Tag Archives: Syria

Who really defeated the Islamic State – Obama or Trump?

People look at the remains of an exploded vehicle that the Islamic State used as a suicide bomb, on display in Iran in September 2020. Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images

People look at the remains of an exploded vehicle that the Islamic State used as a suicide bomb, on display in Iran in September 2020. Morteza Nikoubazl/NurPhoto via Getty Images Brian Glyn Williams, University of Massachusetts Dartmouth One common claim by President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign has been that his administration beat IS, or what’s formally known as the Islamic …

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University rankings don’t measure what matters

GettyImages

GettyImages Sioux McKenna, Rhodes University International rankings of universities are big business and big news. These systems order universities on the basis of a variety of criteria such as student to staff ratio, income from industry, and reputation as captured through public surveys. Universities around the world use their rankings as marketing material and parents and prospective students make life …

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Why a 2,500-year-old Hebrew poem still matters

Gebhard Fugel, ‘An den Wassern Babylons.’ Gebhard Fugel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons

Gebhard Fugel, ‘An den Wassern Babylons.’ Gebhard Fugel [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons David W. Stowe, Michigan State University At sundown on July 29, Jews around the world will observe Tisha B’av, the most somber of Jewish holidays. It commemorates the destruction of the two temples in Jerusalem, first by the Babylonians and then, almost seven centuries later, in A.D. …

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Why the Gulf monarchies have survived

Saudi King Salman accompanies Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, left, during the 40th Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil)

Saudi King Salman accompanies Kuwait’s emir, Sheikh Sabah Al Ahmad Al Sabah, left, during the 40th Gulf Cooperation Council Summit in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, in December 2019. (AP Photo/Amr Nabil) Edmund Adam, University of Toronto When the Arab Spring protests erupted in 2010, many political pundits predicted the uprisings would ripple through the entire region and ultimately reach the oil-rich …

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Islamic State may finally efface the traces of lost empires at Palmyra

After witnessing the rise and fall of many empires, the ancient site of Palmyra is under threat from Islamic State. Phillip George

After witnessing the rise and fall of many empires, the ancient site of Palmyra is under threat from Islamic State. Phillip George Phillip George, UNSW “Surpassing disaster” is a term the Lebanese artist, writer and film theorist Jalal Toufic coined as Lebanon emerged from years of catastrophic civil war in the early 1990s. When I asked him for the meaning …

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We’re just beginning to grasp the toll of the Islamic State’s archaeological looting in Syria

A Syrian archeologist holds an artifact that was transported to Damascus for safe-keeping during the Syrian Civil War. AP Photo/Hassan Ammar

A Syrian archeologist holds an artifact that was transported to Damascus for safe-keeping during the Syrian Civil War. AP Photo/Hassan Ammar Fiona Greenland, University of Virginia; James Marrone, Johns Hopkins University; Oya Topçuoğlu, Northwestern University, and Tasha Vorderstrasse, University of Chicago The Islamic State surrendered its last scrap of territory, in Baghouz, Syria, this past March. While some argue that …

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Khaled al-Asaad, the martyr of Palmyra

The ancient city of Palmyra. Ulrich Waack, CC BY-SA

The ancient city of Palmyra. Ulrich Waack, CC BY-SA Pierre Leriche, École normale supérieure (ENS) – PSL A second ancient temple at Palmyra has been razed, with a satellite image appearing to confirm the destruction of the Temple of Bel, previously one of the best-preserved parts of the ancient city. The revelation follows the release of images by Islamic State …

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After Palmyra, what can the world do to protect cultural treasures?

Palmyra’s Temple of Bel, pre-Islamic State. Reuters/Gustau Nacarino

Agnieszka Jachec-Neale, Brunel University London There has been much public condemnation of the destruction of the Temple of Bel at Palmyra by Islamic State (IS), as well as the wider devastation being inflicted on the cultural heritage of Syria and Iraq by both IS and its opponents in Syria’s civil war. Both Syria and Iraq are party to all relevant …

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Illegal trade in antiquities: a scourge that has gone on for millennia too long

h. Evangelos Kyriakidis, University of Kent Looting of artefacts has always been a sign of military might or economic power. Over millennia, conquering generals would take away with them trophies to adorn their cities. In more recent centuries, the wealthy upper classes would make “grand tours” of classical sites and acquire – through whatever means – anything from vases to …

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