The global coalition getting together to stop ISIS is finding allies in unlikely places, but perhaps no place less likely or more profoundly awesome than this. "No Surrender" is the name of a Dutch motorcycle gang that has decided that only way to dispel outlaw justice is to do it yourself. Reportedly (and seen in tweets like this) members of No Surrender are biking into Syria and Iraq to give the Kurds fighting for their lives a little backup muscle. No Surrender's chief Klaas Otto confirmed to a Dutch TV station that several members have temporarily set up shop in Iraq.
Unlike some biker gangs, No Surrender seems pretty racially inclusive and less prone to fascist sympathies (their Facebook page features a quote from Holocaust survivor Elie Wiesel about the importance of fighting injustice) , which might be why the Dutch government is being so chill about all this. "Joining a foreign armed force was previously punishable, now it's no longer forbidden," public prosecutor spokesman Wim de Bruin told reporters.
Something tells us that No Surrender doesn't really care about the legality of what they're doing one way or the other ... Discuss
The British-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights is reporting that ISIS militants have abducted at least 90 people after raiding an Assyrian Christian village. (Different reports vary on how many dozens were abducted in the raids, but Reuters says it was “at least 90.”) Children are said to be among the group kidnapped. Reports indicate that the raid specifically targeted areas where Christian minorities lived. The region of northeastern Syria is also an important strategic location, and has seen fighting between ISIS militants and the Kurdish military, as well as airstrikes from the U.S. led coalition ... Discuss
On Sunday, ISIS released a video that reportedly depicted the beheading of 21 Christian Egyptian men by masked militants. The video of the kidnapped men—which was believed to have been filmed in Libya—was titled "A Message signed with blood to the nation of the cross." The global security firm Flashpoint told NBC News, "This undeniably means that the group now views Christian populations as not only targets but also part of the bigger 'Crusader plot,' not separate from the US-led coalition or aggressors." The militants made references to wanting to “conquer Rome,” underscoring the religious motivations of the executions.
They referred to their victims as “people of the cross, followers of the hostile Egyptian church," and the clip included a caption addressing the video as a “message signed with blood to the nation of the cross.” Egyptian President Abdel Fattah el-Sissi issued a statement wishing condolences to the families of the victims, calling for a 7-day period of mourning and promising to help evacuate Egyptian citizens from Libya. Over night, the Egyptian military launched a series of airstrikes against ISIS targets in Libya. The country’s Foreign Ministry issued a statement explaining, "Leaving the situation as it is in Libya without a firm intervention to curtail these terrorist organizations would be a threat to international peace and security" ... Discuss
In an effort to boost sales across the U.K., Coca Cola recently issued a report that discussed bold new strategies to get consumers to put down boring beverages like “water” and “tea,” and turn to a refreshing, sugary alternative. Because their research found that a quarter of beverages are consumed before 10 a.m., they are now looking for ways to convince customers that starting their day off with a soda is somehow a good idea. The report asks, "How do we motivate people to make soft drinks, like smoothies, juices and other on-the-go products, part of their morning ritual in the same way as tea or coffee?" (In a follow-up statement, Coke said that they are actually referring to smoothies and juice as breakfast drinks, although that's not exactly how the initial report was worded.) Why not just convince people to exclusively drink Coke as their only source of hydration? What could possibly go wrong? … Discuss