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The ultra-extremist Islamic State now controls 30% of Syria, refining and selling oil to finance its expanding “caliphate.” Its video propaganda features beheadings and other means of subduing civilians, which has been said to attract holy warriors from all over the world. Syria’s President Assad now claims he really is under attack by terrorists. Does he look like the lesser of two evils? What’s the US doing to arm so-called “moderate” forces against both a murderous government and the Islamic State?

Also, Israel calls on more reserve troops, and is the NSA's ex-cyber security chief worth $1 million a month as a civilian cyber-warrior?

Banner Image: Smoke rises during clashes between Iraqi security forces and militants of the Islamic State, formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), in the Hamrin mountains in Diyala province July 29, 2014. Picture taken July 29, 2014. REUTERS/Stringer

Israel Calls 16,000 More Reservists as Netanyahu Vows to Go the Long-Haul 6 MIN, 29 SEC

The UN’s high commissioner for refugees said today that both sides have violated international humanitarian law during the fighting in Gaza. Meanwhile, Israel has called up another 16,000 reservists. Aron Heller is in Jerusalem for the Associated Press.

Aron Heller, Associated Press (@aronhellerap)

The Islamic State Has Oil and Momentum… How Far Will It Go? 34 MIN, 4 SEC

The Islamic State controls so much of Iraq and Syria it’s able to finance its self-styled “caliphate” by selling oil. It’s a real threat to Syria’s President Bashar al-Assad—complicating US efforts to help so-called “moderates.” What is the Islamic State? Does it pose a threat beyond Syria and its civil war?

After 3 years, 170,000 casualties and 9 million refugees, Syria’s civil war has become bloodier than ever. Last week, 700 died in one battle between the government of Bashar al-Assad and the Islamic State. The object was control of a natural gas field near Homs.

Liz Sly, Washington Post (@lizsly)
Patrick B. Johnston, RAND Corporation (@JOHNSTON)
Razan Shalab Al-Sham, Syrian Emergency Task Force
Paul Pillar, Georgetown University / Brookings Institution (@GeorgetownCSS)

NSA's Ex-Cyber Chief Has Million Dollar Idea 9 MIN, 11 SEC

Former General Keith Alexander, retired director of the National Security Agency, is going corporate, charging $1 million a month for cyber-warfare technology he wants to patent. Shane Harris covers intelligence and counter intelligence for Foreign Policy magazine. His upcoming book is called, @War: The Rise of the Internet Military Complex. Recently, he got a tip that Keith Alexander was doing something with patents — and charging really high fees. Alexander sat down for a revealing interview.

Shane Harris, Wall Street Journal / New America (@ShaneHarris)


Shane Harris

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