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Iraq Cozies Up to Assad as Syria Looks to Unite Coalition against ISIS–and US

Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari visited Syrian President Bashar al-Assad on Tuesday in an event that appears intended to strengthen ties between Baghdad and Damascus in light of their mutually shared threat of Islamic State (ISIS) invasion. Iraq's desire to forge stronger ties with Assad flies in the face of American diplomatic efforts to isolate the dictator after his alleged use of chemical weapons on civilians.
AP Photo/Karim Kadim

US To Control The Skies Over Tikrit… While Iran Takes The Ground?

Two weeks ago, the seemingly effective Iraqi operation to retake the city of Tikrit from ISIS ground to an abrupt halt, the "final push" delayed for an indefinite period out of concerns over collateral damage, according to Iraqi officials. It was widely speculated the more pertinent problem was that Islamic State forces proved to be much harder to dislodge than anyone wanted to admit, so time was needed to bring up reinforcements and prepare the battlespace.
Reuters

Missing Pieces Of the Germanwings Puzzle

French authorities released much new information about the horrible Germanwings crash in the Alps this morning, but some vital questions remain unanswered. Why is the French prosecutor so firmly convinced that the co-pilot, Andreas Lubitz, deliberately crashed the plane?
Obama Bergdahl Rose Garden (Jonathan Ernst / Reuters)

In Context of Desertion Charges, Bergdahl Swap Was a ‘High Crime’

The news that Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl is to be tried for desertion casts the 2014 prisoner swap in a new light. President Barack Obama traded five senior Taliban leaders, who had been imprisoned at Guantánamo Bay, for Bergdahl--and did so without giving Congress 30 days' advance notice. In doing so, the Obama administration broke the law, according to a report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office. That violation was not just a crime, but also, in context, a high crime.
AP Photo

Obama Administration Officially on Every Side of Every Middle East Conflict

On Wednesday, the government of Saudi Arabia launched airstrikes against Iran-backed Houthis in Yemen, which has now collapsed into civil war. Egypt is set to join in the Saudi effort even as Saudi Arabia establishes a no-fly zone. Meanwhile, rebels claimed that Yemen’s president, Abdu Rabu Mansour Hadi, fled Aden in advance of their consolidation of power on the ground. And Iran, which has fomented the chaos in Yemen, has warned Saudi Arabia that it had taken a “dangerous step.”
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Prosecutor: Germanwings Co-Pilot Crashed Plane Deliberately

Last night, we learned that black-box audio recordings appeared to show the pilot of the doomed Germanwings Flight 9525 had been locked out of the cockpit and was attempting to gain entry - politely at first, but acting with increasing urgency as the plane descended, until at the end it sounded as if he was trying to smash the armored cockpit door down.

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