Podcast: A “Sideshow” in Washington about the Islamic State

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As 68 countries gathered in Washington on Wednesday to discuss the fight against the Islamic State, I joined Monocle 24’s The Globalist to discuss whether the meeting is anything more than a political sideshow.

Listen from the 13:44 mark:

TOP PHOTO: US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson addresses the conference in Washington on Wednesday

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  1. US joins first air assault ‘behind enemy lines’ against ISIS in Syria
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    Posted: Mar 22, 2017 9:52 AM EDT
    Updated: Mar 22, 2017 4:52 PM EDT
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    By Barbara Starr, Zachary Cohen and Ryan Browne CNN
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    WASHINGTON (CNN) — Fighters in Syria have begun a major ground offensive, backed up by US forces, to retake a vital dam near Raqqa, Syria, from ISIS, a US official told CNN Wednesday.
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    The attack also included an unprecedented air assault involving US helicopters landing behind enemy lines — flying about 500 local US allies and coalition military advisers across the Euphrates River and Lake Assad so they could attack the ISIS-controlled dam and neighboring town and airfield from the south.
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    “This is the first time we have conducted an air movement, air assault, with the Syrian Arab Coalition and Syrian Democratic Forces,” Col. Joseph Scrocca, a coalition public affairs officer, said. On a call with reporters from Baghdad Wednesday, Scrocca called the air operation a “daring assault behind enemy lines.”
    http://www.abc-7.com/story/34971369/us-joins-first-air-assault-behind-enemy-lines-against-isis-in-syria 3/22/2017

  2. YBŞ repels Islamic State attack on two villages near Sinjar, Iraq
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    1 day ago • by Fergus Kelly • 21 Views • 2 min read
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    Shengal Resistance Units (YBŞ) repelled an Islamic State attack on two Yazidi villages on the southwest slopes of Mount Sinjar on March 21, and used the opportunity to counter-attack into IS-held territory, according to reports.
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    Former Yazda Executive Director Matthew Barber, who has contacts on the ground in Sinjar, tweeted that IS militants attacked the villages of Skiniye and Hayale between 10am and 11am.
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    YBŞ commander Sharvan Kawa told NRT news that several IS members were killed in the fighting. Barber said that YBŞ had not recovered bodies of IS militants killed.
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    There are no reports of YBŞ fighters being killed.
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    Barber said the YBŞ counter-attacked, pushing towards to al-Thawra which is around 4km (2.5 miles) away. NRT also reported the attack on al-Thawra.
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    The ANF news agency published a YouTube video that it said showed YBŞ fighting against IS on March 21.
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    IS may have specifically chosen to attack on Newroz, which marks the New Year for Kurds and other ethnicities in the region.
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    The Islamic State attack came amid heightened tensions between the KDP-controlled Rojava Peshmerga and the YBŞ and PKK on the northern side of Mount Sinjar, after the Peshmerga moved into the area on March 2. Rojava Peshmerga killed a demonstrator at a YBŞ protest in Khanasor on March 14.
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    Turkish Defense Minister Fikri Işık said on March 16 that Turkey was considering a joint ground operation in Sinjar, Iraq alongside Peshmerga forces controlled by KDP leader Masoud Barzani, President of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government, to prevent Kurdish militants from maintaining a foothold in the area.
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    The KDP-controlled KRG has repeatedly called for the PKK to leave the Sinjar area.
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    Control of territory to the north of Mount Sinjar has become hotly contested, with KCK-aligned militant groups –Syria’s YPG, the Yazidi YBŞ and the Turkish PKK – claiming that the KDP and Turkey want to take control of the border between Iraq and Syria there.
    https://www.grasswire.com/2017/03/ybs-repels-islamic-state-attack-on-two-villages-near-sinjar-iraq/ 3/21/2017

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