The BBC reports that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has approved joint military efforts with the US to contain Sunni militants in Iraq. The unconfirmed report comes amid signs of de facto US-Iranian cooperation.
A UK-based professor who tracks radicalization and militant Islamist movements says the brutality and prominence of foreign fighters within the ranks of the Islamic State is a source of contention with other militant groups in Syria.
Lebanese hostages held by Al Qaeda's affiliate in Syria and the so-called Islamic State were threatened with death in a video yesterday unless Lebanon's Hezbollah withdraws its support for Bashar al-Assad.
The debate over the US government refusal to pay ransoms to kidnappers, including the captors of James Foley, has a long history. In the late 1700s, the US fought Barbary pirates who demanded ransoms and tributes.