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The Iraqi Parliament met today to begin selecting a new unity government. Within minutes, enough members walked out that they had to call it quits. Outside of Baghdad, the Sunni militant group ISIS has declared a swath of territory across borders as its own Islamic state, but even they face unity challenges. Can Russian jets, Iranian Generals and hundreds of US military advisors shore up Iraq’s vulnerable leader? Is the threat level high enough to force the Obama administration to re-engage in a war it had declared over?

Also, death threats, audits and the rise and fall of Blackwater.

Banner Image: Militant Islamist fighters take part in a military parade along the streets of northern Raqqa province June 30, 2014. Militant Islamist fighters held a parade in Syria's northern Raqqa province to celebrate their declaration of an Islamic "caliphate" after the group captured territory in neighbouring Iraq, a monitoring service said. The Islamic State, an al Qaeda offshoot previously known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), posted pictures online on Sunday of people waving black flags from cars and holding guns in the air, the SITE monitoring service said. REUTERS

Airstrikes in Israel 7 MIN, 19 SEC

Tens of thousands of mourners came out in Israel to mark the deaths of three unarmed, Israeli teens. Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu eulogized the teens at a joint funeral for two of the victims. Netanyahu blames the militant Islamic group, Hamas for the deaths. The Israeli Air Force is bombing Gaza in retaliation. More than 400 Palestinians have been arrested and five others killed in Israel’s crackdown on the West Bank. Jodi Rudoren, the Jerusalem bureau chief of The New York Times, joins us.

Jodi Rudoren, New York Times (@Rudoren)

ISIS Gains Momentum as the US Re-Engages In Iraq 34 MIN, 49 SEC

Today, Iraq’s parliament convened and then quickly collapsed. Lawmakers met ostensibly to begin selecting a new government to replace Prime Minister Nouri Al Maliki, their speaker and President, but could not agree even on the most basic order of business. Meanwhile over the weekend the Sunni insurgent group ISIS declared a wide swath of their territory spanning Iraq and Syria a new Islamic caliphate. Meanwhile Iraqi security forces are mounting a counterattack on ISIS in an effort to win back control of the northern city of Tikrit. And yesterday the Pentagon announced it was sending hundreds more troops to assist those 300 advisers the President deployed last week, while Russia has stepped in with a fleet of military jets. Can the Iraqi army fend ISIS off? Is the insurgency capable of not just taking territory but governing?

Borzou Daragahi, BuzzFeed News (@borzou)
Jessica Lewis, Institute for the Study of War (@TheStudyofWar)
Daniel Benjamin, Dartmouth College (@dartmouthdickey)
Thanassis Cambanis, Century Foundation (@tcambanis)

Blackwater’s Misconduct Before US Troops Pulled Out of Iraq 7 MIN, 47 SEC

In 2007, the private security firm Blackwater was at the height of its influence in Iraq and making millions of dollars off government contracts. But in September of that year, Blackwater personnel fired into a crowd of men, women and children at Baghdad’s Nisour Square, killing 17 and badly damaging relations between the two countries. US officials had already heard that the military contractors saw themselves as “above the law” and Iraq as a variation on the ‘OK Corral.’ That’s according to newly released documents obtained by James Risen of the New York Times.

James Risen, New York Times


Barbara Bogaev

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