Weekly Links

By Taylor Marvin

Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, 'Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers.' Via the National Gallery of Art.
Giovanni Battista Tiepolo, ‘Queen Zenobia Addressing Her Soldiers.’ Via the National Gallery of Art.

Two suicide bombings in less than 24 hours shocked the Russian city of Volgograd this week. Russian authorities have detained dozens of people, and Australia announced that its athletes will travel to the upcoming Sochi Olympics via ground transportation. A prominent Chechen rebel leader previously termed the Sochi Games “satanic dances on the bones of our ancestors.”

For its part the International Olympic Committee is reportedly ‘confident’ that terrorism will not affect the upcoming Winter Games, and Russian officials maintain that the already-scheduled security measures will be sufficient.

For those who have not seen it, the New York Times has a long investigation of the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya that killed Ambassador Stevens and three others.

A new US intelligence estimate warns that gains in Afghanistan will be quickly lost — “the situation would deteriorate very rapidly,” comments on official — after next year’s troop drawdown. Thomas Ruttig reviews twelve years of international intervention in the country.

In the wake of the horrific bombing campaign over Aleppo, the Syrian Air Force has maintained a high sortie rate over the course of the war. “The increased strength of the [Syrian Arab Air Force] has also been making it possible for Syrian ground forces to get more support from helicopters and aircraft,” comments a Turkish military source. “This is the biggest morale booster for ground forces.”

In neighboring Iraq weapons markets have surged with the war in Syria, recalling a similar “arms selling frenzy” in Lebanon.

After designating the Muslim Brotherhood as a terrorist organization, the Egyptian government is stepping up arrests of domestic opponents against a background of unrest and militancy. This week a student died in clashes between police and Brotherhood supporters at a Cairo university.

Via Andrew M. Mwenda, how Hollywood cloaked South Sudan in celebrity and fell for the ‘big lie’. Today there are early reports of a prospective ceasefire between the South Sudanese government and rebels.

Jay Ulfelder on 2013 and mass killings.

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