The current “peace negotiation” between the Santos government and the FARC is a straight-forward extortion scheme:  The FARC is offering “peace” (or “protection”) in exchange for control of the government, through threats – and acts – of violence

In 2000, the image of Elvia Cortés Gil, a 55 year-old woman from rural Colombia, wearing a “necklace bomb”  made headlines around the world.   She had refused to pay “protection” money to FARC terrorists, so they forced the bomb around her neck, demanding $7,500 for its removal.  Colombian police and army officers attempted for seven hours to disarm the bomb before it detonated, decapitating Mrs. Cortez and killing a police officer.  This is one of thousands of instances of extortion, which has been the FARC’s bread and butter for decades.

They are still at it — on a grand scale. The current “peace negotiation” between the Santos government and the FARC is a straight-forward extortion scheme:  The FARC is offering “peace” (or “protection”) in exchange for control of the government, through threats – and acts – of violence.

The FARC is clear in its demands.  In a televised interview, FARC spokesman Rodrigo Granda said plainly:  “The goal is the seizing of power through any means of warfare.”   To get it, the crime syndicate has coerced the media, the opposition, and the Santos government itself through an intimidation campaign that has been brutally supported by violence.

Since the “negotiations” began, about three years ago, The FARC has killed or injured about 1,000 civilians and more than 2,000 members of the armed forces, according to statistics from the National Police and Military Forces.  Earlier this year, the FARC executed a “Pistol Plan” – named after drug lord Pablo Escobar’s “Pistol Plan” in the 1980s — killing 22 uniformed officers and two civilians.  Their goal was for Santos to call a bi-lateral cease-fire, and Santos obliged.

Elvira Cortés Gil, asesinada brutalmente por los terroristas de las FARC que le colocaron un collar bomba. El oficial del ejército que intentó ayudarla desactivando la bomba, murió también en el intento.

Journalists critical of the negotiations have been extorted to coerce their silence. Dario Acevedo Carmona, for example, columnist for the daily El Espectador, suspended his column after the FARC threatened his life through their website Anncol, which posted: “if we don’t ‘de-escalate’ him it will be hard to ‘acclimate’ the Colombian ‘family’ to peace.” (Their emphasis, not mine.)  Journalists know the threats are real: in 2012, Fernando Londoño, who hosts a popular radio show, was the victim of a bombing that left two dead and injured 39 people.

Extorsion has also been useful in seizing government control at a local level.  A recent example was the murder, in August of this year, of Genaro Garcia, the leader of an Afro-Colombian Community Council in Colombia’s Pacific region.  The FARC demanded that Mr. Garcia relinquish his position on the Council.  When he refused, he was murdered.

But the main target of this extortion scheme is former President Alvaro Uribe, Senator and leader of the opposition party “Centro Democratico.”   Despite threats to his life, public pronouncements by the Attorney General Luis Eduardo Montealegre threatening to prosecute him, and an elaborate publicity campaign to tarnish his reputation, Uribe has yet to be silenced.   On October 3,  the FARC sent a message in true Tony Soprano style:  On the same day that two hit-men attempted to assassinate Silvio Gomez Claro, a Centro Democratico candidate for mayor in the city of Pitalito, FARC leader “Timochenko” made this statement through El Espectador:  “Uribe, don’t miss this opportunity for reconciliation.”

Recently, the Government and the FARC have begun to disagree as to how the FARC will pay for their crimes against humanity.  In a not-so-subtle reminder of who the boss was, FARC leader Timochenko issued this warning in an interview with Telesur: “[at one time] one of our Commands informed us that they were perfectly-positioned to assassinate President Santos.” He then added that former FARC Commander Alfonso Cano only held off because it wouldn’t be valid while peace talks were ongoing.

The Santos Government is likely to give in to the latest FARC demands: complete absolution of their crimes, no decommissioning of their weapons or wealth, and political status.  In essence, the FARC would become a political party led by terrorists, funded by drug proceeds and backed by an army of criminals.  The U.S. government’s position on this dangerous scenario is troubling.  Bernard Aronson, U.S. Envoy to the peace talks, said to CM& news: “…We would treat them like any other political party in the country.”

Elvia Cortez, Genaro Garcia, and Fernando Londono defied extortion demands because they refused to relinquish basic freedoms: individual rights, the autonomy of local communities, and freedom of speech and of the press.   Uribe opposes the FARC’s extorted peace because he refuses to surrender the ideals of democracy and justice of a nation.  The U.S. should stand with them.

Cotton Fields Creedence Clear Water Revival

Last week i was traveling to my farm  on my Mercedes Benz in a hot weather and full or rice and cotton fields  around and it remind me this good old song.

Cotton Fields”
When I was a little bitty baby
My mama would rock me in the cradle,
In them old cotton fields back home;

It was down in Louisiana,
Just about a mile from Texarkana,
In them old cotton fields back home.

Oh, when them cotton bolls get rotten
You can’t pick very much cotton,
In them old cotton fields back home.


Spartacus is a 1960 American epic historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay by Dalton Trumbo was based on the novel Spartacus by Howard Fast. It was inspired by the life story of the leader of a slave revolt in antiquity, Spartacus, and the events of the Third Servile War.

The film starred Kirk Douglas as Spartacus, Laurence Olivier as the Roman general and politician Marcus Licinius Crassus, Peter Ustinov, who won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, as slave trader Lentulus Batiatus, John Gavin as Julius Caesar, Jean Simmons as Varinia, Charles Laughton as Sempronius Gracchus and Tony Curtis as Antoninus. The film won four Academy Awards in all.

Douglas, whose Bryna Productions company was producing the film, removed original director Anthony Mann after the first week of shooting. Kubrick, with whom Douglas had worked before, was brought on board to take over direction.[2] It is the only film directed by Kubrick where he did not have complete artistic control.

Screenwriter Dalton Trumbo was blacklisted at the time as one of the Hollywood Ten. Kirk Douglas publicly announced that Trumbo was the screenwriter of Spartacus, and President-elect John F. Kennedy crossed American Legion picket lines to view the film, helping to end blacklisting.[3][4] The author of the novel on which it is based, Howard Fast, was also blacklisted, and originally had to self-publish it.

The film became the biggest moneymaker in Universal Studios‘ history, until it was surpassed by Airport (1970).[5]

n the 1st century BC, the Roman Republic has slid into corruption, its menial work done by armies of slaves. One of these, a proud and gifted man named Spartacus, is so uncooperative in his servitude that he is sentenced to fight as agladiator. He is trained at a school run by the unctuous Roman businessman Lentulus Batiatus, who instructs Spartacus’s trainer Marcellus to bully the slave mercilessly and break his spirit. Amid the abuse, Spartacus forms a quiet relationship with a serving woman named Varinia, whom he refuses to rape when she is sent to “entertain” him in his cell.

Batiatus receives a visit from the Roman senator Marcus Licinius Crassus, an arch-conservative who aims to become dictator of Rome. Crassus buys Varinia on a whim, and for the amusement of his companions arranges for Spartacus and three others to fight in pairs. When Spartacus is disarmed, his opponent, an African named Draba, spares his life in a burst of compassion and attacks the Roman audience, but is killed by an arena guard and Crassus. The next day, with the school’s atmosphere still tense over this episode, Batiatus takes Varinia away to Crassus’s house in Rome. Spartacus kills Marcellus, who was taunting him over this, and their fight escalates into a riot. The gladiators overwhelm their guards and escape into the Italian countryside.

Spartacus is elected chief of the fugitives and decides to lead them out of Italy and back to their homes. They plunder Roman country estates as they go, collecting enough money to buy sea transport from Rome’s foes, the pirates of Cilicia. Countless other slaves join the group, making it as large as an army. One of the new arrivals is Varinia, who escaped while being delivered to Crassus. Another is a slave entertainer named Antoninus, who also fled Crassus’s service after the Roman tried to seduce him. Privately Spartacus feels mentally inadequate because of his lack of education during years of servitude. However, he proves an excellent leader and organizes his diverse followers into a tough and self-sufficient community. Varinia, now his informal wife, becomes pregnant by him, and he also comes to regard the spirited Antoninus as a sort of son.

The Roman Senate becomes increasingly alarmed as Spartacus defeats the multiple armies it sends against him. Crassus’s populist opponent Gracchus knows that his rival will try to use the crisis as a justification for seizing control of the Roman army. To try and prevent this, Gracchus channels as much military power as possible into the hands of his own protege, a young senator named Julius Caesar. Although Caesar lacks Crassus’s contempt for the lower classes of Rome, he mistakes the man’s rigid outlook for nobility. Thus, when Gracchus reveals that he has bribed the Cilicians to get Spartacus out of Italy and rid Rome of the slave army, Caesar regards such tactics as beneath him and goes over to Crassus.

Crassus uses a bribe of his own to make the pirates abandon Spartacus and has the Roman army secretly force the rebels away from the coastline towards Rome. Amid panic that Spartacus means to sack the city, the Senate gives Crassus absolute power. Now surrounded by Romans, Spartacus convinces his men to die fighting. Just by rebelling, and proving themselves human, he says that they have struck a blow against slavery. In the ensuing battle, most of the slave army is massacred by Crassus’s forces. Afterward, when the Romans try to locate the rebel leader for special punishment, every surviving man shields him by shouting “I’m Spartacus!” As a result, Crassus has them all sentenced to death by crucifixion along the Via Appia.

Meanwhile, Crassus has found Varinia and Spartacus’s newborn son and has taken them prisoner. He is disturbed by the idea that Spartacus can command more love and loyalty than he can and hopes to compensate by making Varinia as devoted to him as she was to her former husband. When she rejects him, he furiously seeks out Spartacus (whom he recognizes from having watched him in the arena) and forces him to fight Antoninus to the death. The survivor is to be crucified, along with all the other men captured after the great battle. Spartacus kills Antoninus to spare him this fate. The incident leaves Crassus worried about Spartacus’s potential to live in legend as a martyr. In other matters he is also worried about Caesar, who he senses will someday eclipse him.

Gracchus, having seen Rome fall into tyranny, commits suicide. Before doing so, he bribes his friend Batiatus to rescue Spartacus’s family from Crassus and carry them away to freedom. On the way out of Rome, the group pass under Spartacus’s cross. Varinia is able to comfort him in his dying moments by showing him his little son, who will grow up without ever having been a slave.


Sucre Colombia Glorious And Mariscal A National Heritage in the name of coraima

Sucre is a treasure of unparalleled beauty,
its green mountains, streams and sea
Sucre is a paradise in the spell
their pasture;
it’s my whole entire earth
a large spring garden


Patria Colombiana
Sucre is my prettiest of my floor
where it extends the sky
in the waters of the beautiful blue sea.


Sucreño I Heart
my green and white flag is joy,
I am a lover of peace and harmony,
progress, justice and reason.


Sucre great fertility
their fields gives you wealth,
your crops and pastures
are national heritage
your crops and pastures
are national treasures.


Patria Colombiana
Sucre is my prettiest of my floor
where it extends the sky
in the waters of the beautiful blue sea.


Sucre, glorious Mariscal,
this land is your memory monument,
you will look proudly from history,
our soil and carries your name.


Sucre, your people will
peace in your way of greatness
and we shall nobly a large national sample,
and we shall nobly
a large national sample.


Founded: August 18, 1966

Name / the founder (s): Law 47 of 1966, by which creates and organizes the department of Sucre, was sanctioned by the President of the Republic, Dr. Carlos Lleras Restrepo, his minister of government.

Sincelejo was the seat of aboriginal tribes, commanded by Chinchelejo cacique, who derived the name of the then population discovered by Alfonso Palomino. Other versions say that the city was founded on October 4, 1535 by the Spanish Francisco de Sincelejo. It was then called San Francisco de Asis in Sincelejo. The distinction call (Queen and Lady Savannah) and (cebuista Capital of Colombia), famous for having served as headquarters of the so-called Revolution of the Priests, was until 1980.

hosts one of the most popular traditional festivals in Colombia, which dates back to October 1845, when in honor of the patron of sincelejano village, St. Francis of Assisi, the first party in corraleja, which then was moved to January 20th, the day of Holy Name of Jesus was performed. Don Antonio de la Torre and Miranda commissioned by the Governor of Cartagena, Francisco Diaz Pimienta, gathered the inhabitants scattered throughout the region in order to give symmetry and order to the town to give the name (website) that was given to mid-century when he received category (Villa), belonging to the charge of Don Alonso Padilla in 1610. It was erected township in 1776 and provincial capital in 1897. In 1963 the second Assembly of Municipalities meeting in which reaffirmed Sucre accession by all delegates. Coprosucre made visits to some municipalities finding in all its inhabitants enthusiasm for the separatist cause and its full support. On July 28, 1966 in the Senate the draft law on the establishment of the Department of Sucre was discussed. On August 18, 1966 Act 47 of that year is approved in the Senate, through which it is created and organized by the Department of Sucre. Act 47 of 1966, by which it is created and organized the department of Sucre, was sanctioned by the President of the Republic, Dr. Carlos Lleras Restrepo, his Minister of Government ORIGIN OF NAME Sucre took its name in honor of Mariscal Sucre alluding to the words of Bolívar upon learning of his death, (they killed my heart).This expression was taken by the pioneers of this Department as symbolic as being situated between the Department of Córdoba and Bolívar which he was born.

Geography Physical Description:

Sucre department consists of five sub-regions that are: Subregion Morrosquillo This subregion is the area of ​​tropical dry forest (bs-T), strong human intervention has favored the formation of anthropogenic savanna plains. In the municipality of San Onofre an enclave of (bms-T) tropical dry forest and lots of anthropogenic savannas hilly and mountain is located. Also are located in the coastal littoral mangrove ecosystems and coastal lagoons. The subregion has marked differences in climatic variables; annual rainfall in some cases are less than 900 mm, but can fall over 1,200 mm per year. The average monthly temperature is above 27 ° C. The dry season can last up to five months or more. The average relative humidity is 77%. Due to its condition coastal plain, plain maintains high groundwater levels that preserve the usable condition of pastures and favorable conditions for the maintenance of herd during the dry season. Subregion Sheets The dominant climate in the subregion is characteristic of the area tropical dry forest (bs-T), few relictus secondary vegetation;stubble and large areas of grasslands occur. By the strong human intervention in this environmental system, it is known as anthropogenic savannas, predominantly hilly landscape. Of the five subregions of the Department, is suffering more rigorously the long dry season, leading to the practice of transhumance of cattle and horses to Mojana and San Jorge subregions. The annual average temperature is around 27.5 ° C; Average annual precipitation ranges from 1,200 mm los1.000 and relative humidity averages 80%. In this subregion physiographic factors, soil, wind and degenerative human actions the natural environment (removal of tree cover and soil degradation) produce aridity, predominantly seasonal drought and deciduous trees. Subregion Montes de María Montes de María subregion corresponds to the area of ​​tropical dry forest (bs-T). The action of the trade winds in the dry season influences the regulation of temperature, relative humidity and precipitation. Its characteristic landscape is mountainous. The annual average temperature is 27.5 ° C; precipitation varies from 1,300 mm los1.000 and year; the relative humidity is 77%; the phenomenon of fog is common occurrence in slope forests during the early hours of the morning and evening. The rainfall pattern is bimodal, the short rainy season in the first half, followed by a brief dry period in the months of June and July, in the region known as the “Indian summer Juan”. In the second half of the year as much rainfall occurs. San Jorge subregion The subregion has tropical life zones / bh-T) moist forest, tropical dry forest (bs-T), tropical dry forest (bms-T) and natural savannas. Rainforests corresponds to wetlands (sewers, rivers and marshes), the behavior of the climatic variables closely related to those of the Mojana Subregion. The annual average rainfall is 2,300 mm; the monthly average temperature is 28º C and has 85% relative humidity. The dry tropical forest makes relation to anthropogenic savannas within the boundaries of the municipalities of San Marcos and La Union department of Córdoba. The climatic variables correlate with which dominate the Sheets subregion. Very dry tropical forest represents extensions of land with acid soils, presence of gravel and low fertility. The vegetation thickets American Curatella (Peralejo) and Birsonima crassifolia (shea).Climate behavior approximates the conditions prevailing in the subregion Sheets.However, soil and sparse vegetation cover conditions create unique conditions that allow forming enclaves of tropical dry forest. The natural grasslands are located on flat land extensions not flood the right bank of the St. George River in San Benito Abad sense – San Marcos. Grasslands are usually discovered with the presence of Scheelea magdalenica (Palma de Vino), open woods of Nanche (shea) and Tetracera sp (Martín Moreno). For environmental system mean annual precipitation exceeds 1,300 mm, the monthly average temperature is 28 ° C and the relative humidity is 80%. Subregion Mojana Based on key climatic variables, Mojana is classified into the living area moist tropical forest (bh-T). According to the RAMSAR Convention (1971), most of its territory corresponds to wetlands that are shaped by a complex of creeks, rivers, marshes and zapales, which are part of the buffer zone known as depression Momposina ecosystems, which regulates Avenue Magdalena, Cauca and San Jorge rivers. The annual average rainfall is 2,800 mm; the monthly average temperature is 28 ° C; the average relative humidity is 85% and altitude above sea level does not exceed 30 meters. Land use and soil vocation of agriculture, livestock and forestry purposes: Agricultural: They consist of classes II, III, and IV, comprising 51% of the total area of ​​the Department, represented in 560,546 hectares; of which 60% are located within ecological formations montane dry forest and tropical dry forest that for any tech farm, necessitate irrigation and requires the application of complete fertilizers. The remaining 40% of land with agricultural potential is located south of the Department, on the plains of the rivers San Jorge and Cauca, belonging to the ecological formations tropical moist montane rainforest with higher rainfall, summer or ó¡¡épocas shorter dry, high water table and therefore less irrigation requirements. Livestock: It is composed of classes V and VI soils and amounts to 325,292 acres of pasture. These soils require sound agronomic management practices, proper use of pastures and establishment of preventive measures against erosion caused rainwater, logging, wind and animal trampling. On the territory of the department of Sucre can distinguish four major physiographic units. To the west, the coastal strip, which in the northern sector is gently undulating and flat with several coastal accidents like the Commissioner, Chinchimán, La Salina, Los Muertos, Stone, Rincon, San Bernardo Seca and tips; in the neighboring end Bolívar department coast is covered with mangroves. The second unit comprises the mountains of San Jacinto, which is an extension of the Serrania de San Jerónimo; between Sucre and Bolivar is also known by the name of Montes de María; heights ranging between 200 and 500 meters above sea level; stand Peñalta blades and Campana, Mounds Floral, La Mojana, Pozo Dark, The Eye and The Coco;the third unit, flat and undulating relief is known as the Savannas of Sucre; the fourth is the depression formed by the lower San Jorge and lower Cauca, in the latter region called La Mojana, watered down the drain or arm of the same name is included. All physiographic unit is part of the Momposina depression.

Limits of the municipality:

Bordered on the north and east by the department of Bolivar south with the departments of Bolívar, Antioquia and Cordoba and the west with the department of Córdoba and the Caribbean Sea.

Total length: Extension of Sucre is 10,670 km2, representing an area of 0.9% of the total area of the Republic of Colombia and 8.5% in the Caribbean region. Km2

Extension urban area: 10,280.55 km2

Extension rural area: 70.11 km2

Altitude of the municipal head (meters above sea level): 213 m

Average Temperature: The climate is warm, with average temperatures between 27 ° C and 30 ° C

Reference distance: Sucre department located in the north of the country, in the region of the plain of the Caribbean; located between 10º08’03 “and 08º16’46” N, longitude and 74º32’35 “length.

Maps Access the maps section



THE weather is warm, with average temperatures between 27ºC and 30aC, tempered by northeast trade winds and sea breezes; the relative humidity is around 85% and the rains are distributed during two periods, alternating with dry periods; precipitation increases from east to west; Thus, in the coastal strip may be less than 1,000 mm and the Lower San Jorge and lower Cauca, exceed Their lands are included in the warm thermal floor. For the topographical conditions of the Department, its high water wealth two types of flooding the long gestation generated by Cauca and San Jorge rivers in the municipalities of Guaranda, Majagual, Sucre, San Marcos, and San Benito Abad Caimito and all are presented the wetland complex of San Jorge. Or sudden flash floods are caused by the overflow of big rivers like: The Arroyo Grande, Arroyo Pichilín, Mancomoján, The Pintao among others according to the statistics. According to the classification of threats risk identification Department minor flooding of small run-succeeded by torrential downpours in the Municipalities of Sincelejo, Sampués, Corozal, Morroa, San Pedro, Sincé, Toluviejo and sheep are also presented.



The main economic activities of the department of Sucre revolves around livestock, agriculture, commerce and other services. For the excellent quality of its cattle high selection, Sincelejo has been called the “Capital Cebuísta of Colombia”; has a magnificent breed, raise and fatten animals excellent conditions for consumption in regional markets and dairy on a smaller scale. Globally, tourism is one of the most important and dynamic economic sectors, because through it sources of employment, foreign exchange earnings are generated and widely contributes to regional development. The Colombian Caribbean region has been considered quintessential tourist hotspot, given the variety of attractions, resources and track record. The department of Sucre has not reached the desired levels comparable competitive with other cities in the Caribbean region and the country, but has great potential that has not been exploited in their diversity (cultural, religious, adventure, hiking, ecotourism, agrotourism, ethno, contemporary achievements and scheduled events) and that has always focused exclusively on tourism of sun and sand; what could well generate the composition of micro cluster. The deficiency in utility infrastructure does not allow providing an adequate supply of tourist services, which generates inequality and lack of competitiveness with other locations with similar to ours. Admittedly the strength of having the Culinary School of Tourism and SENA in the Gulf of Morrosquillo, which has allowed the formation of human talent to benefit the sector. In order to make tourism department of Sucre, a profitable activity, it is necessary to promote the sector considering the ways in which (acuaturismo, ecotourism, agrotourism, ectnoturismo, craft centers, seas, rivers, streams are counted , streams, swamps, caves, vegetation and fauna) that characterize the territory of our Department. In this sense it is necessary to build, based on the comparative advantages of the Department, the creation of tourist and craft routes, allowing service chaining (micro cluster). For tourist offering high quality products. The department of Sucre is characterized as one of the leading producers of handicrafts in the country, especially the subsectors of the arrow shaft, hammocks, baskets in palm iraca, products made from gourds, wood items, which allow them to socially integrated community, to achieve welfare and improvement of their living conditions, in the case of the arrow sugarcane fiber with which the famous vueltiao hat, heritage and today’s Zenú national symbol, along with such fiber is manufactured are made other utilitarian items such as belts, handbags, footwear, individual, carpet, cushions, bracelets, among others; Sampués being the municipalities of San Antonio de Palmito and Sincelejo main producers. On the other hand, cotton yarn fabrics for the manufacture of the famous hammocks and other utilitarian items like, tablecloths, bedspreads, individual, belts, handbags, footwear, among others, which are produced in the municipalities of Morroa, Corozal (Don Alonso) Sampués (Santa Inés de Palito and San Luis). Basketry in iraca palm and banana know is characterized by the quality of its products, allowing its position at regional and national level, with the municipalities of Colosó and Sincelejo its biggest producers. As for the production of handicrafts in totumo, highlights the municipalities of Galeras, Los Palmitos and wood Sincelejo, Sampués, Tolu, San Pedro and San Onofre. It is worth noting the support provided by Colombia Crafts for structuring productive mini hammock and arrow cane, support and advice he has given to the sector in the Department. Despite the achievements, the sector is fragile mainly due to difficulties in marketing the products, which often are exploited by middlemen. In the case of productive stereo arrow cane, one of the weakest links is the supply of raw material, like the hammock, whose price and timely delivery on orders dependent on a single supplier which generates disorders production.


Communication channels:


The department of Sucre has 8 airfields, three Aereocivil property, one of the ARC -Ministry Defense and the rest belonging to companies and private companies.Aerodrome belonging to the Aerocivil are located in the municipalities of Corozal (The Witches), San Marcos and Tolu, being the largest influx of passengers, corozal. The airfield Las Brujas, from February 28, 2008 was concessioned. These airfields are deficient in the following respects: unsuitable for landing large aircraft passenger and cargo, lack of cargo terminal to streamline the national and international trade and lack of logistics to provide better service tracks integrated users.


The road network consists of primary, secondary and tertiary network, which has a length of 1,832 kms, distributed by subregion, as follows: -. Vial Distribution by Primary Order: 227.2 High: 531.8 Tertiary: 1.073.1 – Status Red Road Pavement 250.8 836.2 Kms Kms Earth Affirmed 745.1 kms. Most of the road network in the department of Sucre is unpaved and earth with 86.3% and only 13.7% are in pavement (rigid and flexible). – Road Department and its distribution status subregions The highest concentration of kilometers of roads that have subregions: Sheets (33.78%), San Jorge (21.79%) and Morrosquillo (19.63%), since most of the network primary and secondary road is located in these subregions, finding fewer kilometers of track the Mojana (9.1%) and Montes de Maria (15.66%) subregions, which explains the social and economic backwardness in these subregions.


For seven or eight months of the year passenger and cargo subregions of San Jorge and La Mojana is mainly by waterways through the Cauca and San Jorge rivers and numerous streams and marshes, since in season carreteables winter roads are inaccessible. The department has a length of 13 kilometers on the Cauca River, between the municipalities of Achi and Guaranda. The San Jorge River flows into the Brazo de Loba (Magdalena River) in Bolivar and Sucre Department comes about after the first 25 kilometers long and crosses the municipalities of Caimito and San Marcos, among others. Maritime transport is carried out through the Gulf of Morrosquillo where there is consists of two port companies, one called Port Society Morrosquillo Gulf through which cement and clinker exports and the other Central Port Authority SA pipeline infrastructure, Ocensa, where crude oil is exported. Then there are the springs of Mobil by which they receive from Cartagena refineries, gasoline and diesel to distribute in the departments of Córdoba and Sucre, and the old pier Esso Colombiana Ltda., Whose concession has requested Ocensa. There is also the Fishing Pier Empresa Colombiana de Tolu, Pestolú, which sells fish products.

Coat of Government of Sucre

The Shield Sucre Department has two rectangles; one upper and one lower. The top leads left half body of a zebu beef, Sincelejo being considered at that time, cebuista capital of Colombia, and right horn of plenty, citing the wealth of the Sucre fields.

The bottom rectangle represents the seas that wash the shores of the department (According to Decree 376 of July 2, 1974).

Flag Government of Sucre

Sucre Flag consists of two bands of equal size; green on top, symbolizing prosperity and one white on the bottom, symbol of peace (According to Decree 376 of July 2, 1974).


Top 20 Job Interview Questions and Best Answers

Many of the questions that employers ask at job interviews will be standard interview questions. If you interview frequently, these questions will grow quite familiar. Since it’s so likely that these questions will come up, it’s important to be prepared to respond to them.

You don’t need to memorize an answer, but do review these common interview questions so you know what you’ll be asked and have an idea of how you will respond. This advance preparation will help you feel more confident and less on the spot during the interview.

Top 20 Interview Questions

  1. What were your responsibilities? – Best Answers
  2. What did you like or dislike about your previous job? – Best Answers
  3. What were your starting and final levels of compensation? – Best Answers
  4. What major challenges and problems did you face? How did you handle them? – Best Answers
  5. What is your greatest strength? – Best Answers
  6. What is your greatest weakness? – Best Answers
  7. How do you handle stress and pressure? – Best Answers
  8. Describe a difficult work situation / project and how you overcame it. – Best Answers
  9. What was the biggest accomplishment / failure in this position? – Best Answers
  10. How do you evaluate success? – Best Answers
  11. Why are you leaving or have left your job? – Best Answers
  12. Why do you want this job? – Best Answers
  13. Why should we hire you? – Best Answers
  14. What are your goals for the future? – Best Answers
  15. What are your salary requirements? – Best Answers
  16. Tell me about yourself. – Best Answers
  17. Who was your best boss and who was the worst? – Best Answers
  18. What are you passionate about? – Best Answers
  19. Questions about your supervisors and co-workers. – Best Answers
  20. Questions about your career goals. – Best Answers

United States Navy SEALs

The United States Navy‘s Sea, Air, Land Teams, commonly known as the Navy SEALs, are the U.S. Navy’s principal special operations force and a part of the Naval Special Warfare Command and United States Special Operations Command.[3] The SEALs duty is to conduct small-unit maritime military operations which originate from, and return to a river, ocean, swamp, delta or coastline. SEALs can negotiate shallow water areas such as the Persian Gulf coastline, where large ships and submarines are limited due to depth.[4]

“SEAL” is always capitalized in reference to members of the Naval Special Warfare community. The Navy SEALs are trained to operate in all environments (Sea, Air, and Land) for which they are named. SEALs are also prepared to operate in climate extremes of scorching desert, freezing Arctic, and humid jungle. The SEALs current pursuit of elusive, dangerous and high-priority terrorist targets has them operating in remote, mountainous regions of Afghanistan, and in cities torn by factional violence. Historically the SEALs have always had “one foot in the water.” The reality, however, today is that they initiate lethal direct action strikes equally well from air and land.[4]

All SEALs are male members of the United States Navy.[4][5][6][7] The CIA‘s highly secretive Special Activities Division (SAD) and more specifically its elite Special Operations Group (SOG) recruits operators from the SEAL Teams.[8] Joint Navy SEALs and CIA operations go back to the famed MACV-SOG during the Vietnam War.[9]This cooperation still exists today and is seen in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.[10][11] Due to their reputation as one of the world’s premier special operations forces, SEAL operators routinely serve in allied SOF’s including the British Special Air Service, Special Boat Service and Polish GROM.[12


The modern day U.S. Navy SEALs can trace their roots to World War II.[4] The United States Navy recognized the need for the covert reconnaissance of landing beaches and coastal defenses. As a result, the Amphibious Scout and Raider School was established in 1942 at Fort Pierce, Florida.[7] The Scouts and Raiders were formed in September of that year, just nine months after the attack on Pearl Harbor, from the Observer Group, a joint U.S. Army-Marine-Navy unit

Scouts & Raiders

Recognizing the need for a beach reconnaissance force, a select group of Army and Navy personnel assembled at Amphibious Training Base, Little Creek, on August 15, 1942 to begin Amphibious Scouts and Raiders (joint) training. The Scouts and Raiders mission was to identify and reconnoiter the objective beach, maintain a position on the designated beach prior to a landing, and guide the assault waves to the landing beach.[4]

The first group included Phil H. Bucklew, the “Father of Naval Special Warfare,” after whom the Naval Special Warfare Center building is named. Commissioned in October 1942, this group saw combat in November 1942 during Operation torch on the North African coast. Scouts and Raiders also supported landings in Sicily,Salerno, Anzio, Normandy, and southern France.[15]

A second group of Scouts and Raiders, code-named Special Service Unit No. 1, was established on 7 July 1943, as a joint and combined operations force. The first mission, in September 1943, was at Finschafen on New Guinea. Later operations were at Gasmata, Arawe, Cape Gloucester, and the East and South coast of New Britain, all without any loss of personnel. Conflicts arose over operational matters, and all non-Navy personnel were reassigned. The unit, renamed 7th Amphibious Scouts, received a new mission, to go ashore with the assault boats, buoy channels, erect markers for the incoming craft, handle casualties, take offshore soundings, clear beach obstacles and maintain voice communications linking the troops ashore, incoming boats and nearby ships. The 7th Amphibious Scouts conducted operations in the Pacific for the duration of the conflict, participating in more than 40 landings.[4]

The third and final Scouts and Raiders organization operated in China. Scouts and Raiders were deployed to fight with the Sino-American Cooperative Organization, or SACO. To help bolster the work of SACO, Admiral Ernest J. King ordered that 120 officers and 900 men be trained for “Amphibious Raider” at the Scout and Raider school at Fort Pierce, Florida. They formed the core of what was envisioned as a “guerrilla amphibious organization of Americans and Chinese operating from coastal waters, lakes and rivers employing small steamboats and sampans.” While most Amphibious Raider forces remained at Camp Knox in Calcutta, three of the groups saw active service. They conducted a survey of the upper Yangtze River in the spring of 1945 and, disguised as coolies, conducted a detailed three-month survey of the Chinese coast from Shanghai to Kitchioh Wan, near Hong Kong.[4]

OSS Operational Swimmers

Some of the earliest World War II predecessors of the SEALs were the Operational Swimmers of the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS.[11] Many current SEAL missions were first assigned to them. OSS specialized in special operations, dropping operatives behind enemy lines to engage in organized guerrilla warfare as well as to gather information on such things as enemy resources and troop movements.[16] British Combined Operations veteran LCDR Wooley, of the Royal Navy, was placed in charge of the OSS Maritime Unit in June 1943. Their training started in November 1943 at Camp Pendleton, California, moved to Santa Catalina Island, California in January 1944, and finally moved to the warmer waters of The Bahamas in March 1944. Within the U.S. military, they pioneered flexible swimfins anddiving masks, closed-circuit diving equipment (under the direction of Dr. Christian J. Lambertsen),[16][17] the use of Swimmer Delivery Vehicles (a type of submersible), and combat swimming and limpet mine attacks.[11] In May 1944, Colonel “Wild Bill” Donovan, the head of the OSS, divided the unit into groups. He loaned Group 1, under Lieutenant Choate, to Admiral Nimitz, as a way to introduce the OSS into the Pacific theater. They became part of UDT-10 in July 1944. Five OSS men participated in the very first UDT submarine operation with the USS Burrfish in the Caroline Islands in August 1944.

Underwater Demolition Teams

UDT members using the casting technique from a speeding boat

On 23 November 1943, the U.S. Marine landing on Tarawa Atoll emphasized the need for hydrographic reconnaissance and underwater demolition of obstacles prior to any amphibious landing. The islands in this area have unpredictable tide changes and shallow reefs preventing the naval transport vessels from progressing. The first wave crossed the reef in Amtracs, but the second in Higgins boats were not as successful. They got stuck on a reef due to low tide. The Marines were forced to unload and wade to shore. This proved to be a daunting task and many Marines were killed or drowned before reaching the beach. Without support from the second wave the Marines in Amtracs were slaughtered on the beach. This was a valuable lesson that the Navy did not want to be repeated. After the Tarawa landing, Rear Admiral Richmond K. Turner directed the formation of nine Underwater Demolition Teams. Thirty officers and 150 enlisted men were moved to the WaimānaloAmphibious Training Base to form the nucleus of a demolition training program. This group became Underwater Demolition Teams (UDT) ONE and TWO.[4]

The UDTs saw their first combat on 31 January 1944, during Operation Flintlock in the Marshall Islands. Flintlock became the real catalyst for the UDT training program in the Pacific Theater. In February 1944, the Naval Combat Demolition Training and Experimental Base was established at Kīhei, Maui, next to the Amphibious Base at Kamaole. Eventually, 34 UDT teams were established. Wearing swim suits, fins, and dive masks on combat operations, these “Naked Warriors” saw action across the Pacific in every major amphibious landing including: Eniwetok, Saipan, Guam, Tinian, Angaur, Ulithi, Peleliu, Leyte, Lingayen Gulf, Zambales, Iwo Jima, Okinawa, Labuan, Brunei Bay, and on 4 July 1945 at Balikpapan on Borneo, which was the last UDT demolition operation of the war. The rapid demobilization at the conclusion of the war reduced the number of active duty UDTs to two on each coast with a complement of seven officers and 45 enlisted men each.[7]

Pearl Harbor: Home Of The Seal Delivery Vehicle

Home of the Navy’s only SEAL Delivery Vehicle Team. The command conducts underwater delivery and insertion of SEALs using flooded mini-submarines.


Coronado, CA
Quarterdeck: (619) 437-2848
Public Affairs Office: (619) 522-2825

Component Commands:

Coronado, CA – Quarterdeck: (619) 437-3557
Logistics & Support Unit
Coronado, CA – Quarterdeck: (619) 665-4577

Sir Tom Jones


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Sir Thomas Jones Woodward,[1] OBE (born 7 June 1940), known by his stage name Tom Jones, is a Welsh singer. He became one of the most popular vocalists to emerge from the mid-1960s. Since then he has sung nearly every form of popular music – pop, rock, R&B, show tunes, country, dance, soul and gospel – and sold over 100 million records.

Jones has had thirty-six Top 40 hits in the United Kingdom and nineteen in the United States; some of his notable songs include “It’s Not Unusual“, “What’s New Pussycat“, “Delilah“, “Green, Green Grass of Home“, “She’s a Lady“, “Kiss” and “Sex Bomb“.[2][3]

Having been awarded an OBE in 1999, Jones received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II for “services to music” in 2006. Jones has received numerous other awards throughout his career, including the Grammy Award for Best New Artist in 1966, an MTV Video Music Award in 1989 and two Brit Awards – winning Best British Male, in 2000, and Outstanding Contribution to Music, in 2003.


Early life

Tom Jones was born Thomas Jones Woodward, at 57 Kingsland Terrace, Treforest, Pontypridd in Glamorgan, South Wales.[4][5][6] His parents were Thomas Woodward (died 5 October 1981), a coal miner, and Freda Jones (died 7 February 2003).[7] His paternal grandfather, James Woodward, was an ironmonger’s haulier from Gloucestershire, and his paternal grandmother was from Wiltshire. His maternal grandfather was Welsh, and his maternal grandmother, Ada Jones, was born in Pontypridd, to parents from Somerset and Wiltshire.[8]

Jones began singing at an early age: he would regularly sing at family gatherings, weddings and in his school choir. Jones did not like school or sports but gained confidence through his singing talent.[9] At 12 he was diagnosed with tuberculosis. Many years later he said: “I spent two years in bed recovering. It was the worst time of my life.” During convalescence he could do little else but listen to music and draw.[10]

Jones’ bluesy singing style developed out of the sound of American soul music. His early influences included blues and R&B singers Little Richard, Solomon Burke,Jackie Wilson and Brook Benton, as well as Elvis Presley, whom Jones idolised and with whom he would later become good friends.[11]

In March 1957 Jones married his high school girlfriend, Melinda Trenchard when they were expecting a child together, both aged 16. The couple’s son, Mark, was born in the month following their wedding. To support his young family Jones took a job working in a glove factory and was later employed in construction.[12]


Rise to fame

Jones, whose voice has been described as a “full-throated, robust baritone“,[13] became the frontman for Tommy Scott and the Senators, a Welsh beat group, in 1963. They soon gained a local following and reputation in South Wales. In 1964 the group recorded several solo tracks with producer Joe Meek, who took them to various labels, but they had little success. Later that year Decca producer Peter Sullivan saw Tommy Scott and the Senators performing in a club and directed them to manager Phil Solomon, but the partnership was short-lived.

The group continued to play gigs at dance halls and working men’s clubs in South Wales and one night, at the Top Hat in Cwmtillery, Wales, Jones was spotted byGordon Mills, a London-based manager who originally hailed from South Wales himself. Mills became Jones’ manager and took the young singer to London, and also renamed him Tom Jones,[14] to exploit the popularity of the Academy Award winning 1963 film.[15]

Eventually Mills got Jones a recording contract with Decca. His first single, “Chills and Fever”, was released in late 1964. It did not chart, but the follow-up, “It’s Not Unusual” became an international hit after offshore pirate radio station Radio Caroline promoted it. The following year would be the most prominent of Jones’s career, making him one of the most popular vocalists of the British Invasion. In early 1965 “It’s Not Unusual” reached number one in the United Kingdom and the top ten in the United States. During 1965 Mills secured a number of film themes for Jones to record including the themes for the film What’s New Pussycat? (written byBurt Bacharach and Hal David) and for the James Bond film Thunderball.[16] Jones was also awarded the Grammy Award for Best New Artist for 1966.[17] In Hollywood, Jones met Elvis Presley for the first time who he recalls singing his song as he walked towards him on set.

In 1966 Jones’ popularity began to slip somewhat, causing Mills to reshape the singer’s image into that of a crooner. Jones also began to sing material that appealed to a wider audience such as the big country hit “Green, Green Grass of Home“. The strategy worked and Jones returned to the top of the charts in the United Kingdom and began hitting the Top 40 again in the United States. For the remainder of the decade he scored a string of hits on both sides of the Atlantic.[12][18][19]

Las Vegas

In 1967 Jones performed in Las Vegas for the first time, at the Flamingo.[16] His performances and style of dress (increasingly featuring his open, half-unbuttoned shirts and tight trousers) became part of his stage act. He soon chose to record less, instead concentrating on his lucrative club performances. At Caesars Palacehis shows were a knicker-hurling frenzy of sexually charged adulation and good-time entertainment. Women started throwing hotel room keys onto the stage. Jones and his idol Elvis Presley met in 1965 at the Paramount film stage, when Elvis was filming Paradise, Hawaiian Style.[16] They became good friends, spending more and more time together in Las Vegas and duetting until the early hours at Presley’s private Las Vegas suite. The friendship endured until Presley’s death in 1977.[16]Jones’ guitarist between 1969 and 1974 was Big Jim Sullivan, who also met and formed a friendship with Presley.

Jones played at least one week in Las Vegas every year until 2011.


Great White Sharks breach to hunt — with split-second timing they grab their prey in one swift snatch. Follow the whole breaching action in this slideshow.

Sharks are much older than dinosaurs. Their ancestry dates back more than 400 million years, and they are one of evolution’s greatest success stories. These animals are uniquely adapted to their ocean environment with six highly refined senses of smell, hearing, touch, taste, sight, and even electromagnetism. As the top predators in the ocean, great white sharks (Carcharodon carcharias) face only one real threat to their survival: us. The assaults are many. By-catch: the accidental killing of sharks by fishermen’s longlines and trawlers. Illegal poaching: selling shark fins for soup. Illegal hunting: sportsfishing for shark jaws as trophies.Nets: placed along coastlines to keep sharks away from beaches. Pollution: toxins and heavy metals that build up in the shark’s body. In some areas great white populations have plummeted by over 70%. If not stopped, it could lead to the extinction of this ancient species.

For more about all shark species go to our shark overview.


Human Connections

Great white sharks have many more reasons to fear people than people have to fear them. Thousands of sharks are killed every year especially for shark fin soup.

Ebola virus disease

The Ebola virus has now claimed nearly 4,000 lives during the current epidemic in West Africa, the largest outbreak since the virus was discovered nearly 40 years ago.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 8,000 people have been infected during the outbreak.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a serious infectious illness which often proves fatal. Different strains kill between 50% and 90% of those infected.

The disease is caused by the Ebola virus, which is thought to have originated in fruit bats.

Ebola was first detected in 1976 in an outbreak near the Ebola River in what is now the Democratic Republic of Congo.

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How is the disease caught and spread?

Girls look at a Unicef poster on how to prevent the spread of EbolaGirls look at a Unicef poster on how to prevent the spread of Ebola

People are infected when they have direct contact through broken skin, or the mouth and nose, with the blood, vomit, faeces or bodily fluids of someone with Ebola.

The virus can be present in urine and semen too.

Infection may also occur through direct contact with contaminated bedding, clothing and surfaces – but only through broken skin.

The disease is not airborne, like flu. Very close direct contact with an infected person is required for the virus to be passed to another person.

It can take up anything from two to 21 days for humans with the virus to show symptoms.

People are not infectious until the symptoms develop.

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What are the symptoms?

Ebola virusesThe Ebola virus causes a range of painful and debilitating symptoms

The early symptoms are a sudden fever, muscle pain, fatigue, headache and sore throat.

This is followed by vomiting, diarrhoea, a rash and bleeding – both internal and external – which can be seen in the gums, eyes, nose and in the stools.

Patients tend to die from multiple organ failure or dehydration.

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How is it treated?

A vaccine trial in the USEbola vaccines are being tested on humans in trials in the US and the UK

There is no proven cure for Ebola.

Severely ill patients need to be rehydrated quickly using intravenous fluids. They should be isolated from other people and given intensive care by medical experts.

Potential vaccines are being tested. If the trials are successful they would be used to protect healthcare workers first.

Experimental drugs such as ZMapp have also been used, but they have not saved all patients.

Blood transfusions from survivors are also being tried as a potential therapy.

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Who is at risk?

Doctors wearing personal protective equipment outside an Ebola treatment unit in NigeriaDoctors wearing protective equipment outside an Ebola treatment unit in Nigeria

Anyone in close contact with patients with Ebola is at risk.

Healthcare workers treating patients, including doctors and nurses, are using protective clothing such as full-body suits and goggles, but hundreds have still died. They are at high risk.

Family members of patients are also at risk. In West African funerals, it is traditional for mourners to have direct contact with the body of the dead person, washing and embracing them before burial.

But the Ebola virus is still dangerous and present in the body after death. Prompt and safe burials are now being urged.

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Where is Ebola a problem?

A woman A woman suspected of having Ebola virus cries outside a hospital in Sierra Leone.

Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone in West Africa are the countries worst affected by this outbreak, which came to light in March 2014.

There have also been a small number of cases in Nigeria and Senegal, and one imported case in the US. There is also a confirmed case of Ebola in Spain.

All are linked to the current outbreak.

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Why is this outbreak particularly bad?

A health worker is decontaminated at a treatment centre Health workers have been brought into affected countries to help treat patients with Ebola

The virus has taken hold in major urban areas this time as opposed to remote, rural areas. In towns and cities which are heavily populated, people move around more and the disease is more easily spread.

Although the early cases were in Guinea, the virus quickly spread across borders to neighbouring Sierra Leone and Liberia, making the disease more difficult to contain.

The countries most severely affected by the disease in West Africa also have weak health systems. They are short of qualified doctors and nurses, and lack the appropriate equipment and resources to combat the virus, unlike in the UK.

As a result, this is the largest and most complex Ebola outbreak since the virus was discovered.

There have been more cases and deaths in this one than all other outbreaks combined.

The 9 Biggest Myths About ISIS

Myth #1: ISIS is crazy and irrational

If you want to understand the Islamic State, better known as ISIS, the first thing you have to know about them is that they are not crazy. Murderous adherents to a violent medieval ideology, sure. But not insane.

Look at the history of ISIS’s rise in Iraq and Syria. From the mid-2000s through today, ISIS and its predecessor group, al-Qaeda in Iraq, have had one clear goal: to establish a caliphate governed by an extremist interpretation of Islamic law. ISIS developed strategies for accomplishing that goal — for instance, exploiting popular discontent among non-extremist Sunni Iraqis with their Shia-dominated government. Its tactics have evolved over the course of time in response to military defeats (as in 2008 in Iraq) and new opportunities (the Syrian civil war). As Yale political scientist Stathis Kalyvasexplains, in pure strategic terms, ISIS is acting similarly to revolutionary militant groups around the world — not in an especially crazy or uniquely “Islamist” way.

bbc ISIS map june

ISIS controlled territory in June. BBC

The point is that, while individual members of ISIS show every indication of espousing a crazed ideology and committing psychopathically violent acts, in the aggregate ISIS acts as a rational strategic enterprise. Their violence is, in broad terms, not random — it is targeted to weaken their enemies and strengthen ISIS’ hold on territory, in part by terrorizing the people it wishes to rule over.

Understanding that ISIS is at least on some level rational is necessary to make any sense of the group’s behavior. If all ISIS wanted to was kill infidels, why would they ally themselves with ex-Saddam Sunni secularist militias? If ISIS were totally crazy, how could they build a self-sustaining revenue stream from oil and organized crime rackets? If ISIS only cared about forcing people to obey Islamic law, why would they have sponsored children’s festivals and medical clinics in the Syrian territory they control? (To be clear, it is not out of their love for children, whom they are also happy to murder, but a calculated desire to establish control.)

This isn’t to minimize ISIS’ barbarity. They’ve launched genocidal campaigns against Iraq’s Yazidis and Christians. They’ve slaughtered thousands of innocents, Shia and Sunni alike. But they pursue these horrible ends deliberately and strategically. And that’s what really makes them scary.

Myth #2: People support ISIS because they like its radical form of Islam

You have probably heard that ISIS has a degree of popular support among some Iraqi and Syrian Sunni Muslims. That’s true: without it, the group would collapse. People sometimes assume that this says something about Islam itself: that the religion is intrinsically violent, or that Sunnis would support the group because they accept ISIS’s radical interpretation of the Koran.

That’s all wrong, and misses one of the most crucial points about ISIS: the foundation of its power comes from politics, not religion.

Let’s be clear: virtually all Muslims reject ISIS’ view of their faith. Poll after poll showsthat violent Islamist extremism and especially al-Qaeda are deeply unpopular in Muslim-majority countries. The bulk of ISIS’ victims are Muslims — many of them Sunnis (ISIS is itself Sunni). A popular revolt among Iraqi Sunnis, beginning around 2006, played a huge role in defeating ISIS’s predecessor group, al-Qaeda in Iraq. That revolt was inspired, at least in part, by anger at ISIS’s attempt to impose its vision of Islam on Muslims who disagree.

iraqi aid recipients displaced ISIS

Iraqis displaced by ISIS collect Red Cross aid. Haidar Hamdani/AFP/Getty Images

ISIS’s vision of Muslim life is pretty alien to actual Islamic tradition. Fundamentalist Islam — like most religious fundamentalisms — is a modern phenomenon. Fundamentalist groups, frustrated with modern politics, harken back to an idealized Islamic past that never actually existed. The al-Qaeda strain of violent radicalism owes more to 20th century writers like Egyptian Muslim Brother Sayyid Qutb than the actual post-Muhammed caliphate.

So if Sunnis disagree with ISIS’ theology and don’t like living under its rule, why do some of them seem to support ISIS? It’s all about politics. Both Syria and Iraq have Shia governments. Sunni Muslims aren’t well-represented in either system, and are often actively repressed. Legitimate dissent is often met with violence: Bashar al-Assad gunned down protesters in the streets during the 2011 Arab Spring demonstrations, and Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki reacted violently a 2013 Sunni protest movement as well.

So Sunnis understandably feel oppressed and out of options. Some, then, seem to be willing to wait and see if life under their fellow Sunnis in ISIS is any worse than it was before. ISIS, for its part, appears to be attempting to exploit this concern: that’s why it’s set up community, child-care, and medical services in some of the Sunni communities it controls.

That doesn’t mean ISIS is morally better than Assad or Maliki: they group is still hyper-violent and genocidal. It’s just that outreach to Sunnis is part of their politico-military strategy.

Myth #3: ISIS is part of al-Qaeda

The key thing to understand about ISIS and al-Qaeda is that they are competitors, not allies, and certainly not part of the same larger group.

ISIS used to be al-Qaeda in Iraq. But the group split apart from al-Qaeda in February 2014 because it wouldn’t listen to al-Qaeda HQ’s commands, including orders to curtail its violence against civilians. (That’s right: it was too violent for al-Qaeda.) This ISIS-AQ divorce is a key reason why ISIS is so unremittingly violent, yet many people still lump the two groups together.

For years, al-Qaeda was the clear leader of the global jihadist movement. The loose network of militant groups, internet forums, and “lone wolf” individuals saw al-Qaeda as the gold standard — and many pledged allegiance to it or established some kind of junior-partner working relationship.

iraqi jihadis

Unidentified Iraqi militants. STR/AFP/Getty Images

When ISIS broke off, it upended everything. By taking a chunk of territory the size of Belgium in the heart of the Arab world, ISIS had come much closer to the end-goal of an Islamic caliphate than al-Qaeda ever did. All of a sudden, it didn’t seem so clear that Islamist groups around the world should pledge themselves to al-Qaeda. ISIS fought openly with Jabhat al-Nusra, which is al-Qaeda’s Syria branch — and outperformed it on the battlefield. Today, ISIS controls far more territory in Syria than Jabhat.

This ideological competition drives ISIS to be more violent. “They’re in competition with al-Qaeda, and they want to be the leader,” JM Berger, the editor of Intelwire and an expert on violent extremism, said. According to Berger, one way they do that is by broadcasting images of their military prowess worldwide. In the sick, screwed up world of Islamic extremism, images of massacres are a show of strength.

When ISIS executed American journalist James Foley and put the video on YouTube, or when it declared its intention to wipe out Iraq’s Christians and Yazidis, it’s not doing it just because they can, although among individual militants indulging a sick desire is certainly part of it. At a broader level, this part of ISIS’s plan to beat al-Qaeda and spread the ISIS brand globally.

The worst part: There’s some evidence this plan is working. Even before ISIS’s rapid advance in June, ISIS was wresting groups in Tunisia and Libya away from al-Qaeda’s allegiance to their own. There have been ISIS-linked suicide bombings as far afield as Malyasia.

Myth #4: ISIS is a Syrian rebel group

It is true that ISIS opposes Bashar al-Assad’s government in Syria, and the two constantly fight one another in Syria. But calling ISIS a “Syrian rebel group” misses two critical facts about ISIS. First, it’s a transnational organization, not rooted in any one country, with lots of fighters who come from outside the country and are motivated by global jihadist aims as well as the Syrian war specifically. Second, Assad and ISIS are not-so-secretly helping each other out in some crucial ways, even as they fight. ISIS and Assad are frenemies, not full-on opponents.

For one thing, ISIS predated the Syrian civil war. It started as al-Qaeda in Iraq in the mid-2000s and, after that group was defeated by Iraqis and American forces around 2008, reformed in the same country. Between 2008 and 2011, ISIS rebuilt itself out of former prisoners and  ex-Saddam era Iraqi army officers. ISIS did not grow out of the Syrian rebellion: it took advantage of it.

Now, it’s true the war in Syria benefitted ISIS tremendously. It allowed ISIS to get battlefield experience, attracted a ton of financial support from Gulf states and private donors looking to oust Assad, and a crucial safe haven in eastern Syria. ISIS also absorbed a lot of recruits from Syrian rebel groups — illustrating, incidentally, why arming the “good” Syrian rebels probably wouldn’t have destroyed ISIS.

Syrian rebel aleppo

A Syrian rebel stands in the street in Aleppo. Ahmed Deeb/AFP/Getty Images

In a weird way, this has all benefitted Assad. The Syrian dictator has vigorously pursued a divide-and-conquer strategy during the war. He’s tried hard to push the sectarian angle of the civil war, making it into a life-or-death struggle for his Alawite (Shia) and Christian supporters against the Sunni majority. ISIS’ extremism has helped convince Alawites that defecting the rebels means the destruction of their homes and communities.

And Assad has also used ISIS to divide his other opponents: the moderate Free Syrian Army, other Islamist groups, and the United States. One way he’s done that is by focusing Syria’s military efforts on the moderate Syrian rebels, leaving ISIS relatively unscathed. By allowing ISIS and other Islamist groups to become stronger at the expensive of other rebels, Assad made it much harder for the US to intervene against him without benefitting the rebels. And ISIS and moderate rebels have begun fighting against one another, further dividing the war in a way that’s beneficial to Assad.

In essence, Assad and ISIS seem to have made an implicit deal: ISIS temporarily gets a relatively free ride in some chunks of Syria, while Assad gets to weaken his other opponents. The two sides still hate each other, but both benefit from the status quo.

Myth #5: ISIS is only strong because of Iraqi Prime Minister Maliki

There’s a theory that Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is solely, or mainly, responsible for ISIS’s resurgence in 2014. It’s true that Maliki’s policies enabled ISIS’s rise. But blaming him alone misses the real drivers of sectarianism in Iraq — and the complicated, multi-faceted sources of support ISIS enjoys.

Maliki did a number of things that unintentionally enabled ISIS’ rise. He used Iraq’s counterterrorism laws to imprison Sunni dissenters. He exploited laws that prohibit Saddam-era officials from holding office (a number of those officials had been Sunni) to boot Sunnis out of the upper echelons of the government and military. He arrested peaceful Sunni protestors, and aligned himself with non-governmental Shia militias that had slaughtered Sunnis during the post-invasion civil war. And that’s only a partial list of Maliki policies that turned Sunnis against the Iraqi central government, and thus toward ISIS.

But it is simply incorrect to assign most of the blame for ISIS’s rise to Maliki. For one thing, Sunni anger at Iraq’s government, a quasi-democracy that empowers the Shia majority, runs much deeper than this one man. “Even if Maliki weren’t in power, there are some Sunni grievances that any Shia government would have problems with,” Kirk Sowell, a risk consultant and full-time Iraq watcher, says.

maliki livier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

Maliki. Olivier Douliery-Pool/Getty Images

To take one example, many Sunnis wrongly believe that they’re the largest demographic group in Iraq. This belief, spread during Saddam’s time to justify Sunni minority rule, leads Sunnis to see any government they don’t head up as fundamentally unjust. Neither Maliki nor his also-Shia successor, current Prime Minister-delegate Haider al-Abadi, can fix that.

More to the point, ISIS isn’t just an Iraqi problem. Its base in Syria today is just as, if not more, important than the land it controls in Iraq. They’ve gotten funding from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Kuwait, and wink-wink-nudge-nudge help from Syria’s Bashar al-Assad.

The really important takeaway here is that Maliki’s political defeat does not mean ISIS will wither away, nor that Baghdad political reforms could solve this problem alone. The Abadi government will need to undertake deep, structural reforms if it wants to address Sunni grievances. The Sunni community will have to reject ISIS and come to terms with the Shia majority. And even if all of that happens, ISIS will still have its base in Syria.

Myth #6: ISIS is afraid of female soldiers

bizarre meme going around claims that ISIS is really afraid of fighting all-female Kurdish military units. The theory is that ISIS fighters believe that if a woman kills you, you don’t get to go to paradise.

The truth is that ISIS’ approach to women is much more complicated — and troubling — than Western stereotypes about Islamists would suggest. ISIS has its own female brigades, and the group uses them to enforce its deeply misogynistic ideology.

The “ISIS is afraid of female fighters” theory comes from a stray quote in a Wall Street Journal piece about Kurdish advances against ISIS. It quotes a female Kurdish soldier as saying “the jihadists don’t like fighting women, because if they’re killed by a female, they think they won’t go to heaven.” Note that it’s not an ISIS fighter, a scholar, or necessarily someone who’s interrogated an ISIS fighter: just a random Kurdish soldier, who may not be super-familiar with ISIS’s ideology.

What we actually know about ISIS’s approach to women, however, paints a rather different picture. ISIS has all-female battalions, called “al-Khansaa” and “Umm al-Rayan,” that operate in Syria. ISIS female fighters wear full burqas and carry rifles; they exist to force other women to comply with ISIS’s vision of sharia law. “ISIS created [them] to terrorize women,” Abu al-Hamza, a local, media activist, said in an interview with Syria Deeply.

ISIS’s use of women is part of a rising trend of jihadist women claiming roles in violent Islamic extremist groups. “There is a process of female emancipation taking place in the jihadi movement, albeit a very limited (and morbid) one,” Thomas Hegghammer, an expert on violent Islamism at the Norwegian Defence Research Establishment, told The Atlantic. “Many of them are eager to portray themselves as strong women and often make fun of the Western stereotype of ‘the oppressed Muslim woman.'”

ISIS is dedicated to oppressing women, and uses rape as a weapon to terrify the population into submission in territory it controls. Somehow, perversely, it has managed to enlist large numbers of women to help in that awful effort.

Myth #7: The US can destroy ISIS

You’ve probably heard it a million times: if only the United States stepped up its bombing campaign in Iraq, launched a combing campaign in Syria, or did more to help moderate Syrian rebels, it could destroy ISIS. The fact that it hasn’t, in this telling, is a damning indictment of President Obama’s feckless foreign policy.

The truth is even more disappointing: There is no magic American bullet that could fix the ISIS problem. Even an intensive, decades-long American ground effort — something that is politically not on the table, anyways — might only make the problem worse. The reason is that ISIS’s presence in Iraq and Syria is fundamentally a political problem, not a military one.

American aircraft are very good at hitting ISIS targets out in the open: on roads or in the desert, for example. That’s why US air support was extremely effective in clearing a path for Kurdish and Iraqi forces to retake the Mosul dam in mid-August.

But American airpower is much less useful in dense urban combat, where it’s also likely to cause unacceptable amounts of civilian casualties. In response to a stepped-up American bombing campaign, ISIS could hunker down in fortified city positions. That would force the Iraqi army and Kurdish forces to engage in bloody street-to-street combat. Historically, the Iraqi army has a bad track record in those fights. It spent a good chunk of early 2014 trying to dislodge ISIS from Fallujah, a city near Baghdad. It failed to permanently push them out, and killed a lot of Sunni civilians in the process.

What if the US also stepped up its campaign in Syria, arming the Syrian rebels and bombing ISIS positions? A pretty comprehensive review of research on arming rebels, by George Washington University’s Marc Lynch, suggests that wouldn’t have helpedeven back at the beginning of the civil war. The “moderate” Syrian rebels are too diffuse, and fighters shift in and out of alliances with ISIS and other radical Islamists.

A US soldier with an Iraqi child in Baghdad, 2008. Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images

A US soldier with an Iraqi child in Baghdad, 2008. Mauricio Lima/AFP/Getty Images

If the US wanted to intervene in Syria against ISIS today, short of a full invasion, it would somehow need to enlist either Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad, who benefits from ISIS’s existence, or the moderate Syrian rebels, who are disorganized and hard-pressed by Assad already, to coordinate a major offensive. That seems improbable, to say the least.

Even if the United States reinvaded Iraq to destroy ISIS — which there is no indication it would do — there’s no guarantee that even this would succeed. The United States did defeat al-Qaeda in Iraq in the late-2000s, but it had lots of Iraqi help. The Bush administration’s 2007 troop surge would have failed if the Sunni population wasn’t already turning against al-Qaeda there.

“I take the somewhat modest position that the action of 6 million Iraqis may be more important than those of 30,000 American troops and one very talented general,” Doug Ollivant, the National Security Adviser for Iraq from 2005 to 2009, told me. Without changing Sunni views of ISIS and the Iraqi government, a stepped-up US ground presence might only further infuriate the Sunni population.

The key structural causes of ISIS’s rise, the multi-sided Syrian war and Iraqi sectarian tension, cannot be solved by American bombs alone. The US can block ISIS’s advances in some places, as it is doing in Iraqi Kurdistan, but eliminating ISIS is outside its power.

Myth #8: ISIS will self-destruct on its own

You occasionally hear, especially from supporters of the Obama administration’s cautious policy, that ISIS will eventually destroy itself. ISIS’s view of Islamic law is so harsh that no population would want to live under it for long, so a Sunni revolt against ISIS is inevitable. And ISIS will overreach: its desire to expand to new territory exceeds its actual military power, meaning that a devastating counterattack is inevitable.

This is certainly possible. But ISIS is not headed in that direction yet. That’s because ISIS is both smarter and stronger than many people give it credit for.

ISIS learned from the defeat of al-Qaeda in Iraq, its predecessor group. Though ISIS still insists on imposing its extremist interpretation of Islamic law in the territory it controls, it also sets up institutions that look a lot like a proto-government. They’ve installed health care clinics, run public forums where ISIS operatives socialize with adults, held activities for children, policed neighborhoods, and collected taxes.

Shia militias Ahmed al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

Shia Iraqi militias. Ahmed al-Rubaye/AFP/Getty Images

The point of this, Washington Institute fellow Aaron Zelin wrote in September 2013, is to “lay the groundwork for a future Islamic state by gradually socializing Syrians to the concept.” According to Zelin, “ISIS has shown that it wants to avoid repeating the mistakes that its predecessors made in Iraq.” Since occupying Mosul in June, Iraq’s second-largest city, ISIS’s behavior has been similar (though not identical).

ISIS, then, is balancing its ideological desire to be brutal against its strategic imperative to maintain the support of local populations. It’s still as evil as it always was — just smarter about it.

To make matters worse, ISIS has never been stronger in military terms. The incorporation of former officers with Saddam-era Iraq, plus years of fighting in Syria, has made ISIS more tactically astute than most of its battlefield opponents. In June, it captured enormous amounts of advanced American weaponry dropped by the retreating Iraqi army. And its ranks have swelled in the wake of all of its victories: one estimate, from the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, claimed that ISIS recruited6,000 fighters in July 2014 alone. That’s obviously a ballpark estimate, but it almost certainly reflects real growth inside ISIS.

The bottom line: ISIS does not appear at all bound to simply fall apart on its own. To defeat the group, Iraqis and Syrians would need to do something done to separate ISIS from its base of support in Iraq and Syria. And ISIS needs to be broken on the battlefield, if only to stop the recruiting drive created by its aura of invincibility.

Myth #9: ISIS is invincible

Reading the news of ISIS’s conquests in Iraq and Syria, and even its recent foray into Lebanon, you might get the sense that ISIS is unstoppable. That it’ll sweep Iraq, and really, truly, establish an extremist Islamic state in Iraq and eastern Syria.

This isn’t true. ISIS is smarter and more effective than it used to be, and it’s too strong to collapse on its own, but it’s still quite vulnerable. The Iraqi government, with Kurdish and American help, really could make major inroads against ISIS.

In June, when ISIS was sweeping Iraq, there were panicked predictions that Baghdad was about to fall to ISIS’s advance. It didn’t. ISIS didn’t even try to take the city, likely because it knew it couldn’t dislodge the huge concentrations of Iraqi troops there — or hold a majority-Shia city that would never accept it.

Iraqi demographics place a natural limit on ISIS’s advance. Even high-end estimates of ISIS’s strength — 50,000 troops — make it much smaller than the Iraqi army or Kurdish peshmerga. It’d be impossible for ISIS to take and hold majority Shia areas, where they’d be totally unable to build popular support. The Islamic State’s borders in Iraq are limited to northern and western, Arab-majority, Sunni-majority Iraq.

That’s a damning problem for ISIS. All of the major oil wells, which provide 95 percent of Iraq’s GDP, are in southern Iraq or Kurdish-held territory in the northeast. ISIS can’t advance on the Shia south, and a joint US-Kurdish campaign is reversing its gains in Kurdistan. ISIS has huge financial reserves for a militant group — maybe up to $1 billion dollars. But that’s a relatively small amount for a government, and any attempt to actually govern northwestern Iraq in the long run would lead to economic disaster.

A guard at a Kurdish oil refinery. Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images

A guard at a Kurdish oil facility. Safin Hamed/AFP/Getty Images

“It’d be a permanent downward economic spiral — like Gaza, basically,” Kirk Sowell, a risk analyst and Iraq expert, says. An ISIS mini-state is just not sustainable.

When you pair the inevitable economic crisis in ISIS-held Iraq with ISIS’s brutal legal system, it seems like Sunnis will eventually tire of the group. That discontent may not be enough on its own to end the group’s rule, especially if it still believes the Iraqi central government would be worse for them. But it creates an opening for Iraqi Prime Minister-delegate Haider al-Abadi to reach out to disaffected Sunnis. He might be able to make allies among Sunni tribal militias.

Meanwhile, ISIS may alienate some its core Iraqi allies: militias who support a Saddam-style Sunni dictatorship. They’re generally secular and no fans of ISIS’s vision of Islamic law, and are only allied with it to fight the government. If ISIS’s Sunni allies turn against it, and the government does a better job making its rule look attractive, ISIS may lose the Sunni population — and most of its gains in northern Iraq. Again, that’s not inevitable, and will require some tough political changes in Baghdad, but the point is that ISIS is far from invincible.

ISIS’s hold in Syria, though, would be much, much harder to dislodge. It’s hard to imagine either Assad or moderate anti-Assad rebels mounting an effective military campaign against ISIS in the near term. But rolling back ISIS in Iraq, and containing it to Syria, would be a major victory, though an incomplete one as it would leave ISIS with a chunk of Syria. Still, this would limit the group’s reach in the Middle East and blunt its global appeal. And when Syria’s civil war finally does end, whenever that happens, eliminating ISIS will be the winning side’s first priority.


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