Ever since the Ottoman Empire dissolved and the various world powers got their hands on it, the Middle East has been ensconced in conflict. For much of that time, the United States has been heavily involved in Middle Eastern politics. Specifically, it has recently battled the terrorist groups Al Qaeda, ISIS, and the Taliban. As a result of President Bush’s occupation of Iraq, Obama’s “War on Terror”, and Trump’s continued refusal to eject troops from the region, America still ravages an entire subcontinent. Despite this damage and death, America remains ineffective at quelling terrorism. Though ISIS has a greatly reduced presence, they and the other groups remain a significant problem for many Middle Easterners. But amidst America’s “well-intentioned” but damaging military action, local armies are also rising up to defend their own homes. The most notable of these is the Kurdish-based army, Rojava.
In its involvement in the Middle East, the United States military has been responsible for the deaths of many civilians. Likewise, coalitions that it has led, funded, or aided have caused the collateral deaths of many children and other defenseless citizens in hospitals in Yemen, Syria, Iraq, and other countries in the region. But now, a recent Amnesty report suggests the United States reported just over one-tenth of the civilian casualties in Raqqa, Syria.
Sunday’s bombings in Sri Lanka marked the country’s deadliest violence in a decade, leaving more than 320 dead and more than 500 injured. The terrorist attack targeted Christians, a religious minority in the country, on one of Christianity’s holiest days: Easter. Two local Islamist radical groups were allegedly involved: National Thowheeth Jama’ath and Jammiyathul Millathu Ibrahim.
Yet, despite Christians being the clear victims of the attacks, mainstream media and politicians around the world have decided to focus on the perpetrators rather than those that lost their lives.
By Michael McCosker | France
On Friday in the small French town of Trèbes, a lone gunmen hijacked a car, injured sixteen, and killed three. The 26-year-old Islamic extremist took hostages in a supermarket in the southern French tourist town. After a few hours-long standoff, the police did manage to storm the supermarket and kill the terrorist. 1
One of the hostages was police officer Col. Arnaud Beltrame, who willingly exchanged himself for one of the hostages, and provided crucial information by leaving his cellphone in a call with the hostage negotiators. 1 Through the phone call, police heard gunshots going off inside of the supermarket, and stormed the supermarket.
Immediately after the event, the Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack.
The man is identified as Redouane Lakdim, and he also told his hostages that he was fighting on behalf of the Islamic State. Lakdim, while in the supermarket with his hostages, demanded the release of Salah Abdeslam, the suspect that may be responsibly for the attack in Paris that left 130 dead. 2 His short-lived rampage started in the nearby medieval town of Carcassonne, which was a 15-minute drive from Trèbes. Another unnamed individual was arrested in connection with the shootings. Lakdim is Moroccan born, and currently, there is no knowledge of how he obtained his weapon, nor when Ladkim came to become radicalized. 1
This horrific tragedy comes at a time when most of America is focused on a debate banning all, or limited amounts, of firearms and who can purchase them. However, this attack is a prime example of how mass murdering psychopaths will obtain firearms regardless of the laws. France has some very strict gun laws, and every single one of their laws was broken in this rampage.3 No, gun control does not protect innocent people, instead, it gets people killed. In order to prevent people from dying, allow them to protect themselves.
By Vaughn Hoisington | UNITED STATES
Donald Trump has become the new “Drone King.”
Since President Trump has been in office, more U.S. led air strikes have been performed than ever before. Afghanistan received twice as many air strikes in 2017, as it did the previous year, and Yemen was struck more in 2017 than the entirety of the four previous years.
The increased amount of strikes is an outcome of Trump relaxing Obama-era drone strike restrictions, and U.S. military commanders being granted complete authorization to make complex decisions pertaining to military operations.
Drone Strikes are nowhere near perfect, due to civilian casualties. It has been reported that the number of civilian casualties is only getting worse, with a 50% increase in civilian casualties occurring in Afghanistan as a result of strikes.
During the 29 months that Obama was leading the United States Military in the war against ISIS, the nonprofit aerial warfare monitoring organization, Airwars, estimated that there were anywhere between 2298-3398 civilian deaths as a result of U.S. led coalition air strikes in Iraq and Syria.
Under Trump’s leadership, that record was broken within a year. The minimum number of civilian casualties from Iraq and Syria rose to 3,749, as of January 30.
For comparison, Iraq Body Count has determined that the number of civilians killed by ISIS in Iraq alone from the beginning of 2014 to February of 2017 was about 26,667.
Image from Newsweek.