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Mosul Rivalries and Pyongyang Assassins: The Week in Global-Affairs Writing

Iraqi Federal police celebrate in West Mosul.

How (Not) To Kill Kim Jong Un
Adam Rawnsley | Foreign Policy
“But long before Pyongyang began lighting off ballistic missiles and churning out nuclear warheads, the Kim dynasty has been facing down assassination threats, both real and imagined. From the days of Japanese colonialism in the 1930s through the turbulent end of communist regimes in the 1990s, many have tried (and failed) to kill a Kim. But despite facing lethal challenges from within and without, the dynasty has always managed to dodge would-be assassins thanks to canny survival skills, some less than fully baked plots, and an elaborate network of bodyguards, secret police, and informants.”

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The Guerrilla Journalists Defying ISIS, One Video at a Time
Issie Lapowsky | WIRED
“[Abdalaziz] Alhamza is the public face of an online news organization called Raqqa is Being Slaughtered Silently, which is comprised of young, mostly anonymous citizen journalists based inside and outside of Syria. Often armed with nothing but their social media accounts, they risk their lives to counter ISIS propaganda with regular dispatches from inside the jihadist group’s capital.”

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A Refugee Family Arrives in Arkansas, Before the Door Shuts
Miriam Jordan | The New York Times
“This month, [Watata Mwenda’s family] [was] again lucky to make a skin-of-their-teeth escape, when an International Organization for Migration vehicle pulled into the camp and transported them to an airport, with one-way tickets to the United States. That made them one of the last refugee families without close relations in the country to be allowed in before President Trump’s moratorium took effect.”

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Life in Bangladesh’s Former Caliphate
Siddharthya Roy | Roads & Kingdoms
“Following the 1971 Liberation War, Bangladesh had more-or-less set course towards becoming a secular, progressive nation. Bagmara was no exception. But that changed in 2004, when the Islamist commander Siddque-ul Islam moved in with his mujahideen, made Bagmara the seat of his Islamic Caliphate, and declared sharia—not the Bangladeshi constitution—as the law of the land.”

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Rivalries Threaten in Post-ISIS Mosul
Matthew Schweitzer | Le Monde Diplomatique
“Troublingly, beyond the emergency humanitarian context, neither Iraqi policymakers nor their international partners have outlined a clear strategy to rebuild Mosul or other liberated areas. Baghdad’s efforts to devise a comprehensive reconstruction plan have thus far been handicapped by ongoing economic crisis and political competition between armed groups inside areas cleared of ISIS. In Mosul, these conditions are fostering waste and a lack of transparency that affects reconstruction work; they are also fueling the growth of non-state providers of essential services to fill the void left by the government post-ISIS. If local and national Iraqi planners cannot overcome financial and political challenges, reconstruction delays could create new grievances and instability among liberated populations.”