Scorched earth tactics
International | ISIS burns crops across Syria and Iraq
by Mindy Belz
Posted 5/30/19, 12:55 pm
IRAQ AND SYRIA: Farmers expected a good wheat and barley harvest after years of drought and war, but fires have scorched thousands of acres of grain fields, part of the latest strategy by ISIS factions and, in some areas, Syrian forces, to drive residents from their land. The blazes targeted areas in non-Muslim holdings in western Nineveh in Iraq and near Raqqa in Syria.
ISRAEL: Lawmakers voted to dissolve the Knesset Thursday, paving the way for a new election after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu failed to meet a deadline to form a coalition government. Israelis will return to the polls on Sept. 17, two weeks before the first hearing scheduled on corruption charges against Netanyahu.
IRAN: The United States accused Iran of laying mines that sabotaged four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the coast of Abu Dhabi this month, and national security adviser John Bolton promised the United States would be “prudent and responsible” but threatened “a very strong response” to continued threats.
- Fast boats and mines are new weapons in Iran’s naval arsenal, bringing fresh guerrilla tactics to the Persian Gulf.
- Is Iran leading a thaw in relations with Israel? At least in Olympic judo, the barriers are falling.
UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: New guidelines on teaching interfaith tolerance in the classroom are a first step in a U.S. State Department effort to launch discussions in the Middle East on religious freedom and combating extremism.
TURKEY: Police raided and closed a church in Bolu, interrupting a baptism ceremony in a congregation of Iranian asylum seekers.
VENEZUELA: Newly released central bank numbers show Venezuela’s inflation rate is tops in the world, running at a whopping 130,060 percent in 2018.
ARGENTINA: Thousands of women marched on the capital city of Buenos Aires in support of a bill that would legalize abortion in the first 14 weeks of pregnancy.
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Mindy wrote WORLD Magazine's first cover story in 1986 and went on to serve as international editor, editor, and now senior editor. She has covered wars in Syria, Afganistan, Africa, and the Balkans, and she recounts some of her experiences in They Say We Are Infidels: On the Run from ISIS with Persecuted Christians in the Middle East. Mindy resides with her husband, Nat, in Asheville, N.C. Follow her on Twitter @mcbelz.