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.
Kurdish fighters in northern Iraq, thanks to help from US airstrikes, appear to have fought off an assault on Erbil by the jihadis of the Islamic State. The US is moving towards providing the Kurds more than air support.
Erdogan is scoring lightning fast in charity soccer games, reviving fainting women, and dominating the airwaves. Is there anything Turkish prime minister and presidential front-runner Erdogan can't do?
The Iraqi parliament is poised to miss a Friday night constitutional deadline for selecting a new prime minister. Despite tumbling support, Prime Minister Maliki is refusing to give up his bid for another term.