Vice exposes ill prepared IS fighters: The Islamic State markets itself as a brutal and formidable fighting force rapidly changing the landscape of the Middle East. However this video, obtained from the headcam of an IS fighter and provided by peshmerga forces in Northern Iraq, shows the organisation in a starkly different light. The video shows a team of IS fighters heading to a frontline around 30 miles from Mosul, saying goodbyes to fellow fighters and watching suicide bombers record their final, public message. Nearing the fighting they quickly become panicked, losing sense of where spare magazines lie and loading incompatible ammunition into rocket launchers. It captures the message and spirit contained in the Chris Morris helmed satire Four Lions that showed the struggle of an inept group of British jihadi’s attempt to execute an attack.
Power Profile: Bashar al-Assad: A Council on Foreign Relations convened event featuring three foreign policy experts looking exactly as middle-aged, white and male as most foreign policy panels. A fascinating look into the mind and actions of a man seen as a promising reformer when he ascended to control of Syria, who later utilised his security forces to run rat lines of jihadi’s to Iraq, and is currently pursuing a policy of mass murder and empowering IS. The discussion makes several interesting points, including David Lesch’s assertion that Bashar sought to respond to the outbreak of protests in 2011 with a reform agenda before he was ‘corrected’ by his security services.
Barrack Obama’s last White House Corrrespondents Dinner: During the Bush administration, especially in the latter years, the White House Correspondents dinner became an opportunity for the chosen comedian to public roast George W.Bush and his inner circle. Under Obama the event has taken on new life as the president exhibits the charisma that ushered in his ’08 victory. Long-term tropes have including Donald Trump, Obama’s origin and his bucket list. This year Obama’s final lap took particular aim at CNN, the primary field and included a bit about Obama’s retirement dilemma.