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Must Reads of the Week: Missing Journalists, Assad's Aid to ISIS, and More

August 27, 2014

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"When Journalists Go Missing"
By Steve Coll
New Yorker

"The economics of digital publishing has given rise to media that soak up freelance work while offering little in pay or mentoring. That and the shrinking of staff jobs overseas may have put more young freelancers at risk of costly self-education than in the past. But war zones have always attracted young reporters who learn by doing, from their mistakes and from those of colleagues. For the foreseeable future, freelance journalism will be vital to public understanding. It requires resources, not second-guessing."

A man holds up a sign in memory of U.S. journalist James Foley during a protest against the Assad regime.A man holds up a sign in memory of U.S. journalist James Foley during a protest against the Assad regime. (Photo: Carlo Allegri/Courtesy Reuters)
"Assad Policies Aided Rise of Islamic State Militant Group"
By Maria Abi-Habib
Wall Street Journal

"When the Syrian army is not fighting the Islamic State, this makes the group stronger," said Mr. Shahbandar, a close aide to former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who said Mr. Assad described the strategy to him personally during a visit in May to Damascus. "And sometimes, the army gives them a safe path to allow the Islamic State to attack the FSA and seize their weapons."

"On the Frontline with the Shia Fighters taking the War to ISIS"
By Gaith Abdul-Ahad
Guardian

"Mujtaba is a good example of the new breed of Shia fighter, hellbent on confronting what they see as an existential threat against them, battle-hardened by more than a decade of conflict in Iraq and Syria and, in some cases, trained in Iran and Lebanon under the unrelenting attention of Hezbollah."

"With Subway in the Sky, Valley Meets Plateau"
By William Neuman
New York Times

"Much as the subway system changed New York in the early 20th century, the cable-car system has the potential to transform La Paz and El Alto [Bolivia], connecting distant neighborhoods to the city center, raising real estate values, slashing commute times and altering social relations."

"A Third Way"
The Economist

"By cruel irony, [Eduardo] Campos's untimely death in a plane crash on August 13th may have improved the chances of a 'third way' in October's election. A poll by Datafolha taken after the tragedy and published on August 18th gave Mr Campos's running-mate, Marina Silva, more than double his most recent showing."

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