It would prove to be the Obama Administration’s high point in confronting jihadism. The President’s legacy on extremism will be mixed. He leaves the White House with the threat both broader and more diverse than when he took office. During his eight years, jihadis gained far more turf, more followers, more arms, and more money. They have had a deadlier impact and a bigger theatre of operations than they had in 2009—even though most of the trends were seeded during the Bush Administration. Obama may never fully recover from his description of the Islamic State, in 2014, to David Remnick, as the ‘jayvee team’ involved in ‘various local power struggles.’”
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The Legend of El Paso’s Transnational Streetcar
Kriston Capps | CityLab
“For nearly a century, the international streetcar ferried workers, shoppers, and commuters between El Paso and Juárez. At the height of its service in the 1960s, the line offered more than 500 trips a day. Before the border was fortified by fences and concertina wire, it was notable as the site of the highest-grossing J.C. Penney department store in the U.S.—in El Paso, where Mexican nationals shopped every day. While it may be hard to believe now—what with the U.S. President-elect Donald Trump and the former Mexican President Vicente Fox squaring off over who exactly will pay for Trump’s impossible border wall—the transnational trolley once unified the conurbation of Paso del Norte.”
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With The Far-Right Rising, Dutch Create Their Own Parties For Immigrants
Lauren Frayer | NPR
“Denk's candidates include a Muslim woman who wears a headscarf, people of Turkish and Moroccan descent and black people like Simons. All of them say they've felt left out of Dutch politics, especially now that the far-right, anti-Muslim leader Geert Wilders is surging in the polls.
‘People of color are not recognized as proper Dutch, and there is where the anger is, from people who are seen as second-class citizens, while they were born here,’ says Sandew Hira, an economist and historian who leads the International Institute for Scientific Research, which studies colonialism and is based in The Hague.”
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Putin and Erdogan’s Marriage of Convenience
Henri J. Barkey | Foreign Policy
“These episodes are emblematic of the changing nature of the Russian-Turkish relationship. Frustrated by the Syrian opposition’s loss of ground against President Bashar al-Assad, and fearing the empowerment of the Syrian Kurds, Erdogan began to tack toward Moscow and away from its Western alliance partners roughly a year after Ankara shot down the Russian warplane. Turkey is now one of the parties in the Syrian cease-fire negotiations, along with Russia and Iran; its equities are the armed Sunni opposition groups that depend on Ankara. By contrast, the United States, Turkey’s traditional ally, was excluded from the negotiations and the pending conference in Astana.