"Maliki's Most Solemn Hour"
By Paul Mutter
"ISIS and the federal government agree on one thing implicitly: there is an Iraqi nation, but there is only a weak state grafted onto it, and representatives of different factions should seek to capture it for their own in-group. This mistrust, and not the Syrian Civil War alone, ultimately collapsed the uneasy power-sharing arrangements the 'Awakening' had brokered between local (predominantly Sunni) and provincial authorities."
"Locals who remember how ISIS behaved – and is behaving – in Syria and Iraq's own Anbar province believe that this honeymoon period will not last long. The reason that locals were celebrating ISIS' arrival has more to do with the removal of the government forces they thought were more interested in antagonizing than protecting them. ISIS removed concrete barriers that had been blocking Mosul's roads for years and locals feel happy there are no Shiite Muslims in town any longer, who are linked to the government in Baghdad and trying to control them. However those feelings can surely only be temporary."
"In Extremists' Iraq Rise, America's Legacy"
By Dexter Filkins
"In the two and a half years since the Americans' departure, Maliki has centralized power within his own circle, cut the Sunnis out of political power, and unleashed a wave of arrests and repression. Maliki's march to authoritarian rule has fueled the reëmergence of the Sunni insurgency directly. With nowhere else to go, Iraq's Sunnis are turning, once again, to the extremists to protect them."
"Interview With UN Peace Envoy Brahimi: 'Syria Will Become Another Somalia'"
By Susanne Koelbl
"War crimes are being committed every day, by both sides. Starvation is being used as a weapon. When you prevent water and food from reaching 250,000 people, what else can you call that? And at the same time, some of the armed groups are using civilians as human shields."
"Thailand: Salute to the Past"
By Michael Peel and David Pilling
"Thailand now stands not so much at a crossroads as on the verge of a full-scale U-turn. With each day, the gap grows wider between its reputation for liberal openness and the military's rule by arbitrary detention, censorship and diktat."