Need To Know
Perhaps it’s true that all the world needs is a common enemy. As governments cobble together their latest coalition of the willing to fight the Islamic State (IS), there's some pretty strange alliances forming on the front-lines in Iraq.
Kurdish forces, for instance, are now teaming up with the Iraqi army. Normally these two groups don’t like each other. The Peshmerga, as the Kurdish forces are called, have long fought for independence from Iraq, settling at the moment for some level of autonomy. Both the Kurdish and the Iraqi forces lay claim to the regions now occupied by the Islamic State. So that might get a little awkward when all is said and done.
It only gets weirder. Iranian troops are now providing ground support to Iraq from the south. That’s unusual because Iraq and Iran pretty much don’t like each other at all. Sometimes they fight brutal wars with each other. Then, on top of all that, there’s the United States — which is always at odds with Iran — providing fighter jets to bomb Islamic State positions from above.
So is all this cooperation a good thing? Can these groups stick together for what will probably be a long battle? GlobalPost’s Tracey Shelton is in Iraq asking these very questions. Here’s her latest video dispatch from the front-lines.
Want To Know
“Not far from glitzy office towers of Seoul are the frenzied hangouts where business is really done: a cacophony of karaoke joints, shady neon-lit parlors, and cluttered barbecue restaurants full of drunken managers ordering their junior staff to pound shots.
To Koreans, the business districts of American cities appear staid, orderly and a bit dull. A shop-worn joke here has it that North America is a ‘boring heaven’ while their country is an ‘exciting hell.’
There’s a dark logic to the debauchery.
‘When you’re a man and you do something dirty and sinful with your business partner around, you share your secrets, you share trust like brothers. You can always trust your new business partner,’ a consultant working in the sex industry explained.”
Now the government is considering taxing sleazy company entertainment bills (officials estimate that South Korean businesses are spending a billion dollars a year on drinking and prostitution), and that’s making everyone a little anxious.
Strange But True
As you may have heard, Scotland is going to be voting on Thursday to decide whether or not to declare independence from the United Kingdom. This is obviously a big deal. But really the United Kingdom is no stranger to losing territory. This crazy map shows all the countries it once controlled and then lost. There’s a lot of them because Great Britain was a monstrous colonialist power that more or less ruined the world with it arbitrary mapmaking.
Britain really doesn’t want Scotland to go. British Prime Minister David Cameron (who incidentally admits that Britain is the cause of most of the world's problems) gave an impassioned speech in a bid to keep the United Kingdom together on Monday. It went a little something like this.