Informed Comment http://www.juancole.com Thoughts on the Middle East, History and Religion Tue, 26 May 2015 07:50:33 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 Is it the US that isn’t stepping up to fight Daesh/ ISIL?http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/stepping-fight-daesh.html http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/stepping-fight-daesh.html#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 07:50:33 +0000 http://www.juancole.com/?p=152552 By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) —

Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s blunt remarks on Sunday about the Iraqi army not having the will to fight have ruffled feathers in Baghdad and Tehran, and Vice President Joe Biden was constrained to call Iraqi Prime Minister Haydar al-Abadi and reassure him that the US was standing with him.

Carter was referring to the Iraqi army’s ignominious retreat from Ramadi over a week ago.

Iranian Brig. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, head of the Jerusalem (Qods) Brigades of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, fired back at Washington, maintaining that the US is the problem.

Soleimani said that only Iran had stepped up to help Iraq fight Daesh (ISIL, ISIS). He added, “Obama has not done a damn thing so far to confront Daesh: doesn’t that show that there is no will in America to confront it? . . . How is it that America claims to be protecting the Iraqi government, when a few kilometres away in Ramadi killings and war crimes are taking place and they are doing nothing?”

Iraqi forces in al-Anbar Province, unlike those in Salahuddin and Ninewa Provinces, have frequently complained of the lack of close air support from the US and its coalition. Even in Salahuddin, the US had declined to fly air force missions to help the campaign to take Tikrit, until the campaign stalled out and looked like it would fail. At that point PM al-Abadi pleaded with President Obama to intervene. Obama initially appears to have wanted to avoid giving close air support to pro-Iranian Shiite militiamen, the bulk of the effective fighting force around Tikrit, insisting it would only help the regular Iraqi army.

It is a bit mysterious why the US allows Daesh armored convoys to move around al-Anbar freely, a point made on Twitter by a Dr. Mohammed Hammudi:

The US seems to be using its air strikes not just to contain Daesh but as a bargaining chip with the al-Abadi government. Al-Abadi has an army that doesn’t amount to much, but has a set of Shiite militias that fight just fine. He had asked the militias to stay away from solidly Sunni al-Anbar, because he feared that the image of Shiite militias attacking Daesh would anger Sunni Arabs. The militias in turn are getting training and advice from Iran.

The US doesn’t want to appear to be flying close air support missions for these Shiite militias, and, essentially, for Iran, against a Sunni population. Obama probably is withholding some air support to encourage al-Abadi to break with the Shiite militias or at least to induct them into the regular army.

But letting Ramadi fall in order to punish al-Abadi for not being inclusive enough in his policies (if that is what happened) was a major policy error on Obama’s part.

Soleimani is exaggerating when he says that the US has done nothing. But it is true that the US air force seems to be leaving a lot of pieces on the board for Daesh, and it is hard to imagine why that should be.

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‘Climate Change Deniers Are Like Alcoholics’ | Ed Begley, Jr.http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/climate-deniers-alcoholics.html http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/climate-deniers-alcoholics.html#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 05:39:24 +0000 http://www.juancole.com/?p=152548 Dave Rubin | (Rubin Report Video) –

“Ed Begley Jr sits down with Dave Rubin for an interview about everything from environmental activism and climate change, to the California drought and the future of our planet ”

Rubin Report ‘Climate Change Deniers Are Like Alcoholics’ | Ed Begley, Jr. Interview

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Yemen conflict fans food insecurityhttp://www.juancole.com/2015/05/yemen-conflict-insecurity.html http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/yemen-conflict-insecurity.html#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 05:30:51 +0000 http://www.juancole.com/?p=152545 By Peter Salisbury and Louise Redvers | (IRIN) –

AMMAN / DUBAI (IRIN) – The conflict in Yemen is worsening the country’s food insecurity, according to a new report, which predicts that the parts of Arab state may enter an emergency phase by the end of the year.

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWS NET) is forecasting that Yemen will be at “PHASE 4: Emergency” by November, meaning “at least one in five households face extreme food consumption gaps resulting in very high acute malnutrition or excess mortality.”

“The ongoing conflict and naval blockade are restricting imports of food and fuel, driving up prices,” noted the FEWS NET report, published on Wednesday.

“Concurrently, most key household income sources are believed to be affected, including formal salaries, agricultural wage labor, petty trade, and livestock sales, with some disruptions to remittance flows reported.”

Christopher Hillbruner, of FEWS NET, told IRIN there was an expectation that Yemen could reach PHASE 4 before November.

Even before this latest round of conflict, nearly half of Yemen’s population of 26 million was ranked food insecure. A small oil producer with weak infrastructure and limited water and electricity supplies, the country imports 90 percent of its food and the majority of its fuel.

See: SLIDESHOW: Forgotten hunger in Yemen

Conflict in 2010 drove up malnutrition in parts of Yemen to crisis levels, and rising poverty since the Arab Spring protests of 2011 means millions simply do not have enough money to feed themselves.

Airstrikes by a Saudi Arabian-led coalition on Houthi rebels – which it claims are proxies of regional foe Iran – have compounded the situation, as have the coalition warships preventing supply boats from docking at ports

Destruction

According to a report published on Wednesday by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC), the conflict has killed 1,820 people and wounded 7,330, while more than half a million have been displaced.

The UN’s office for co-ordination, OCHA, reports widespread destruction to civilian infrastructure and according to the UN’s Children’s Fund, UNICEF, dozens of schools have been affected by the conflict, either hit by shells or taken over as emergency refuge by displaced families.

Via IRIN Humanitarian News

Related video added by Juan Cole:

PressTV: “New coalition formed in Yemen against Saudi airstrikes”

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Israel Confiscates 202 Acres of Palestinian land for Squatter Settlement Garbage Dumphttp://www.juancole.com/2015/05/confiscates-palestinian-settlement.html http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/confiscates-palestinian-settlement.html#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 05:09:48 +0000 http://www.juancole.com/?p=152542 By Saed Bannoura | (IMEMC) –

The Israeli Authorities have decided to confiscate around 820 Dunams (202 acres) of privately owned Palestinian lands to establish new dumping grounds for its illegal colonies, in the central West Bank, in the Ramallah district.

settlementland
Land with village in background (image by Palestine TV)

More than 140 Palestinian families, from Rammoun and Dir Dibwan villages, own the lands that Israel plans to illegally confiscate to establish the new dumping grounds.

The dump, according to the Israeli authorities, “would serve the settlements and the Palestinians in the area,” but would be run completely by Israel and Palestinians would have no access to it.

If the Israeli government manages to take control of the 820 Palestinian Dunams, the total impacted area from the new dumping grounds would be around 2000 Dunams, which would be contaminated by runoff and debris.

These lands contain fertile soil and farmland, in addition to many water wells, Palestine TV has reported.

The residents plant their lands with various crops, mainly wheat, and use parts of this land as grazing grounds for their livestock. Some of the land is slated for development as residential areas, but this would be impossible once Israel takes control of the land and turns it into a dump.

Local villagers told Palestine TV that Israel is trying to push them out of the area to turn their land into a dump – many of these villagers have already lost land in past seizures by the Israeli military for the construction of illegal colonies.

There are three settlements near the lands in question, in addition to a settlement road and a military roadblock.

Via IMEMC

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Western Teen Who traveled to join ISIL wants to go back & live in Parents’ Basementhttp://www.juancole.com/2015/05/western-traveled-basement.html http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/western-traveled-basement.html#comments Tue, 26 May 2015 04:56:02 +0000 http://www.juancole.com/?p=152539 TomoNews | (Video)

“Bridgeman, who was captain of his rugby team, graduated from high school in November 2014. He then traveled to Indonesia for humanitarian work, according to the teenager’s Facebook page and 9 News.

When he failed to return home from his trip, his parents alerted officials.

The Australian Federal Police tracked Bridgeman down in Syria and discovered he had travelled through Turkey. Officials said he had “aligned himself” with a terrorist group, 9 News reported.

Bridgeman’s parents deny the teenager has joined a terrorist group.

“’We do not believe he is participating in fighting of any kind, nor do we believe he is supporting or participating in terrorist acts,” they said in a statement.

Regardless, Facebook users have taken to Bridgeman’s page to leave hateful comments.

“I hope a member of the ADF is responsible for your demise!” one commenter wrote.
“You are unAustralian you barbaric pedophile worshipping moron. Even the islamic community in Aus seems to have wiped their hands clean of you!”

A spokesman for the Islamic Council of Queensland said others could learn from Bridgeman’s mistake.

“If he wants to come home, we should support him as he may play a key role in deterring others,” spokesman Ali Kadri told 9 News.”

TomoNews: “Al-qaeda fighter: Scared teen who fought in Syria now wants mom and dad to save him”

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More Bad Climate News: Once-Stable Antarctic Region Suddenly Meltinghttp://www.juancole.com/2015/05/climate-antarctic-suddenly.html http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/climate-antarctic-suddenly.html#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 06:30:40 +0000 http://www.juancole.com/?p=152535 By Bert Wouters | (The Conversation)

Antarctica’s glaciers have been making headlines during the past year, and not in a good way. Whether it’s a massive ice shelf facing imminent risk of collapse, glaciers in the West Antarctic past the point of no return, or new threats to East Antarctic ice, it’s all been rather gloomy.

And now I’m afraid there’s more bad news: a new study published in the journal Science, led by a team of my colleagues and I from the University of Bristol, has observed a sudden increase of ice loss in a previously stable part of Antarctica.

The Antarctic Peninsula.
Wiki, CC BY-NC-SA

The region in question is the southernmost half of the Antarctic Peninsula, a section of the mainland which extends 1300km into the Southern Ocean. Its northern half is the continent’s mildest region and the climate effects there are clear. We already knew for instance that the glaciers of the Northern Antarctic Peninsula were in trouble following the disintegration of some of its ice shelves, most famously Larsen A and B.

Further to the west, the massive glaciers feeding into the Amundsen Sea have been shedding ice into the ocean at an alarming rate for decades. Out of the blue, the Southern Peninsula filled up the gap between these two regions and became Antarctica’s second largest contributor to sea level rise.

Using satellite elevation measurements, we found the Southern Antarctic Peninsula showed no signs of change up to 2009. Around that year, multiple glaciers along a vast 750km coastline suddenly started to shed ice into the ocean at a nearly constant rate of 60 cubic km, or about 55 trillion litres of water, each year – enough water to fill 350,000 Empire State Buildings over the past five years.

Some of the glaciers are currently thinning by as much as 4 metres each year. The ice loss in the region is so large that it causes small changes in the Earth’s gravity field, which can be detected by another satellite mission, the Gravity Recovery and Climate Experiment (GRACE).

So sudden even the supply ship seems to have been caught out.
J Bamber, Author provided

Is this an effect of global warming?

The answer is both yes and no. Data from an Antarctic climate model shows that the sudden change cannot be explained by changes in snowfall or air temperature. Instead, we attribute the rapid ice loss to warming oceans.

Many of the glaciers in the region feed into ice shelves that float on the surface of the ocean. They act as a buttress to the ice resting on bedrock inland, slowing down the flow of the glaciers into the ocean. The westerly winds that encircle Antarctica have become more vigorous in recent decades, in response to climate warming and ozone depletion. The stronger winds push warm waters from the Southern Ocean poleward, where they eat away at the glaciers and floating ice shelves from below.

Ice shelves in the region have lost almost one-fifth of their thickness in the last two decades, thereby reducing the resisting force on the glaciers. A key concern is that much of the ice of the Southern Antarctic Peninsula is grounded on bedrock below sea level, which gets deeper inland. This means that even if the glaciers retreat, the warm water will chase them inland and melt them even more.

Cause for concern?

The region’s melting glaciers are currently adding about 0.16 millimetres to global sea levels per year, which won’t immediately make you run for the hills. But it’s yet another source of sea level rise, about 5% of the global total increase. What might be a bigger source of concern is that the changes occurred so suddenly and in an area that was behaving quietly until now. The fact that so many glaciers in such a large region suddenly started to lose ice came as a surprise. It shows a very fast response of the ice sheet: in just a few years everything changed.

The Southern Antarctic Peninsula contains enough ice to add 35 cm to sea level, but that won’t happen any time soon. It’s too early to tell how much longer the ice loss will continue and how much it will contribute to future sea level rise. For this, a detailed knowledge of the geometry of the local ice shelves, the ocean floor topography, ice sheet thickness and glacier flow speeds are crucial.

But the ice on Antarctica is like a sleeping giant. Even if we would stop emitting greenhouse gases as of today, or the inflow of warm water would stop, this inert system would take a long time to find an equilibrium again.

The Conversation

Bert Wouters is Marie Curie Research Fellow in Geographical Sciences at University of Bristol.

This article was originally published on The Conversation.
Read the original article.

Bert Wouters is Marie Curie Research Fellow in Geographical Sciences at University of Bristol

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

CBC News: “Smart science: Antarctic ice shelf disapearing”

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Did the US DIA see ISIL as a strategic Ally against al-Assad in 2012?http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/strategic-against-assad.html http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/strategic-against-assad.html#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 06:03:50 +0000 http://www.juancole.com/?p=152532 By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment)-

The answer, in a word, is “no.” Fabius Maximus is right that this is just a clickbait story or an unfounded conspiracy theory.

The Defense Intelligence Agency’s correct assessment of where things were going in Syria, done in 2012, doesn’t say that the US created sectarian groups and it does not say that the US favors al-Qaeda in Syria or the so-called “Islamic State of Iraq.” It says that those powers (e.g. Turkey and the Gulf monarchies) supporting the opposition wanted to see the declaration of a Salafi (hard line Sunni) breakaway statelet, in order to put pressure on the al-Assad regime.

It doesn’t say they wanted to see a Daesh (ISIS, ISIL) state.

It doesn’t say the US or “the West” wanted to see such a thing (the US wouldn’t be included in the “powers” supporting al-Qaeda-linked groups! — especially by the DIA!)

In fact, the memo warns that any such development could lead to the break-up of Iraq, an eventuality that the authors clearly felt was undesirable for US foreign policy.

The document was sprung by the conservative site Judicial Watch through a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request:

DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE – CLASSIFICATION: SECRET.
INFORMATION REPORT, NOT FINALLY EVALUATED INTELLIGENCE.
COUNTRY: (U) IRAQ (IRQ). DOI: (U) 20120730.
1. {REDACTED}
2. {REDACTED}
THE GENERAL SITUATION:

A. INTERNALLY, EVENTS ARE TAKING A CLEAR SECTARIAN DIRECTION.

B. THE SALAFIST,- THE MUSLIM BROTHERHOOD, AND AQI [al-Qaeda in Iraq] ARE THE MAJOR FORCES DRIVING THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA.

C. THE WEST, GULF COUNTRIES, AND TURKEY SUPPORT THE OPPOSITION; WHILE RUSSIA. CHINA, AND IRAN SUPPORT THE REGIME.

D. {REDACTED}

E. THE REGIME’S PRIORITY IS TO CONCENTRATE ITS PRESENCE IN AREAS ALONG THE COAST (TARTUS, AND LATAKIA); HOWEVER, IT HAS NOT ABANDONED HOMS BECAUSE IT CONTROLS THE MAJOR TRANSPORTATION ROUTES IN SYRIA. THE REGIME DECREASED ITS CONCENTRATION IN AREAS ADJACENT TO THE IRAQI BORDERS (AL HASAKA AND DER ZOR).
3. AL QAEDA – IRAQ (AQI):

A. AQI IS FAMILIAR WITH SYRIA. AQI TRAINED IN SYRIA AND THEN INFILTRATED INTO IRAQ.

B. AQI SUPPORTED THE SYRIAN OPPOSITION FROM THE BEGINNING, BOTH IDEOLOGICALLY AND THROUGH THE MEDIA. AQI DECLARED ITS OPPOSITION OF ASSAD’S GOVERNMENT BECAUSE IT CONSIDERED IT A SECTARIAN REGIME TARGETING SUNNIS.

C. AQI CONDUCTED A NUMBER OF OPERATIONS IN SEVERAL SYRIAN CITIES UNDER THE NAME OF JAISH AL NUSRA (VICTORIOUS ARMY), ONE OF ITS AFFILIATES.

D. AQI, THROUGH THE SPOKESMAN OF THE ISLAMIC STATE OF IRAQ (ISI), ABU MUHAMMAD AL ADNANI, DECLARED THE SYRIAN REGIME AS THE SPEARHEAD OF WHAT HE IS NAMING JIBHA AL RUWAFDH (FOREFRONT OF THE SHIITES) BECAUSE OF ITS {THE SYRIAN REGIME) DECLARATION OF WAR ON THE SUNNIS.

ADDITIONALLY. HE IS CALLING ON THE SUNNIS IN IRAQ, ESPECIALLY THE TRIBES IN THE BORDER REGIONS (BETWEEN IRAQ AND SYRIA), TO WAGE WAR AGAINST THE SYRIAN REGIME, REGARDING SYRIA AS AN INFIDEL REGIME FOR ITS SUPPORT TO THE INFIDEL PARTY HEZBOLLAH, AND OTHER REGIMES HE CONSIDERS DISSENTERS LIKE IRAN AND IRAQ.

E. AQI CONSIDERS THE SUNNI ISSUE IN IRAQ TO BE FATEFULLY CONNECTED TO THE SUNNI ARABS AND MUSLIMS.

4. THE BORDERS:

A. THE BORDERS BETWEEN SYRIA AND IRAQ STRETCH APPROXIMATELY 600KM WITH COMPLEX TERRAIN CONSISTING OF A VAST DESERT, MOUNTAIN RANGES (SINJAR MOUNTAINS). JOINT RIVERS (FLOWING ON BOTH SIDES), AND AGRICULTURAL LANDS.

B. IRAQ DIRECTLY NEIGHBORS THE SYRIAN PROVINCES OF HASAKA AND DER ZOR, AS WELL AS (SYRIAN) CITIES ADJACENT TO THE IRAQI BORDER.

C. THE LAND ON BOTH SIDES BETWEEN IRAQ AND SYRIA IS A VAST DESERT PUNCTUATED BY VALLEYS, AND IT LACKS TRANSPORTATION ROUTES, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE INTERNATIONAL HIGHWAY AND SOME MAJOR CITIES.

5. THE POPULATION LIVING ON THE BORDER:

A. THE POPULATION LIVING ON THE BORDER HAS A SOCIAL-TRIBAL STYLE, WHICH IS BOUND BY STRONG TRIBAL AND FAMILIAL MARITAL TIES.

B. THEIR SECTARIAN AFFILIATION UNITES THE TWO SIDES WHEN EVENTS HAPPEN IN THE REGION.

C. AQI HAD MAJOR POCKETS AND BASES ON BOTH SIDES OF THE BORDER TO FACILITATE THE FLOW OF MATERIAL AND RECRUITS.

D. THERE WAS A REGRESSION OF AQI JN THE WESTERN PROVINCES OF IRAQ DURING TI-IE YEARS OF 2009 AND 2010; HOWEVER, AFTER THE RISE OF THE INSURGENCY IN SYRIA, THE RELIGIOUS AND TRIBAL POWERS IN THE REGIONS BEGAN TO SYMPATHIZE WITH THE SECTARIAN UPRISING. THIS (SYMPATHY) APPEARED IN FRIDAY PRAYER SERMONS, WHICH CALLED FOR VOLUNTEERS TO SUPPORT THE SUNNI’S IN SYRIA.

6. THE SITUATION ON THE IRAQI AND SYRIAN BORDER:

A. THREE BORDER BDES ARE SUFFICIENT TO CONTROL THE BORDERS DURING PEACE TIME FOR OBSERVATION DUTIES AND TO PREVENT SMUGGLING AND INFILTRATION.

B. {REDACTED}

C. IN PREVIOUS YEARS A MAJORITY OF AQI FIGHTERS ENTERED IRAQ PRIMARILY VIA THE SYRIAN BORDER.

7. THE FUTURE ASSUMPTIONS OF THE CRISIS:

A. THE REGIME WILL SURVIVE AND HAVE CONTROL OVER SYRIAN TERRITORY.

B. DEVELOPMENT OF THE CURRENT EVENTS INTO PROXY WAR: WITH SUPPORT FROM RUSSIA, CHINA, AND IRAN, THE REGIME IS CONTROLLING THE AREAS OF INFLUENCE ALONG COASTAL TERRITORIES (TARTUS AND LATAKIA), AND IS FIERCELY DEFENDING HOMS, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE PRIMARY TRANSPORTATION ROUTE IN SYRIA. ON THE OTHER HAND, OPPOSITION FORCES ARE TRYING TO CONTROL THE EASTERN AREAS (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), ADJACENT TO THE WESTERN IRAQI PROVINCES (MOSUL AND ANBAR), IN ADDITION TO NEIGHBORING TURKISH BORDERS. WESTERN COUNTRIES, THE GULF STATES AND TURKEY ARE SUPPORTING THESE EFFORTS. THIS HYPOTHESIS IS MOST LIKELY IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE DATA FROM RECENT EVENTS, WHICH WILL HELP PREPARE SAFE HAVENS UNDER INTERNATIONAL SHELTERING, SIMILAR TO WHAT TRANSPIRED IN LIBYA WHEN BENGHAZI WAS CHOSEN AS THE COMMAND CENTER OF THE TEMPORARY GOVERNMENT.

8. THE EFFECTS ON IRAQ:

A. {REDACTED} SYRIAN REGIME BORDER FORCES RETREATED FROM THE BORDER AND THE OPPOSITION FORCES (SYRIAN FREE ARMY) TOOK OVER THE POSTS AND RAISED THEIR FLAG. THE IRAQI BORDER GUARD FORCES ARE FACING A BORDER WITH SYRIA THAT IS NOT GUARDED BY OFFICIAL ELEMENTS WHICH PRESENTS A DANGEROUS AND SERIOUS THREAT.

B. THE OPPOSITION FORCES WILL TRY TO USE THE IRAQI TERRITORY AS A SAFE HAVEN FOR ITS FORCES TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE SYMPATHY OF THE IRAQI BORDER POPULATION, MEANWHILE TRYING TO RECRUIT FIGHTERS AND TRAIN THEM ON THE IRAQI SIDE, IN ADDITION TO HARBORING REFUGEES (SYRIA).

C. IF THE SITUATION UNRAVELS THERE IS THE POSSIBILITY OF ESTABLISHING A DECLARED OR UNDECLARED SALAFIST PRINCIPALITY IN EASTERN SYRIA (HASAKA AND DER ZOR), AND THIS IS EXACTLY WHAT THE SUPPORTING POWERS TO THE OPPOSITION WANT, IN ORDER TO ISOLATE THE SYRIAN REGIME, WHICH IS CONSIDERED THE STRATEGIC DEPTH OF THE SHiA EXPANSION (IRAQ AND IRAN).

D. THE DETERIORATION OF THE SITUATION HAS DIRE CONSEQUENCES ON THE IRAQI SITUATION AND ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1. THIS CREATES THE IDEAL ATMOSPHERE FOR AQI TO RETURN TO ITS OLD POCKETS IN MOSUL AND RAMADI, AND WILL PROVIDE A RENEWED MOMENTUM UNDER THE PRESUMPTION OF UNIFYING THE JIHAD AMONG SUNNI IRAQ AND SYRIA, AND THE REST OF THE SUNNIS IN THE ARAB WORLD AGAINST WHAT IT CONSIDERS ONE ENEMY, THE DISSENTERS. ISI COULD ALSO DECLARE AN ISLAMIC STATE THROUGH ITS UNION WITH OTHER TERRORIST ORGANIZATIONS IN IRAQ AND SYRIA, WHICH WILL CREATE GRAVE DANGER IN REGARDS TO UNIFYING IRAQ AND THE PROTECTION OF ITS TERRITORY.

2. {REDACTED}

3. THE RENEWING FACILITATION OF TERRORIST ELEMENTS FROM ALL OVER THE ARAB WORLD ENTERING INTO THE IRAQ AREA.

Related video added by Juan Cole:

RT: “GRAPHIC: ISIS claims last border crossing between Iraq & Syria”

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The End of Dirty Coal? Britain CO2 Falls 10% on Coal Plant Closingshttp://www.juancole.com/2015/05/britain-falls-closings.html http://www.juancole.com/2015/05/britain-falls-closings.html#comments Mon, 25 May 2015 05:03:18 +0000 http://www.juancole.com/?p=152526 The Tree | —

The UK could soon see coal use fall back to levels last seen during the industrial revolution as yet another uneconomical coal plant shuts its doors. On Wednesday, energy operator SSE announced the closure of its Ferrybridge coal-fired power station in West Yorkshire, blaming rising costs, citing the need for the UK to “phase out coal as it moves towards a more sustainable energy mix” and acknowledging the “political consensus that coal has a limited role in the future”. The company says it hopes to avoid job losses and aims to re-deploy the plant’s 172 employees within the company. The plant – which generated around 9 million tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions in 2012 – was forecast to lose £100 million over the next five years. Other coal power stations are also vulnerable as coal generation proves increasingly unprofitable across the country and around the world.

[The] announcement comes as new analysis shows that the UK could be on course for a record low in coal consumption in 2015, thanks to the UK government’s decarbonisation drive, EU air pollution rules and falling gas prices. Department for Energy and Climate Change projections show an end to coal use for electricity generation by 2023 if low gas prices persist, and in February the three main political parties signed a joint pledge promising the complete phase out the use of unabated coal-fired power. With a growing body of evidence showing how getting out of coal will protect the lives of UK citizens, shield the country from an increasingly volatile coal market, and help it meet its target of reducing emissions by 80% by 2050, on 1990 levels, there is little argument left for continued investment in this dirtiest of energy sources…

Key Points

 

*Coal is on the decline in the UK. Today, energy operator SSE announced it would close its Ferrybridge coal-fired power station in West Yorkshire, one of the UK’s 10 remaining coal plants, citing rising costs and the need for the UK to “phase out coal as it moves towards a more sustainable energy mix”. The announcement comes as new analysis shows that the UK could be on course for a record low in coal consumption in 2015, with use expected to fall to levels last seen during the industrial revolution.

*Tumbling coal use has caused UK greenhouse gas emissions to plummet. The UK’s ageing coal-fired power stations are responsible for 79 per cent of power sector emissions. In 2014, UK coal use fell 23 per cent on the previous year, and hit the the joint lowest year for consumption in records dating back to the 1850s. This drop in coal contributed the majority of the 10 per cent fall in UK emissions experienced in 2014, the largest carbon dioxide reduction on record for a growing UK economy.

*Ending coal use is good for people, profits and the planet. The UK’s coal power stations are responsible for an estimated 1,600 premature deaths, over 360,000 lost working days and between £1.1 and £3.1 billion in medical costs every year. New research, released this week, also warns that attempts to water down EU pollution laws for coal plants could cost around £500 million in healthcare and sick days in the UK alone. By ending the use of coal and supporting the country’s booming renewables sector the UK could save lives and money, provide green jobs and ensure the country meets its emissions reduction targets.

Via The Tree

Related video added by Juan Cole:

“Demolition of three big chimney of coal power plant in Didcot in Great Britain”

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