The Evidence of Jihadist Activity in Syria

As the United Nations prepares to expand its observer mission in Syria and the world community debates what that mission should aim to achieve, there is a parallel conversation taking place in the global jihadist community. Reflecting their position in other Arab Spring revolutions, the jihadists are vociferous in their demands that Bashar al-Assad’s regime be overthrown. In contrast to the situation in other Arab Spring revolutions, in Syria jihadists linked to al-Qa`ida seem to have a militarily relevant capability on the ground. Proof of jihadist capability is elusive, but the combined weight of five indicators suggests that there is an active jihadist element operating on the ground in Syria. Its existence should be acknowledged for policy planning purposes.

World leaders set to tackle Afghanistan’s future

World leaders weary of war will tackle Afghanistan’s post-conflict future — from funding for security forces to upcoming elections — when the NATO summit opens Sunday.

President Barack Obama and Afghan President Hamid Karzai will huddle on the sidelines of the summit or an hour-long meeting. Their talks are expected to focus on planning for Afghanistan’s 2014 elections, as well as the prospect of a political settlement with the Taliban, a senior Obama administration official said.

Karzai has said repeatedly he will step down from power when his term ends in 2014, paving the way for new elections. NATO’s scheduled end of the war was built around those plans, with foreign forces staying until the 2014 election but exiting the country by 2015.

Every time, Facebook looked like it would break below the $38 a share initial price, millions of bids showed up. Coincidence?

How Facebook’s bankers saved an IPO, kept shares above $38

Facebook’s IPO was a roaring success — for Facebook. Investors aren’t quite sure what to make of it after Facebook’s underwriters repeatedly stepped in to make sure shares didn’t fall below the $38 mark. 

Pirate Attacks by Shoot-to-Kill Guards Fuel Debate

A video recorded by armed security personnel aboard the Avocet bulk carrier ship shows armed guards opening fire on an approaching skiff that they believe carries pirates. The video, presented at a shipping conference in December and leaked on the Internet last month, has fueled debate within the industry over the ethical use of force at sea. (Video via LiveLeak. Source: Bloomberg)

The KML Factbook is a great tool for creating mapped displays of all manner of demographic, economic, and political data.