An Iraqi Painter Moved to America for a Better Life and Got Robbed Anyway
It’s not often you see a look of total devastation on someone’s face, but that was the expression Bassim Al-Shaker wore when I met him at a bar in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday night. Escaping threats for his life, the Iraqi-born painter fled to Phoenix in July of last year, eventually obtaining refugee status and becoming a permanent citizen earlier this year.
But Bassim woke up Monday morning to discover the door to his downtown studio smashed. Ten paintings were stolen August 18, as well as a couch and some power tools, from Bassim’s studio on Fourth Street and McKinley. Bassim was using the studio space rent-free before the whole block is to be demolished at the end of the year.

Formerly a barber in Baghdad, Bassim was once blindfolded, spat on, and beaten by loyalists of Iraq’s Mahdi Army militia, who left the painter so battered he spent the next two weeks in the hospital. But what had Bassim done to attract their violence? He had drawn sketches of the Venus de Milo as part of an entrance exam at Baghdad University’s College of Fine Arts.
Yeah, that’s right. Some tasteful nude sketches almost got this guy killed.
Continue

An Iraqi Painter Moved to America for a Better Life and Got Robbed Anyway

It’s not often you see a look of total devastation on someone’s face, but that was the expression Bassim Al-Shaker wore when I met him at a bar in downtown Phoenix on Tuesday night. Escaping threats for his life, the Iraqi-born painter fled to Phoenix in July of last year, eventually obtaining refugee status and becoming a permanent citizen earlier this year.

But Bassim woke up Monday morning to discover the door to his downtown studio smashed. Ten paintings were stolen August 18, as well as a couch and some power tools, from Bassim’s studio on Fourth Street and McKinley. Bassim was using the studio space rent-free before the whole block is to be demolished at the end of the year.

Formerly a barber in Baghdad, Bassim was once blindfolded, spat on, and beaten by loyalists of Iraq’s Mahdi Army militia, who left the painter so battered he spent the next two weeks in the hospital. But what had Bassim done to attract their violence? He had drawn sketches of the Venus de Milo as part of an entrance exam at Baghdad University’s College of Fine Arts.

Yeah, that’s right. Some tasteful nude sketches almost got this guy killed.

Continue

vicenews:

Members of Iraq’s ethnic and religious minorities who sought refuge from the Islamic State in semi-autonomous Iraqi-Kurdistan have been forced to flee once again after recent fighting.

vicenews:

We spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining access to the group in Iraq and Syria.
Watch the full-length version here.

vicenews:

We spent three weeks embedded with the Islamic State, gaining access to the group in Iraq and Syria.

Watch the full-length version here.

vicenews:

"Whether they like it or not, we will enforce Sharia in this land."In the final part of The Islamic State, we journey from Raqqa, Syria to the border with Iraq where fighters are bulldozing the boundary.

vicenews:

"Whether they like it or not, we will enforce Sharia in this land."

In the final part of The Islamic State, we journey from Raqqa, Syria to the border with Iraq where fighters are bulldozing the boundary.

Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Is Already Terrifying
The Iraq War sank Hillary Clinton when she ran for president in 2008. The former first lady and then-US Senator’s refusal to call her vote authorizing the invasion a mistake made her seem just enough like a George W. Bush clone to alienate liberal Democrats and hand some guy named Barack Obama their party’s nomination. But she doesn’t seem to have taken the rejection to heart, and may have actually become even more prone to saber-rattling since.
In a recent interview with the The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the former Secretary of State talked Syria, Israel, Iraq, and the Obama Doctrine—if that’s really what we’re calling it now. In addition to all but admitting she is ready to run for the most powerful office on planet Earth two years from now, Clinton sounded a nostalgic tone for the bellicose American rhetoric of the Cold War, defended Israel’s latest brutal assault on Gaza, and knocked Obama for not meddling in foreign conflicts more often.
“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Clinton said, offering her most aggressive criticism yet of Obama’s famously (some would say toxically) “pragmatic” approach to the world. “You know, we did a good job in containing the Soviet Union, but we made a lot of mistakes, we supported really nasty guys, we did some things that we are not particularly proud of, from Latin America to Southeast Asia, but we did have a kind of overarching framework about what we were trying to do that did lead to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism. That was our objective. We achieved it.”
Continue

Hillary Clinton’s Foreign Policy Is Already Terrifying

The Iraq War sank Hillary Clinton when she ran for president in 2008. The former first lady and then-US Senator’s refusal to call her vote authorizing the invasion a mistake made her seem just enough like a George W. Bush clone to alienate liberal Democrats and hand some guy named Barack Obama their party’s nomination. But she doesn’t seem to have taken the rejection to heart, and may have actually become even more prone to saber-rattling since.

In a recent interview with the The Atlantic’s Jeffrey Goldberg, the former Secretary of State talked Syria, Israel, Iraq, and the Obama Doctrine—if that’s really what we’re calling it now. In addition to all but admitting she is ready to run for the most powerful office on planet Earth two years from now, Clinton sounded a nostalgic tone for the bellicose American rhetoric of the Cold War, defended Israel’s latest brutal assault on Gaza, and knocked Obama for not meddling in foreign conflicts more often.

“Great nations need organizing principles, and ‘Don’t do stupid stuff’ is not an organizing principle,” Clinton said, offering her most aggressive criticism yet of Obama’s famously (some would say toxically) “pragmatic” approach to the world. “You know, we did a good job in containing the Soviet Union, but we made a lot of mistakes, we supported really nasty guys, we did some things that we are not particularly proud of, from Latin America to Southeast Asia, but we did have a kind of overarching framework about what we were trying to do that did lead to the defeat of the Soviet Union and the collapse of Communism. That was our objective. We achieved it.”

Continue

vicenews:

These are the people enforcing Sharia law in the Islamic State.

Part 3 of VICE News’s look inside the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) is here.

vicenews:

These are the people enforcing Sharia law in the Islamic State.

Part 3 of VICE News’s look inside the Islamic State (formerly ISIS) is here.

vicenews:

"What do you want to be, a jihadist or to execute a martyrdom [suicide] operation?"
In part two of The Islamic State, we meet a member from Belgium who works to indoctrinate children into jihad.

vicenews:

"What do you want to be, a jihadist or to execute a martyrdom [suicide] operation?"

In part two of The Islamic State, we meet a member from Belgium who works to indoctrinate children into jihad.

vicenews:

"I swear to God, who is the only God, that Sharia can only be established with weapons."
In part one of The Islamic State, we head to the frontline in Raqqa, where fighters are laying siege to the Syrian Army’s division 17 base.

vicenews:

"I swear to God, who is the only God, that Sharia can only be established with weapons."

In part one of The Islamic State, we head to the frontline in Raqqa, where fighters are laying siege to the Syrian Army’s division 17 base.

motherboardtv:

Our new doc ‘Superpower For Hire’ explores the influence of private military contractor on the future of warfare.

motherboardtv:

Our new doc ‘Superpower For Hire’ explores the influence of private military contractor on the future of warfare.

America’s Veteran Crisis

As politicians in Washington wring their hands over the Veterans Affairs scandal, VICE News travels to Portland, Oregon, to see what it’s all really about. We meet Curtis Shanley, a former Marine Corps machine-gunner, who has spent the past five years wading through red tape to get medical attention for a crippling injury he suffered while serving his country in Iraq.

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