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Why Obama’s ‘we don’t have a strategy yet’ on Islamic State is good, for now
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In eastern Turkey, a rare renaissance for Middle East Christians
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Syria refugee crisis In an effort to grapple with what may become the world’s largest refugee crisis ever, the United Nations has asked for a record-breaking $5.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Syria and its neighboring countries.
The number of refugees could reach 3.5 million by the end of this year— more than 15 percent of Syria’s population. 
Graphic: Rich Clabaugh/The Christian Science Monitor

Syria refugee crisis In an effort to grapple with what may become the world’s largest refugee crisis ever, the United Nations has asked for a record-breaking $5.1 billion in humanitarian aid for Syria and its neighboring countries.

The number of refugees could reach 3.5 million by the end of this year— more than 15 percent of Syria’s population. 

Graphic: Rich Clabaugh/The Christian Science Monitor

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Women in combat: De facto warriors in Afghanistan and Iraq, women are now closer than ever to the “profession of combat arms.” The US military is opening jobs to them closer to the battlefield, and they are pushing to abolish job limits through legal battles.
READ: Women in combat: US military on verge of making it official
PHOTO: Col. Jeannie Leavitt, Commander of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C. is the first female jet fighter pilot in US history and first woman to command a fighter wing squadron. Military women largely have been unable to serve in such high commands because, barred from combat, they have been unable to get the experience they need to advance. (James Robinson/Special to the Christian Science Monitor)

Women in combat: De facto warriors in Afghanistan and Iraq, women are now closer than ever to the “profession of combat arms.” The US military is opening jobs to them closer to the battlefield, and they are pushing to abolish job limits through legal battles.

READ: Women in combat: US military on verge of making it official

PHOTO: Col. Jeannie Leavitt, Commander of the 4th Fighter Wing at Seymour Johnson Air Force Base in Goldsboro, N.C. is the first female jet fighter pilot in US history and first woman to command a fighter wing squadron. Military women largely have been unable to serve in such high commands because, barred from combat, they have been unable to get the experience they need to advance. (James Robinson/Special to the Christian Science Monitor)

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Pentagon correspondent Anna Mulrine points out that even before the brigade left for Afghanistan in 2009, its commander was uneasy about the uncertain task ahead; mentoring Afghan security forces.

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A few of the charts from this week’s cover “After Iraq” written by Scott Peterson, illustrated by Rich Clabaugh. Click here to view the entire slideshow.

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Scott Peterson goes back to Iraq and talks with locals about the future once US troops pullout at the end of the year.

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The good news is there have been no signs – as of yet – of reprisal killings against Iraq’s Sunni community in turn. Tit-for-tat assassinations and terror attacks were what tipped Iraq’s simmering violence into a raging boil during the early years of the war, and the Iraqi public by and large is desperate to avoid a repeat. But as I wrote yesterday, better trained soldiers or intelligence officers alone are not the answer to Iraq’s still dangerous conditions, which a US government report in July found have deteriorated badly in the past year.

What’s needed is for Maliki and his allies to find a political answer to the still significant numbers of Iraqis who feel the country’s current order is hostile to them. That’s an answer that Iraq – and the US, with spending of nearly $800,000 on the conflict so far and the loss of more than 4,000 soldiers’ lives – has been groping toward for almost a decade now.

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Dan Murphy, the Monitor’s roving editor/foreign correspondent on the latest situation in Iraq.

The death toll in Iraq yesterday, with at least 70 murdered in attacks across the country, was bad enough. But the scope of the killing carries worrying echoes of the way sectarian warfare ramped up across Iraq starting in late 2003, leading to the country’s civil war.

Read this article:

Iraq violence: reminiscent of 2004

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Staff writer Scott Peterson has followed the Methboub family of Baghdad, off and on, since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. He now tells the story of daughter Amal during her first year at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani:

It was hard to part from the joyful laughter and close bonds of her seven siblings and widowed matriarch Karima Selman Methboub. Together, this impoverished family had witnessed car bombs, felt the fear of kidnapping, faced the imprisonment and torture of an innocent son, and withstood US occupation and a vicious insurgency.

Story: After Baghdad’s violence, young Iraqi tackles new test: freshman year
PHOTO: Amal Selman works with fellow student Shimaa Emad Hussein during class at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, in the Kurdish regional city of Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq. (Getty Images/Scott Peterson)

Staff writer Scott Peterson has followed the Methboub family of Baghdad, off and on, since the start of the Iraq war in 2003. He now tells the story of daughter Amal during her first year at American University of Iraq, Sulaimani:

It was hard to part from the joyful laughter and close bonds of her seven siblings and widowed matriarch Karima Selman Methboub. Together, this impoverished family had witnessed car bombs, felt the fear of kidnapping, faced the imprisonment and torture of an innocent son, and withstood US occupation and a vicious insurgency.

Story: After Baghdad’s violence, young Iraqi tackles new test: freshman year

PHOTO: Amal Selman works with fellow student Shimaa Emad Hussein during class at the American University of Iraq, Sulaimani, in the Kurdish regional city of Sulaymaniyah, northern Iraq. (Getty Images/Scott Peterson)