Archive | September, 2014

Svan Rider ( National Geographic: Photo of the day)

30 Sep

Today is my 500th blog post and have come some way from the day my friend spoke to me about blogging. Thank you Sameer! My First response was to do a poem but  really want to share this beautiful picture from National Geographic of a Svan Horse Rider from Svaneti region of Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains.

 

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This is a beautiful photograph by Aaron Huey, National Geographic.

” Centuries-old defensive towers loom over remote villages in the Svaneti region of Georgia’s Caucasus Mountains. Svans in the collection of villages that make up Ushguli—a World Heritage site—hold on to deep traditions. Horses still provide reliable transport throughout the largely roadless region.”

Source: http://photography.nationalgeographic.com/photography/photo-of-the-day/svanetia-caucasus-mountains-horse/?utm_source=Facebook&utm_medium=Social&utm_content=link_fb20140929photo-pod&utm_campaign=Content&sf4848653=1

Isn’t there something pristine about a boy on a horse in a mountainous region. Our universe is so beautiful.  I want to see the world.  I need a traveling job or need to make money for that  🙂

Hope you like this beautiful National Geographic photograph from Georgia’s Svaneti Region.

Have a lovely day my friends, may be find something pristine today 🙂

Thank you!

Kei Nishikori wins Malaysian Open

29 Sep

Kei Nishikori is Asia’s next big hope and is having a incredible season.  Now that brilliant and redoubtable Li Na has retired. All of Asia’s eyes are on Kei. Rightly so. Kei won his  third ATP World Tour title of the season when he defeated Julien Benneteau in Malaysian open finals.

” Victory at this ATP World Tour 250 indoor hard-court tournament earns Nishikori a net 170 points in the Emirates ATP Race To London to extend his lead over seventh-placed  David Ferrer .Nishikori surged into contention to qualify for the Barclays ATP World Tour Finals  after reaching his maiden Grand Slam final at the US Open  (l. to Cilic). He is hoping to become the first Asian man to compete at the season finale.”

Julien Benneteau had a good run in Malaysian Open defeating Gulbis in semi -finals before losing to Nishikori 6-7 4-6 in the finals. The good frenchman has now been part of ten ATP finals and pray he wins a title soon.

Some pictures from Malaysian open..

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Kei has been stellar this season and is world no.7. Brilliant and great Asian hope.

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” The 32-year-old Benneteau, who had upset second seed  Ernests Gulbis in the semi-finals, led Nishikori by a break and served for the first set, but could not maintain his lead, despite saving nine of the 10 break points he faced. Nishikori wrapped up victory in one hour and 47 minutes, having won 72 per cent of his service points. ”

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” The 24-year-old Nishikori has a 44-10 mark on the season, highlighted also by titles in Memphis (d. Karlovic) and Barcelona (d. Giraldo) and a runner-up showing at the ATP World Tour Masters 1000 in Madrid (l. to Nadal). ”  Not to mention runners up to Cilic at US Open 2014.

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” While there was joy for Nishikori, though, there was heartache for Benneteau, who had been looking to win his first ATP World Tour title after losing in nine previous finals. The Frenchman was contesting the Kuala Lumpur final for the third year in a row, having finished runner-up in 2012 (l. to Monaco) and 2013 (l. to Sousa). “.

” “It was a very good week and today was my best match of the week. Kei was simply too good in the key moments, especially at the end of the first set. I had some chances, but against these kinds of players, they are small chances and you have to take them. I tried to play my best and I almost did it. I’m disappointed with the loss, but very happy with the level of my game. It’s hard to keep that level of intensity in every point and every game. I need to improve this to be more consistent.” ( Julien Benneteau)

The heart goes to Benneteau and hope he wins a title soon.

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” It was a really tough start, because he was playing so aggressive.I was waiting for my opportunity. I had so many break points and I couldn’t take them. In the last game, he got a little bit tight and I took my chance. After that I played much better and I think he was getting a little bit tired in the second set. I tried to raise my level. It wasn’t my best tennis, but it’s good to win like this.” ( Kei Nishikori)

All quotes are from : http://www.atpworldtour.com/News/Tennis/2014/09/39/Kuala-Lumpur-Final-Nishikori-Benneteau.aspx

All Images are from : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.728211937259045.1073741882.121247211288857&type=1

Congragulations Kei Nishikori and very well done Julien Benneteau. Pray Nishikori plays in season finale in London and Benneteau wins a maiden title. Good Luck!

Hope you have a lovely day my Friends! Thank you!

 

 

Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta win Wuhan Open

28 Sep

Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta won their maiden WTA doubles title together at at the Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open. They were finalists at US Open 2014.

” Martina Hingis and Flavia Pennetta  continued their late charge for the BNP Paribas WTA Finals Singapore presented by SC Global, winning their first WTA doubles title as a team at the Premier-level Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open with a victory over Cara Black  and Caroline Garcia.

Hingis and Pennetta looked fresh early on, and understandably so – they only played two full matches in four rounds going in, winning one by retirement and another by walkover. And both of their wins came in straight sets, too. The No.6-seeded Swiss-Italian combo stormed out to a 6-4, 5-3 lead.

The No.8-seeded Black and Garcia came alive from there, though. They fought off four match points en route to sneaking out the second set, 7-5, and built all kinds of leads in the ensuing match tie-break, like 4-1, 6-3, and – after losing those leads – even bringing up two match points up 9-8 and 10-9.

But Hingis and Pennetta fought both of those off, including a fantastic Pennetta backhand volley into the corner on the second one, and with one last big serve they closed it out, 6-4, 5-7, 12-10.

Hingis and Pennetta’s best results in four previous tournaments together were runner-up finishes at Eastbourne and the US Open, and they finally made it fifth time lucky here with their first WTA doubles title as a partnership. It was Hingis’ 39th individual WTA doubles title and Pennetta’s 16th.

And so their late push for the WTA Finals in Singapore continues – currently No.12 on the Road to Singapore doubles leaderboard, they will move just outside the Top 8 after this tournament. And with the Top 8 qualifying for the WTA’s crown jewel event, they’re coming alive at just the right time.”

Please see : http://www.wtatennis.com/news/article/4175378/title/hingis-pennetta-win-in-wuhan

Martina Hingis is a legend of the game is having a happy second innings in doubles with the talented Flavia Pennetta and said so during their run in US Open ” With Flavia, I feel really comfortable being out there. I think that’s the key to success.”  They are both former No.1 in doubles. I think with Hingis’s vibe, Pennetta might win a  singles slam going forward, that would be something wonderful, she already made it to quaters of US Open 2014 and semi- finals of US Open 2013, so anything is possible…

They also make a beautiful team and some pictures from Wuhan Open 2014.

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First WTA Title together,  Dongfeng Motor Wuhan Open 2014, many more to follow..

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Both former No. 1 doubles players and formidable single players..

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Beautiful team ! My blog just got a little more beautiful..

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” We got a little bit tight in the end of the second set, but that’s normal in a final.It was just amazing to play doubles with Martina again. She’s a great partner and a great person. ( Flavia Penneta)

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” Our first time in Wuhan was amazing. Everything was perfect. We really enjoyed our week.”  ( Flavia Penneta)

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” First, I want to say Xie Xie Wuhan.I really want to thank everybody for coming out here for the final.” ( Martina Hingis)

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“There aren’t many places I can say I’m coming to for the first time in my 20 years of playing. And I really loved this tournament. I really enjoyed every moment. It’s just been a fantastic week. The city is really pretty and it was just a wonderful event.” ( Martina Hingis)

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Congragulations and Good Luck Martina Hingis and Flavia Penneta for the next tournament. Hope they win a slam together!

All quotes are from : http://www.wtatennis.com/news/article/4175378/title/hingis-pennetta-win-in-wuhan

All Images : https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.908995235795952.1073741895.150487034980113&type=1

Hope you like the beautiful journey of Martina Hingis and Flavia Penneta in womens doubles and hope you have a easy Sunday my friends!

Thank you!

Maria Sharapova & Law of attraction

27 Sep

Maria Sharapova posted this picture on twitter 🙂

hey buddy

” Hey buddy, I’m right behind you… 🙂 ”

Source : Please see https://twitter.com/MariaSharapova/status/515028731505553408/photo/1

Imagine you reading a news report of your Sports Idol and she sitting behind you and taking a snap (may be its her team) and not even knowing it  🙂

Had this been in India, passenger’s would have been : My amma ( mom), appa ( dad), grandfather, grandmother, daughter, daughter- in -law, son, son- in -law, niece, nephew.. are all your fans, please bless my child muthu or bomkesh or rahul with a picture 🙂

The newspaper is Chinese and so must be the flight from recent tournament, Wuhan Open , looks economy section, am  super impressed..

Is this Law of attraction 🙂

Have a lovely weekend my friends ! I hope Maria Sharapova wins the next slam!

Thank you!

 

Temple visit ( Pictures)

26 Sep

My mother told me would be good if you visit the temple in these ten days. The next nine nights and ten days is the auspicious “Navratri” festival culminating in festival of “Dusshera”. I remember in school we would have ten days holidays on the festival of Dusshera. I decided to visit this temple today itself.  I took some pictures..

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The temple is atop a mountain hill. One has to climb steps to reach the top. Once inside, one gets only a minute or two in front of the deity. I take a picture while descending steps.

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I had given moblie phone to a couple to click a picture and they take more, that’s always a sign of interested photographer’s, they want to do better, for you..

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They take one more. I wave them good bye, the lady smiles and the man nods..

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I keep taking pictures as descend steps, many indian temples do not allow to take pictures, once make sure its okay, take pictures safely..

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This is a base temple, part of premises, one has to climb more steps to reach the main temple..

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I take one more picture of temple while descending steps..

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This is the traffic constable who was deputed at  parking lot. I feel sorry for Indian policeman because there is hardly any facility provided to them and its a thankless job, so sometimes talk to them, they are also kind in acknowledgement, he wants to wear his cap before take his picture, don’t know if its part of service rules or just pride, he steps out and stands in a bylane, he is happy and waves at me..

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The police man takes my picture in front of make shift parking lot, look fat here, horrible..

I like going to temples. I pray for friends. I pray for family. I pray for loved ones. Every one whom love or like. This is the way can stay in touch with them at soul  and also least can do for them. I feel happy and peaceful. I want everyone to have a good life, happy and unencumbered life, we need grace for that. As for me ” How many nights I prayed for this, to let my work begin,  First we take Manhattan, then we take Berlin…” (First we take Manhattan/ Leonard Cohen)

This hindu festival of Navratri and Dusshera is triumph of good over evil. The deity ” Durga” is goddess of ” shakti” ( Strength/Power) , so wish you blessings of power and grace..

Hope you have a lovely day my friends! Thank you!

 

Video

President Obama : Address to the United Nations General Assembly

25 Sep

” Mr. President, Mr. Secretary General, fellow delegates, ladies and gentlemen:  We come together at a crossroads between war and peace; between disorder and integration; between fear and hope.

Around the globe, there are signposts of progress.  The shadow of World War that existed at the founding of this institution has been lifted, and the prospect of war between major powers reduced.  The ranks of member states has more than tripled, and more people live under governments they elected. Hundreds of millions of human beings have been freed from the prison of poverty, with the proportion of those living in extreme poverty cut in half.  And the world economy continues to strengthen after the worst financial crisis of our lives.

Today, whether you live in downtown Manhattan or in my grandmother’s village more than 200 miles from Nairobi, you can hold in your hand more information than the world’s greatest libraries.  Together, we’ve learned how to cure disease and harness the power of the wind and the sun.  The very existence of this institution is a unique achievement — the people of the world committing to resolve their differences peacefully, and to solve their problems together.  I often tell young people in the United States that despite the headlines, this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, to be free to pursue your dreams.

And yet there is a pervasive unease in our world — a sense that the very forces that have brought us together have created new dangers and made it difficult for any single nation to insulate itself from global forces.  As we gather here, an outbreak of Ebola overwhelms public health systems in West Africa and threatens to move rapidly across borders.  Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition.  The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness.

Each of these problems demands urgent attention.  But they are also symptoms of a broader problem — the failure of our international system to keep pace with an interconnected world. We, collectively, have not invested adequately in the public health capacity of developing countries.  Too often, we have failed to enforce international norms when it’s inconvenient to do so.  And we have not confronted forcefully enough the intolerance, sectarianism, and hopelessness that feeds violent extremism in too many parts of the globe.

Fellow delegates, we come together as united nations with a choice to make.  We can renew the international system that has enabled so much progress, or we can allow ourselves to be pulled back by an undertow of instability.  We can reaffirm our collective responsibility to confront global problems, or be swamped by more and more outbreaks of instability.  And for America, the choice is clear:  We choose hope over fear.  We see the future not as something out of our control, but as something we can shape for the better through concerted and collective effort.  We reject fatalism or cynicism when it comes to human affairs.  We choose to work for the world as it should be, as our children deserve it to be.

There is much that must be done to meet the test of this moment.  But today I’d like to focus on two defining questions at the root of so many of our challenges — whether the nations here today will be able to renew the purpose of the UN’s founding; and whether we will come together to reject the cancer of violent extremism.

First, all of us — big nations and small — must meet our responsibility to observe and enforce international norms.  We are here because others realized that we gain more from cooperation than conquest.  One hundred years ago, a World War claimed the lives of many millions, proving that with the terrible power of modern weaponry, the cause of empire ultimately leads to the graveyard.  It would take another World War to roll back the forces of fascism, the notions of racial supremacy, and form this United Nations to ensure that no nation can subjugate its neighbors and claim their territory.

Recently, Russia’s actions in Ukraine challenge this post-war order.  Here are the facts.  After the people of Ukraine mobilized popular protests and calls for reform, their corrupt president fled.  Against the will of the government in Kyiv, Crimea was annexed.  Russia poured arms into eastern Ukraine, fueling violent separatists and a conflict that has killed thousands.  When a civilian airliner was shot down from areas that these proxies controlled, they refused to allow access to the crash for days.  When Ukraine started to reassert control over its territory, Russia gave up the pretense of merely supporting the separatists, and moved troops across the border.

This is a vision of the world in which might makes right — a world in which one nation’s borders can be redrawn by another, and civilized people are not allowed to recover the remains of their loved ones because of the truth that might be revealed. America stands for something different.  We believe that right makes might — that bigger nations should not be able to bully smaller ones, and that people should be able to choose their own future.

And these are simple truths, but they must be defended. America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy.  We will reinforce our NATO Allies and uphold our commitment to collective self-defense.  We will impose a cost on Russia for aggression, and we will counter falsehoods with the truth.  And we call upon others to join us on the right side of history — for while small gains can be won at the barrel of a gun, they will ultimately be turned back if enough voices support the freedom of nations and peoples to make their own decisions.

Moreover, a different path is available — the path of diplomacy and peace, and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold.  The recent cease-fire agreement in Ukraine offers an opening to achieve those objectives.  If Russia takes that path — a path that for stretches of the post-Cold War period resulted in prosperity for the Russian people — then we will lift our sanctions and welcome Russia’s role in addressing common challenges.  After all, that’s what the United States and Russia have been able to do in past years — from reducing our nuclear stockpiles to meeting our obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to cooperating to remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons.  And that’s the kind of cooperation we are prepared to pursue again — if Russia changes course.

This speaks to a central question of our global age — whether we will solve our problems together, in a spirit of mutual interest and mutual respect, or whether we descend into the destructive rivalries of the past.  When nations find common ground, not simply based on power, but on principle, then we can make enormous progress.  And I stand before you today committed to investing American strength to working with all nations to address the problems we face in the 21st century.

As we speak, America is deploying our doctors and scientists — supported by our military — to help contain the outbreak of Ebola and pursue new treatments.  But we need a broader effort to stop a disease that could kill hundreds of thousands, inflict horrific suffering, destabilize economies, and move rapidly across borders.  It’s easy to see this as a distant problem — until it is not.  And that is why we will continue to mobilize other countries to join us in making concrete commitments, significant commitments to fight this outbreak, and enhance our system of global health security for the long term.

America is pursuing a diplomatic resolution to the Iranian nuclear issue, as part of our commitment to stop the spread of nuclear weapons and pursue the peace and security of a world without them.  And this can only take place if Iran seizes this historic opportunity.  My message to Iran’s leaders and people has been simple and consistent:  Do not let this opportunity pass.  We can reach a solution that meets your energy needs while assuring the world that your program is peaceful.

America is and will continue to be a Pacific power, promoting peace, stability, and the free flow of commerce among nations.  But we will insist that all nations abide by the rules of the road, and resolve their territorial disputes peacefully, consistent with international law.  That’s how the Asia-Pacific has grown.  And that’s the only way to protect this progress going forward.

America is committed to a development agenda that eradicates extreme poverty by 2030.  We will do our part to help people feed themselves, power their economies, and care for their sick.  If the world acts together, we can make sure that all of our children enjoy lives of opportunity and dignity.

America is pursuing ambitious reductions in our carbon emissions, and we’ve increased our investments in clean energy. We will do our part, and help developing nations do theirs.  But the science tells us we can only succeed in combating climate change if we are joined in this effort by every other nation, by every major power.  That’s how we can protect this planet for our children and our grandchildren.

In other words, on issue after issue, we cannot rely on a rule book written for a different century.  If we lift our eyes beyond our borders — if we think globally and if we act cooperatively — we can shape the course of this century, as our predecessors shaped the post-World War II age.  But as we look to the future, one issue risks a cycle of conflict that could derail so much progress, and that is the cancer of violent extremism that has ravaged so many parts of the Muslim world.

Of course, terrorism is not new.  Speaking before this Assembly, President Kennedy put it well:  “Terror is not a new weapon,” he said.  “Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example.”  In the 20th century, terror was used by all manner of groups who failed to come to power through public support.  But in this century, we have faced a more lethal and ideological brand of terrorists who have perverted one of the world’s great religions.  With access to technology that allows small groups to do great harm, they have embraced a nightmarish vision that would divide the world into adherents and infidels — killing as many innocent civilians as possible, employing the most brutal methods to intimidate people within their communities.

I have made it clear that America will not base our entire foreign policy on reacting to terrorism.  Instead, we’ve waged a focused campaign against al Qaeda and its associated forces — taking out their leaders, denying them the safe havens they rely on.  At the same time, we have reaffirmed again and again that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam.  Islam teaches peace.  Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice.  And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us — because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country.

So we reject any suggestion of a clash of civilizations. Belief in permanent religious war is the misguided refuge of extremists who cannot build or create anything, and therefore peddle only fanaticism and hate.  And it is no exaggeration to say that humanity’s future depends on us uniting against those who would divide us along the fault lines of tribe or sect, race or religion.

But this is not simply a matter of words.  Collectively, we must take concrete steps to address the danger posed by religiously motivated fanatics, and the trends that fuel their recruitment.  Moreover, this campaign against extremism goes beyond a narrow security challenge.  For while we’ve degraded methodically core al Qaeda and supported a transition to a sovereign Afghan government, extremist ideology has shifted to other places — particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where a quarter of young people have no job, where food and water could grow scarce, where corruption is rampant and sectarian conflicts have become increasingly hard to contain.

As an international community, we must meet this challenge with a focus on four areas.  First, the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded and ultimately destroyed.

This group has terrorized all who they come across in Iraq and Syria.  Mothers, sisters, daughters have been subjected to rape as a weapon of war.  Innocent children have been gunned down.  Bodies have been dumped in mass graves.  Religious minorities have been starved to death.  In the most horrific crimes imaginable, innocent human beings have been beheaded, with videos of the atrocity distributed to shock the conscience of the world.

No God condones this terror.  No grievance justifies these actions.  There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil.  The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force.  So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death.

In this effort, we do not act alone — nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands.  Instead, we will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities.  We will use our military might in a campaign of airstrikes to roll back ISIL.  We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground.  We will work to cut off their financing, and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region.  And already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition.

Today, I ask the world to join in this effort.  Those who have joined ISIL should leave the battlefield while they can.  Those who continue to fight for a hateful cause will find they are increasingly alone.  For we will not succumb to threats, and we will demonstrate that the future belongs to those who build — not those who destroy.  So that’s an immediate challenge, the first challenge that we must meet.

The second:  It is time for the world — especially Muslim communities — to explicitly, forcefully, and consistently reject the ideology of organizations like al Qaeda and ISIL.

It is one of the tasks of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world.  No children are born hating, and no children — anywhere — should be educated to hate other people.  There should be no more tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they’re Jewish, or because they’re Christian, or because they’re Muslim.  It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source, and that is the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.

That means cutting off the funding that fuels this hate.  It’s time to end the hypocrisy of those who accumulate wealth through the global economy and then siphon funds to those who teach children to tear it down.

That means contesting the space that terrorists occupy, including the Internet and social media.  Their propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad to fight their wars, and turned students — young people full of potential — into suicide bombers.  We must offer an alternative vision.

That means bringing people of different faiths together.  All religions have been attacked by extremists from within at some point, and all people of faith have a responsibility to lift up the value at the heart of all great religions:  Do unto thy neighbor as you would do — you would have done unto yourself.

The ideology of ISIL or al Qaeda or Boko Haram will wilt and die if it is consistently exposed and confronted and refuted in the light of day.  Look at the new Forum for Promoting Peace in Muslim Societies — Sheikh bin Bayyah described its purpose:  “We must declare war on war, so the outcome will be peace upon peace.”  Look at the young British Muslims who responded to terrorist propaganda by starting the “NotInMyName” campaign, declaring, “ISIS is hiding behind a false Islam.”  Look at the Christian and Muslim leaders who came together in the Central African Republic to reject violence; listen to the Imam who said, “Politics try to divide the religious in our country, but religion shouldn’t be a cause of hate, war, or strife.”

Later today, the Security Council will adopt a resolution that underscores the responsibility of states to counter violent extremism.  But resolutions must be followed by tangible commitments, so we’re accountable when we fall short.  Next year, we should all be prepared to announce the concrete steps that we have taken to counter extremist ideologies in our own countries — by getting intolerance out of schools, stopping radicalization before it spreads, and promoting institutions and programs that build new bridges of understanding.

Third, we must address the cycle of conflict — especially sectarian conflict — that creates the conditions that terrorists prey upon.

There is nothing new about wars within religions.  Christianity endured centuries of vicious sectarian conflict.  Today, it is violence within Muslim communities that has become the source of so much human misery.  It is time to acknowledge the destruction wrought by proxy wars and terror campaigns between Sunni and Shia across the Middle East.  And it is time that political, civic and religious leaders reject sectarian strife.  So let’s be clear:  This is a fight that no one is winning.  A brutal civil war in Syria has already killed nearly 200,000 people, displaced millions.  Iraq has come perilously close to plunging back into the abyss.  The conflict has created a fertile recruiting ground for terrorists who inevitably export this violence.

The good news is we also see signs that this tide could be reversed.  We have a new, inclusive government in Baghdad; a new Iraqi Prime Minister welcomed by his neighbors; Lebanese factions rejecting those who try to provoke war.  And these steps must be followed by a broader truce.  Nowhere is this more necessary than Syria.

Together with our partners, America is training and equipping the Syrian opposition to be a counterweight to the terrorists of ISIL and the brutality of the Assad regime.  But the only lasting solution to Syria’s civil war is political — an inclusive political transition that responds to the legitimate aspirations of all Syrian citizens, regardless of ethnicity, regardless of creed.

Cynics may argue that such an outcome can never come to pass.  But there is no other way for this madness to end — whether one year from now or ten.  And it points to the fact that it’s time for a broader negotiation in the region in which major powers address their differences directly, honestly, and peacefully across the table from one another, rather than through gun-wielding proxies.  I can promise you America will remain engaged in the region, and we are prepared to engage in that effort.

My fourth and final point is a simple one:  The countries of the Arab and Muslim world must focus on the extraordinary potential of their people — especially the youth.

And here I’d like to speak directly to young people across the Muslim world.  You come from a great tradition that stands for education, not ignorance; innovation, not destruction; the dignity of life, not murder.  Those who call you away from this path are betraying this tradition, not defending it.

You have demonstrated that when young people have the tools to succeed — good schools, education in math and science, an economy that nurtures creativity and entrepreneurship — then societies will flourish.  So America will partner with those that promote that vision.

Where women are full participants in a country’s politics or economy, societies are more likely to succeed.  And that’s why we support the participation of women in parliaments and peace processes, schools and the economy.

If young people live in places where the only option is between the dictates of a state, or the lure of an extremist underground, then no counterterrorism strategy can succeed.  But where a genuine civil society is allowed to flourish — where people can express their views, and organize peacefully for a better life — then you dramatically expand the alternatives to terror.

And such positive change need not come at the expense of tradition and faith.  We see this in Iraq, where a young man started a library for his peers.  “We link Iraq’s heritage to their hearts,” he said, and “give them a reason to stay.”  We see it in Tunisia, where secular and Islamist parties worked together through a political process to produce a new constitution.  We see it in Senegal, where civil society thrives alongside a strong democratic government.  We see it in Malaysia, where vibrant entrepreneurship is propelling a former colony into the ranks of advanced economies.  And we see it in Indonesia, where what began as a violent transition has evolved into a genuine democracy.

Now, ultimately, the task of rejecting sectarianism and rejecting extremism is a generational task — and a task for the people of the Middle East themselves.   No external power can bring about a transformation of hearts and minds.  But America will be a respectful and constructive partner.  We will neither tolerate terrorist safe havens, nor act as an occupying power.  We will take action against threats to our security and our allies, while building an architecture of counterterrorism cooperation.  We will increase efforts to lift up those who counter extremist ideologies and who seek to resolve sectarian conflict.  And we will expand our programs to support entrepreneurship and civil society, education and youth — because, ultimately, these investments are the best antidote to violence.

We recognize as well that leadership will be necessary to address the conflict between Palestinians and Israelis.  As bleak as the landscape appears, America will not give up on the pursuit of peace.  Understand, the situation in Iraq and Syria and Libya should cure anybody of the illusion that the Arab-Israeli conflict is the main source of problems in the region.  For far too long, that’s been used as an excuse to distract people from problems at home.  The violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace.  And that’s something worthy of reflection within Israel.

Because let’s be clear:  The status quo in the West Bank and Gaza is not sustainable.  We cannot afford to turn away from this effort — not when rockets are fired at innocent Israelis, or the lives of so many Palestinian children are taken from us in Gaza. So long as I am President, we will stand up for the principle that Israelis, Palestinians, the region and the world will be more just and more safe with two states living side by side, in peace and security.

So this is what America is prepared to do:  Taking action against immediate threats, while pursuing a world in which the need for such action is diminished.  The United States will never shy away from defending our interests, but we will also not shy away from the promise of this institution and its Universal Declaration of Human Rights — the notion that peace is not merely the absence of war, but the presence of a better life.

I realize that America’s critics will be quick to point out that at times we too have failed to live up to our ideals; that America has plenty of problems within its own borders.  This is true.  In a summer marked by instability in the Middle East and Eastern Europe, I know the world also took notice of the small American city of Ferguson, Missouri — where a young man was killed, and a community was divided.  So, yes, we have our own racial and ethnic tensions.  And like every country, we continually wrestle with how to reconcile the vast changes wrought by globalization and greater diversity with the traditions that we hold dear.

But we welcome the scrutiny of the world — because what you see in America is a country that has steadily worked to address our problems, to make our union more perfect, to bridge the divides that existed at the founding of this nation.  America is not the same as it was 100 years ago, or 50 years ago, or even a decade ago.  Because we fight for our ideals, and we are willing to criticize ourselves when we fall short.  Because we hold our leaders accountable, and insist on a free press and independent judiciary.  Because we address our differences in the open space of democracy — with respect for the rule of law; with a place for people of every race and every religion; and with an unyielding belief in the ability of individual men and women to change their communities and their circumstances and their countries for the better.

After nearly six years as President, I believe that this promise can help light the world.  Because I have seen a longing for positive change — for peace and for freedom and for opportunity and for the end to bigotry — in the eyes of young people who I’ve met around the globe.

They remind me that no matter who you are, or where you come from, or what you look like, or what God you pray to, or who you love, there is something fundamental that we all share.  Eleanor Roosevelt, a champion of the UN and America’s role in it, once asked, “Where, after all, do universal human rights begin?  In small places,” she said, “close to home — so close and so small that they cannot be seen on any maps of the world.  Yet they are the world of the individual person; the neighborhood he lives in; the school or college he attends; the factory, farm or office where he works.”

Around the world, young people are moving forward hungry for a better world.  Around the world, in small places, they’re overcoming hatred and bigotry and sectarianism.  And they’re learning to respect each other, despite differences.

The people of the world now look to us, here, to be as decent, and as dignified, and as courageous as they are trying to be in their daily lives.  And at this crossroads, I can promise you that the United States of America will not be distracted or deterred from what must be done.  We are heirs to a proud legacy of freedom, and we’re prepared to do what is necessary to secure that legacy for generations to come.  I ask that you join us in this common mission, for today’s children and tomorrow’s.

Thank you very much.  (Applause.) ”

Source : Please see http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2014/09/24/remarks-president-obama-address-united-nations-general-assembly

This is a much anticipated speech as one ruminates potential course of action agnaist global terror and other contested matters in world polity. Its a great speech. As one has to come to expect from President Obama. For someone who lives outside United states and is unaware of domestic pulls and thrusts of  politics in America. I thought President Obama when he came to India was excellent and thought US has a very intelligent President. I still stick to that view. I however do not understand America’s reluctance to talk to Israel about its disproportionate use of force in Gaza. The conscience keeper of the world must keep little more conscience there, otherwise feel President Obama’s responses to international conflict has been measured and non interventionist unless scaled by exigencies such as ISIS threat to world order. I support President Obama’s policies in the new world order.

President Obama says  and  i quote ” Today, whether you live in downtown Manhattan or in my grandmother’s village more than 200 miles from Nairobi, you can hold in your hand more information than the world’s greatest libraries.  Together, we’ve learned how to cure disease and harness the power of the wind and the sun.  The very existence of this institution is a unique achievement — the people of the world committing to resolve their differences peacefully, and to solve their problems together.  I often tell young people in the United States that despite the headlines, this is the best time in human history to be born, for you are more likely than ever before to be literate, to be healthy, to be free to pursue your dreams.

And yet there is a pervasive unease in our world — a sense that the very forces that have brought us together have created new dangers and made it difficult for any single nation to insulate itself from global forces.  As we gather here, an outbreak of Ebola overwhelms public health systems in West Africa and threatens to move rapidly across borders.  Russian aggression in Europe recalls the days when large nations trampled small ones in pursuit of territorial ambition.  The brutality of terrorists in Syria and Iraq forces us to look into the heart of darkness.”

This is true in this connected world there is no one who has an insurance against contagious disease or forces of terror.

On Ukraine, President Obama states ” America and our allies will support the people of Ukraine as they develop their democracy and economy.  We will reinforce our NATO Allies and uphold our commitment to collective self-defense.  We will impose a cost on Russia for aggression, and we will counter falsehoods with the truth.  ”

” Moreover, a different path is available — the path of diplomacy and peace, and the ideals this institution is designed to uphold.  The recent cease-fire agreement in Ukraine offers an opening to achieve those objectives.  If Russia takes that path — a path that for stretches of the post-Cold War period resulted in prosperity for the Russian people — then we will lift our sanctions and welcome Russia’s role in addressing common challenges.  After all, that’s what the United States and Russia have been able to do in past years — from reducing our nuclear stockpiles to meeting our obligations under the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, to cooperating to remove and destroy Syria’s declared chemical weapons.  And that’s the kind of cooperation we are prepared to pursue again — if Russia changes course. ”

On terrorism , President Obama says “Of course, terrorism is not new.  Speaking before this Assembly, President Kennedy put it well:  “Terror is not a new weapon,” he said.  “Throughout history it has been used by those who could not prevail, either by persuasion or example.”  In the 20th century, terror was used by all manner of groups who failed to come to power through public support.  But in this century, we have faced a more lethal and ideological brand of terrorists who have perverted one of the world’s great religions.  With access to technology that allows small groups to do great harm, they have embraced a nightmarish vision that would divide the world into adherents and infidels — killing as many innocent civilians as possible, employing the most brutal methods to intimidate people within their communities.”

” I have made it clear that America will not base our entire foreign policy on reacting to terrorism.  Instead, we’ve waged a focused campaign against al Qaeda and its associated forces — taking out their leaders, denying them the safe havens they rely on.  At the same time, we have reaffirmed again and again that the United States is not and never will be at war with Islam.  Islam teaches peace.  Muslims the world over aspire to live with dignity and a sense of justice.  And when it comes to America and Islam, there is no us and them, there is only us — because millions of Muslim Americans are part of the fabric of our country. ”

“For while we’ve degraded methodically core al Qaeda and supported a transition to a sovereign Afghan government, extremist ideology has shifted to other places — particularly in the Middle East and North Africa, where a quarter of young people have no job, where food and water could grow scarce, where corruption is rampant and sectarian conflicts have become increasingly hard to contain.

As an international community, we must meet this challenge with a focus on four areas.  First, the terrorist group known as ISIL must be degraded and ultimately destroyed. ”

The fact remains ISIL managed to find audience in US, Europe and Australia. I was stunned about a news report in a mainstream daily here, couple of recruits, born three hours from where me stays were  suspected to be fighting in Iraq . This is shocking.

President Obama says “No God condones this terror.  No grievance justifies these actions.  There can be no reasoning — no negotiation — with this brand of evil.  The only language understood by killers like this is the language of force.  So the United States of America will work with a broad coalition to dismantle this network of death. ”

” In this effort, we do not act alone — nor do we intend to send U.S. troops to occupy foreign lands.  Instead, we will support Iraqis and Syrians fighting to reclaim their communities.  We will use our military might in a campaign of airstrikes to roll back ISIL.  We will train and equip forces fighting against these terrorists on the ground.  We will work to cut off their financing, and to stop the flow of fighters into and out of the region.  And already, over 40 nations have offered to join this coalition. ”

I concur and support this action. Which religion teaches to kill ? My  worry is collateral damage which is not only sad but also counter productive.

President Obama further states ” it is one of the tasks of all great religions to accommodate devout faith with a modern, multicultural world.  No children are born hating, and no children — anywhere — should be educated to hate other people.  There should be no more tolerance of so-called clerics who call upon people to harm innocents because they’re Jewish, or because they’re Christian, or because they’re Muslim.  It is time for a new compact among the civilized peoples of this world to eradicate war at its most fundamental source, and that is the corruption of young minds by violent ideology.

That means cutting off the funding that fuels this hate.  It’s time to end the hypocrisy of those who accumulate wealth through the global economy and then siphon funds to those who teach children to tear it down.

That means contesting the space that terrorists occupy, including the Internet and social media.  Their propaganda has coerced young people to travel abroad to fight their wars, and turned students — young people full of potential — into suicide bombers.  We must offer an alternative vision.”

This then is a great challenge more pervasive and insidious than Geo politics. I wish every country success in this endeavour. The problem is socio-politico-developmental. I remember here quote by a Kurdish leader from the Newyorker article shared yesterday that “war is one dimensional and easier than politics where one has to contest many fronts.” I hope US gets Israel too to temper its resposes to Gaza.

Fareed Zakaria in a response to CNN on President Obama’s speech to UN General assembly says “Frankly, I wouldn’t mind seeing the United States leading a little bit from behind on this one, which is to say having the Sunni Arab states in the front confronting ISIS, rather than having what ISIS would regard as the crusader capitalist Western Christian power do it.

The issue here, though, is that the strikes are fine, and I think the president will find there’s broad support in a campaign against ISIS. There’s broad support for the kind of talk about world order. But what’s the regional strategy and follow up? ”

” The problem is the policy underneath remains somewhat troubling. We are fighting ISIS, which will have the effect of strengthening the al-Assad regime, strengthening Iran, strengthening Russia, while we are also saying that we are battling the al-Assad regime, Russia, and Iran. That is not simply a problem; that is frankly incoherent. And we haven’t figured out how to get around that strategic incoherence at the heart of the policy. That will start unraveling on the ground. The speech was great. President Bush made lots of very strong, determined, fiery speeches. But the problem is the policy on the ground has to keep up.”

The complex jigsaw is work in progress. Please see : http://globalpublicsquare.blogs.cnn.com/2014/09/24/zakaria-isis-policy-remains-somewhat-troubling/

The New York Times report by Mark landler says “In a sign of how the fight against the Islamic State has reordered priorities, Mr. Obama pledged to train and equip moderate rebels in Syria — something he long resisted and labeled a  fantasy.  He repeated calls for a political settlement to end the civil war there, acknowledging that “cynics may argue that such an outcome can never come to pass.”

Mr. Obama only fleetingly addressed another of last year’s priorities, the Israeli-Palestinian peace talks, delivering a mild rebuke to the government of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The violence engulfing the region today has made too many Israelis ready to abandon the hard work of peace,” he said. “That’s something worthy of reflection within Israel,” he added, in a line that was not in his prepared text.”

With much of the day’s focus on the threat from foreign fighters, Mr. Obama took pains to address it. In an echo of the 2009 speech in Cairo that was aimed at the Islamic world, he issued a direct appeal to young Muslims, urging them to resist the blandishments of violent jihadism.

“You come from a great tradition that stands for education, not ignorance; innovation, not destruction; the dignity of life, not murder,” Mr. Obama said. “Those who call you away from this path are betraying this tradition, not defending it.””

Please see for New York Times report : http://www.nytimes.com/2014/09/25/world/middleeast/obama-syria-un-isis.html?_r=0

I hope and pray the coalition action led by US agnaist ISIS succeeds without collateral damage…

Thank you!

Link

The Fight of Their Lives : Dexter Filkins ( The New Yorker )

24 Sep

http://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2014/09/29/fight-lives

I saw a CNN news report of 200,000 syrian  kurds fleeing scourge of ISIS to Turkey. I was struck by the sheer enormity  and scale of  human sufferring and wondered why we are so ill equipped to fight and eradicate the threat posed by ISIS. I read about a encouraging news of a new  national government taking shape in Iraq with representation of  warring factions and  thought it might be first step in presenting a uniform front to scare of ISIS. I wondered why UN security council can’t take coercive actions? Why is the world is so unipolar? Why the solution always points to America? Can US alone solve the world’s problems? Is it equipped to do so ?  Why burden America with every scare ?

Lee Kuan Yew in a interview (Fareed Zakaria, CNN) once alluded America cannot impose its governance structures in other nations. I have a feeling that is right. I also feel US under Barack Obama is better than previous governments in terms of measured responses to interventions. It is seeking to empower local forces in its fight against ISIS and recent round of air strikes on Raqqa had the support of a coalition of countries. I still wonder if it is enough, drone strikes have collateral damages and how much rebels can fight ISIS.

I also have a child like wonder, is this because the world is no more a bi polar order, did the soviets help keep the world order sane, like in my childhood. I never heard of a terrorist organization growing up, may be there was not much media and no internet. May be religion was not a state subject. I don’t know. Leonard cohen wrote in ” The Future” ” I’ve seen the future, brother: it is murder..” he later recounted in a interview ( NRK) he was feeling this acutely after collapse of Berlin Wall. May be the master is right. Is Geo politics now more complex than ever…

Dexter filkins highlights the kurdish piece of this struggle agnaist ISIS, autonomy and freedom. Its a complex kitsch. Please do read this exhuastive reporting ( almost like a docudrama) for Kurdish vantage point. Please see “The Fight of Their Lives (The White House wants the Kurds to help save Iraq from ISIS. The Kurds may be more interested in breaking away.) ” by Dexter filkins for “The New Yorker “.

Dexter filkins writes ” The fighting between ISIS and the Kurds stretches along a six-hundred-and-fifty-mile front in northeastern Iraq—a jagged line that roughly traces one border of Iraqi Kurdistan, the territory that the Kurds have been fighting for decades to establish as an independent state. With as many as thirty million people spread across the Middle East, the Kurds claim to be the world’s largest ethnic group without a country. ”

” The incursion of ISIS presents the Kurds with both opportunity and risk. In June, the ISIS army swept out of the Syrian desert and into Mosul, Iraq’s second-largest city. As the Islamist forces took control, Iraqi Army soldiers fled, setting off a military collapse through the region. The Kurds, taking advantage of the chaos, seized huge tracts of territory that had been claimed by both Kurdistan and the government in Baghdad. With the newly acquired land, the political climate for independence seemed promising. The region was also finding new economic strength; vast reserves of oil have been discovered there in the past decade. In July, President Barzani asked the Kurdish parliament to begin preparations for a vote on self-rule. “The time has come to decide our fate, and we should not wait for other people to decide it for us,” Barzani said.”

” Since 2003, when the U.S. destroyed the Iraqi state and began spending billions of dollars trying to build a new one, the Kurds have been their most steadfast ally. When American forces departed, in 2011, not a single U.S. soldier had lost his life in Kurdish territory. As the rest of Iraq imploded, only the Kurdish region realized the dream that President George W. Bush had set forth when he ordered the attack: it is pro-Western, largely democratic, largely secular, and economically prosperous. President Obama recently told the Times that the Kurdish government is “functional the way we would like to see.”

” Still, the Administration, bound to a policy it calls One Iraq, is quietly working to thwart the Kurds’ aspirations. American officials are warning companies that buying Kurdish oil may have dire legal consequences, and the warnings have been effective: the Kurdish regional government is nearly bankrupt. And yet, as the peshmerga work to force ISIS out of Kurdish territory, they have been supported by American jets and drones, and by American Special Forces on the ground. In August, President Obama ordered covert shipments of arms to the Kurds. By the end of the month, Kurdish forces had taken back much of the territory that they had lost to ISIS, and were preparing operations to reclaim the rest.”

It is this complex sub texts : US supporting a unified Iraq and Kurds aiming liberation. America needing kurdish forces in its fight agnaist ISIS.  This is just part of struggle in Iraq, it perhaps gets more complex and clueless in Syria…

More from the article ” Obama has spoken carefully in public, but it is plain that the Administration wants the Kurds to do two potentially incompatible things. The first is to serve as a crucial ally in the campaign to destroy ISIS, with all the military funding and equipment that such a role entails. The second is to resist seceding from the Iraqi state. Around Washington, the understanding is clear: if the long-sought country of Kurdistan becomes real, America’s twelve-year project of nation building in Iraq will be sundered. Kurdish leaders acknowledge that the emergence of ISIS and the implosion of Syria are changing the region in unpredictable ways. But the Kurds’ history with the state of Iraq is one of persistent enmity and bloodshed, and they see little benefit in joining up with their old antagonists. “Iraq exists only in the minds of people in the White House,” Masrour Barzani, the Kurdish intelligence chief and Masoud’s son, told me. “We need our own laws, our own rules, our own country, and we are going to get them.”

” Throughout the war in Iraq, the Kurds were the Americans’ most loyal partners, offering up the peshmerga to form the nucleus of the new Iraqi Army and one of their own leaders, Jalal Talabani, to be the President of Iraq. Kurdish politicians won seats in the new parliament. But, as the U.S. tried to build a unified and democratic Iraq, the Kurds developed a parallel state, fostering separate democratic institutions, preserving their army, and preparing for the Americans’ eventual departure. If it wasn’t exactly a double game, it allowed the Kurds to be ready for the day when the Iraqi state disintegrated.”

“The ISIS that swept into northwestern Iraq this June is remarkably different from its predecessor, Al Qaeda in Iraq. The earlier organization operated mostly in secret, and its leaders were uninterested in acquiring territory, believing that a fixed location creates unacceptable risks. ISIS is led by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who holds a Ph.D. in Islamic studies from Baghdad University and spent time in an American military prison in Iraq. At forty-three, he is said to be a flamboyant figure, a self-styled successor to Osama bin Laden. Baghdadi’s goal is to re-create the era of the caliphate, when an Islamic regime ruled from Constantinople to Morocco and the Arabian Peninsula. ”

” Al Qaeda in Iraq was run largely by foreigners; ISIS is run by a council of former Iraqi generals, according to Hisham Alhashimi, an adviser to the Iraqi government and an expert on ISIS. Many are members of Saddam Hussein’s secular Baath Party who converted to radical Islam in American prisons. Baghdadi has divided his conquered Iraqi lands into seven “vilayets,” the name given to provinces in the caliphate. Each vilayet has a governor, who answers directly to Baghdadi, but who is free to launch attacks as he sees fit. “No permission is needed,” Alhashimi said. ”

”  Alhashimi estimated that Baghdadi has about ten thousand fighters under his command in Iraq and twelve thousand in Syria, with tens of thousands of active supporters in both countries. In Iraq, the advance force, called the House of Islam, is dominated by foreigners, including several hundred Europeans, Australians, and Americans. Many of them are suicide bombers. Alhashimi says that the group is increasingly well funded; he estimated that it takes in ten million dollars a month from kidnapping, and more than a hundred and fifty million dollars a month from smuggling oil into Turkey and other neighboring countries, often selling it at the bargain price of about a dollar a gallon. As of early this year, ISIS had an estimated nine hundred and fifty million dollars in cash, Alhashimi said, an amount that has grown as the group has taken more territory and imposed taxes on local Iraqis. ”

” One of the hallmarks of ISIS’s military strategy has been to launch several attacks simultaneously, distracting opponents from its real target. The group is fighting on many fronts in Iraq and Syria, Alhashimi said, and he believes that it may be planning a major attack somewhere else—in the Gulf or in Europe. “I don’t think it’s far away,” Alhashimi said. ”

” The initial air strikes ordered by President Obama—more than a hundred and fifty—were intended solely to aid the Kurdish forces and the government in Baghdad, and to rescue the Yazidis, a religious minority that fled en masse to Mt. Sinjar when ISIS’s fighters threatened a large-scale massacre. The air strikes, the U.S. official said, were coördinated by teams of American Special Forces, which conducted thermal scans to locate ISIS fighters and then targeted them with bombs.”

“But the next wave of strikes, which Obama outlined in a nationally broadcast speech in early September, will go much deeper. “Unless you degrade [ISIS’s] war-fighting capacity—that means its command and control, its leadership, its armored vehicles, its ability to mass and maneuver and conduct war—there is no local force on the ground in this entire swath of territory that can stand up to it right now,” he said. Obama is assembling a coalition of states that are willing to contribute training and airpower. But, as ISIS fighters integrate themselves into local populations, the coalition needs fighters who will go from door to door. In Iraq, there are only two standing fighting forces: the peshmerga ( Kurdish forces) and the Iraqi Army. ”

Please do read ” The Fight of Their Lives  ” by Dexter filkins for “The New Yorker “.

We are living in complex times and  ISIS  has presented biggest challenge to world order. Its ambitions are that of a government.  It must be stopped. I hope US and coalition succeeds but the answer is not a unipolar order. America for all its expertise and stature in comity of nations need not be the answer for world problems, its unrealistic to seek its intervention all the time and everywhere…for now there seems to be no other option.

Right now human sufferring is unparalleled and very very sad, hope some improvement is made…

Thank you!