessary for people to better understand ISIS' reasoning for its being so there are in turn no misjudgments formed about the terrorists. I knew the writer was in no way defending ISIS, rather giving an intellectual input on the matter to try and enhance everyones perspective. However, as contextual as it was, the writer truly needed to get across how crude/violent the movement truly is. Yes, understanding ISIS is important, it helps form a more precise explanation for their actions... but they are terrorists whom are exploiting the misfortune of a people (Sunni misrepresentation in a political setting) in order to form a society... which is ultimately founded on violence and acts that counter the true fundamentals and meaning of Islam. A less experienced reader could perceive this article as defending the reasoning(s)/rational of ISIS.

Personally, I find that there is rational behind every movement/terrorist factions/rebel actions, etc... There is usually a common goal, no matter how well-thought out and actions then occur in order to obtain this goal, no matter how well-thought out. Even Joseph Kony (at his height), rampaging through central Africa has a rational behind his actions-to disrupt villages/communities, gain profit in food and money, as well as abduct and dehumanize young children in order to make them fierce warriors, all these reasons ultimately support his main issue/goal, that being fighting government suppression. Horrible rational which leads to atrocities, yet no piece was written to help the world gain a better understanding of Kony and the Lord's Resistance Army. Because in either case they are terrorists...

Yes, understanding the enemy and how/why it functions the way it does is important. Yes, interpreting there rational is important. But this article truly fails to get across how ruthless and disturbed ISIS actually is. The writer states ISIS is basically doing what many rebel groups do when upset with the political setting... they rebel and try to form there own territory. Well, this is true, especially the political reasoning behind ISIS' actions and its existence (something the article does do a good job explaining) but the way ISIS goes about is non-comparable. Look at the Russian-backed separatists in the Eastern Ukraine. Both oppositions engaged in war fare. They aren't playing a game of hide and seek beheading civilians, torturing reporters, etc... all for political gains... ISIS are terrorists-of course they have a rational, of course they are smart, there predecessor "al-Qaeda" were smart too. Joseph Kony can be seen as smart... he hasn't gotten caught, thats smart isn't it? 

The article explains that them being smart and having a strong rational motive makes them dangerous. No kidding they are dangerous.

The article does a good job at educating people about ISIS yet it certainly teeters on the line of defending them. It gives reasoning behind there soulless attacks, scholars know the reasoning, they do not have to be written out in a quasi defense format like I believe this article does. "The end justifies the means" is the perspective of the Islamic State... it shouldn't be so for this writer!

Lora Tortolani's curator insight, March 18, 2015 9:04 PM

This may be a little off topic but with a President like Obama, how could America even try to stop ISIS alone?  That man has made a fool of our country!  I don't think ISIS would self-destruct on its own; it will continue to grow and become more powerful because people are afraid.

Mark Hathaway's curator insight, October 23, 2015 6:13 AM

Like much of the Middle East, ISIS is shrouded in myth. To many Americans, they are just a band of savage lunatics who want to chop peoples heads off. In reality they are not that insane. The violence they commit is calculated. "It  is targeted to weaken their enemies and strengthen ISIS' hold on territory, in part by terrorizing the people it wishes to rule over". They are driven by radical ideology, but they do have an ultimate goal in mind. They want to rule territory and form their own radical empire. Violence is a tool to achieve that aim.  The rest of this article describes eight other myths commonly associated with ISIS. This article does an excellent job of breaking down commonly held assumptions of ISIS.

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Ten Years After the Invasion of Iraq: The Human Cost


Via Seth Dixon, ApocalypseSurvival
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, March 15, 2013 1:03 PM

The effects of war can be staggering and far-reaching.  Often the costs are much higher than anticipated at the beginning.  Read this press release for more details on the recent findings regarding the actual costs of the Iraq War, which are estimated to have cost over 190,000 lives and $2.2 trillion. 


Tags: Iraq, conflict, K12, political, MiddleEast, war.

Ryan Amado's curator insight, December 11, 2013 4:25 AM

The death of 190,000 people due to war is always a tragedy.  There is a positive side to this number, however.  The Iraq war cost 190,00 lives in ten years, an average of 19,000 deaths a year. In World War II, the Russians alone lost 9,000,000 people, in a much shorter amount of time.  We are no longer losing large chunks of our population in wars, due to new technology and combat strategies. 

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NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East

NASA Satellites Find Freshwater Losses in Middle East | ApocalypseSurvival | Scoop.it
A new study using data from a pair of gravity-measuring NASA satellites finds that large parts of the arid Middle East region lost freshwater reserves rapidly during the past decade.

 

"[This] data show an alarming rate of decrease in total water storage in the Tigris and Euphrates river basins, which currently have the second fastest rate of groundwater storage loss on Earth, after India," said Jay Famiglietti, principal investigator of the study and a hydrologist and professor at UC Irvine. "The rate was especially striking after the 2007 drought. Meanwhile, demand for freshwater continues to rise, and the region does not coordinate its water management because of different interpretations of international laws."

 

Tags: water, environment, consumption, resources, environment depend, Middle East, Iraq.


Via Seth Dixon
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Seth Dixon's curator insight, February 24, 2013 10:00 PM

This is a perfect example of geospatial technologies can lead to a better understanding of how the Earth's physical systems are changing because of human geography.  Teaching geography is about showing how these systems are interconnected.   

Elizabeth Bitgood's curator insight, March 19, 2014 9:24 AM

Water is a big issue in an arid area.  The fact that we can measure the amount of groundwater present in an area with a satellite is amazing to me.  The issue of water rights and control in this region will someday over take that of oil rights and use in my opinion.  Once people get used to free flowing water to use on demand it will cause problems politically when these sources of ground water inevitably dry up.