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Can’t quite put my finger on it…

Can’t quite put my finger on it…

Two pieces of evidence for you to peruse. First, it turns out that there are proportionally a whole lot of Saudis working for Daesh as suicide bombers:

UPDATED: 31 suicide bombers in #Iraq in 45 days 46% of them are Saudis. Over 50 tons of explosives used. pic.twitter.com/L49jhLazow

— Zaid Benjamin (@zaidbenjamin) October 18, 2014

Though McClatchy’s Mitchell Prothero has an easy explanation for…

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Republicans: Ron Klain shouldn’t be Ebola Czar because he’s not a medical doctor like Colin Powell or Robert Gates

Republicans: Ron Klain shouldn’t be Ebola Czar because he’s not a medical doctor like Colin Powell or Robert Gates

If you’re going to appoint a “czar” to coordinate a national response to a disease that has infected all of two people within the United States, my vote would be for somebody who will give a press conference every day about how completely ridiculous it is that we’ve appointed a “czar” to coordinate a national response to a disease that has infected all of two people within the United States. Can…

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And we didn’t even have to destroy NATO to do it

And we didn’t even have to destroy NATO to do it

Turkey seems to have had a change of heart over Kobani:

Turkey’s foreign minister said Monday that the country would facilitate the movement of Iraqi Kurdish forces, known as pesh merga, to the embattled Syrian town of Kobani to join the fighting there.

At a news conference in Ankara, the Turkish foreign minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, said that his government was “helping the pesh merga cross over…

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Saturday Night Tunes: The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Saturday Night Tunes: The Blues and the Abstract Truth

Oliver Nelson, not unlike Clifford Brown, had a tragically short career that really only got started around 1960 and ended with his sudden death of a heart attack in 1975, at the age of 43. His career as a saxophonist and bandleader seems even shorter than those ~15 years would suggest, since he was such a prolific composer that some of his greatest musical contributions were made behind the…

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Islamic History, part 24: the Islamic West through the early 10th century

Islamic History, part 24: the Islamic West through the early 10th century

Islamic History Series

OK, I know last time I said we’d be getting onto Islamic theology with this one, but that’s coming next time. Instead, let’s talk about what’s going on in North Africa and Spain in the period through 909 (in Africa) and 912 (in Spain), because if we don’t do it now we’ll never do it.

I already talked about the Aghlabids in Ifriqiya (more or less modern Tunisia) in the last…

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Everything you need to know about this Congress in one story

Everything you need to know about this Congress in one story

Republican legislators who have criticized President Obama’s use of unconfirmed “czars” demand the appointment of an “Ebola czar.” This Ebola czar’s job would be pretty much what the Surgeon General should be doing right now, only the country doesn’t have a Surgeon General at the moment because Republican legislators won’t allow a vote on Obama’s nominee.

Ebola or no, we are hopelessly screwed…

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BREAKING: Nice things cost money

BREAKING: Nice things cost money

Two people have contracted Ebola in the United States, so obviously it’s time to panic:

While we flail around proposing counterproductive policy like flight bans to and from West Africa and pointless gibberishlike “close the Mexican border to keep the Ebola terrorists out,” one debate worth having is, you know, how do you like those…

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Tide turned in Kobani?

Tide turned in Kobani?

The BBC is reporting that Daesh is being “driven out” of the areas of Kobani that it had previously occupied:

Speaking by phone, Kurdish commander Baharin Kandal told the BBC’s Kasra Naji that she hoped the city would be “liberated soon”.

Ms Kandal said her militia group had been receiving arms, supplies and fighters but she refused to say how, reports our correspondent, who is on the Turkish…

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America’s Middle Eastern hypocrisy, part infinity of infinity

America’s Middle Eastern hypocrisy, part infinity of infinity

For once, let’s talk about Iran without bringing up the elephant in the room, by which obviously I mean the shocking revelation that Iranians seem to regularly have and even enjoy sex. No, wait, I mean the nuclear talks. The nuclear talks. Let’s ignore them for today.

Iran has a serious religious freedom problem. The United States Commission on International Religious Freedom lists Iranas a Tier…

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Talking Turkey at LobeLog

Talking Turkey @LobeLog

I have a new piece up today on the Turkey-Koboni-Kurd saga. Turkey has no interest in lifting a finger that might help the Kurds, which puts them (kind of) at odds with the United States, but let’s just say I’m skeptical about the neocon right’s plans to punish Turkey for the transgression of not doing what we want:

So the question of the day for America’s foreign policy establishment,…

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