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In the aftermath of the US occupation, Iraq has become a different country—with the prospect of not surviving as a country at all. The Islamic State has eradicated the border with Syria, and Prime Minister Maliki looks like a Shiite version of Saddam Hussein. He’s asking President Obama for military assistance, which would put the US on the same side as Iran, Syria, and even Russia. Is intervention an option in a country torn by internal politics, violent religious extremism and the threat of terrorism?

Also, Ukraine blames Russia for today's Malaysian flight crash, and the case against tipping in restaurants and bars.

Banner Image: Shi'ite volunteers take part in a training session in Najaf, July 16, 2014. Tens of thousands of Shi'ite volunteers have been mobilized since Iraq's top Shi'ite cleric issued a call to arms in response to the lightning offensive led by the Islamic State, a hardline Sunni group. Picture taken July 16, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Both Sides Blame Each Other for Downed Malaysian Airliner 6 MIN, 30 SEC
A Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 with 280 passengers and 15 crew members aboard crashed early today in Eastern Ukraine near the Russian border, where separatists have been fighting government forces. There appear to be no survivors. Christopher Miller is editor for the Kiev Post in Ukraine and correspondent for Mashable.

Christopher J. Miller, Radio Free Europe (@ChristopherJM)

Can Power-Sharing Keep Iraq From Fracturing? 35 MIN, 23 SEC

In Baghdad, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is trying to hang on to power, while part of his country is under the firm control of the Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS. Despite hopes that it might get its act together, Maliki’s army has failed to re-take Takrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein. Maliki wants US help against the Islamic State that’s taken over part of the country, but his repressive style has divided his own people. We’ll look at America’s limited options in a region where national boundaries are fading away and religious extremism is on the rise.

Abigail Hauslohner, Washington Post (@ahauslohner)
Michael Pregent, former U.S. Army officer (@MPPregent)
Ahmed Rashid, Pakistani journalist
Brian Jenkins, RAND Corporation (@BrianMJenkins)

Al Qaeda in Its Third Decade: Irreversible Decline or Imminent Victory?

The Case for Eliminating Tipping 7 MIN, 37 SEC

Employees that rely on tips are one of the fastest-growing components of America’s workforce. But tipping is a bad practice we ought to get rid of, according to Brandon Ambrosino, culture and religion writer for Vox.

Brandon Ambrosino, Vox (@BrandonAmbro)

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