With Iraq busting out all over compliments of the revolutionary group ISIS, as mentioned in my last post, and a lot of history and details to digest in order to make sense of it all, this is a good time to point out a web site called Vox. com, on line since early April but just noticed by me last week. The announcement:
“Vox Media, the online publisher that runs SB Nation sports blogs, launched its general news site Vox.com (in early April), providing a forum for renowned blogger Ezra Klein’s experiment in broadening explanatory journalism.
Klein, who led The Washington Post‘s public policy blog, Wonkblog, left to join Vox Media in January after he failed to secure funding from the newspaper’s editors for a new site.
After several weeks of preparation and recruiting journalists, Klein and Vox Media released … more details on their plans for Vox.com, promising readers news stories packaged with contextual information and graphics. The site’s mission is to make news more digestible by roasting it ‘to perfection with a drizzle of olive oil and hint of sea salt,’ Klein said.”
In my small way, I try to do the same, but Vox has the money and brain power to take it big time. Actually, it has been my secret fantasy to develop my blog into something like the Vox offering, because I think a site which tries to capture the gist of the news, more impartially than not, is needed in this time of staggering amounts of information about complex issues infested with so many untruths aimed to sway readers to one political agenda or another.
I’m hoping Ezra Klein and company do a good job with this, so I can fantasize doing something else.
While certainly liberal leaning, Klein seems to me to want to capture the essence of events and arguments rather than push a political agenda. I look forward to studying the site’s offerings over time.
As for Iraq, Vox offers a useful primer on the situation titled:
11 facts that explain the escalating crisis in Iraq
Below are a list of the 11 points expanded upon in the piece which also features several maps to help clarify the nature of the situation. Click here to link.
1. ISIS used to be called al-Qaeda in Iraq
2. ISIS wants to carve out an Islamic state in Iraq and Syria
3. ISIS thrives on tension between Iraq’s two largest religious groups
4. The Iraqi government has made this tension worse by persecuting Sunnis and through other missteps
5. ISIS raises money like a government
6. Iraq has another major ethno-religious group, the Kurds, who could matter in this fight
7. The Syria conflict has made ISIS much stronger
8. Mosul, the big city ISIS recently conquered, is really important — and ISIS has spread out from there
9. Iran is already involved, and this conflict could get much bigger
10. The Iraqi Army is much larger than ISIS, but also a total mess
11. Iraq may secretly want American drone strikes, and Obama may be considering them
The article ends with: “So, to recap. Iraq has essentially just began another civil war, and it’s totally unclear how long it’s going to last or how it’s going to end. And no one’s sure what to do about it.”
While all of that summary seems true enough, it is important to realize that the amazing success of ISIS has been in Sunni dominated areas and they have too few troops (usually estimated at less than 10,000) to really take over large areas that put up a good fight. While they can make incursions into Bagdad, I cannot imagine them taking over the city, as it has too many people, a majority of which are Shia who do seem willing to fight. And more aid from Iran and us seems likely.