Gaza Cease-Fire Deal Was Prefaced by a New Kind of Destruction

Israel and Hamas have agreed to a long-term cease-fire that will halt 50 days of intense violence. But in the lead-up, Israeli forces rained destruction on Gaza as they leveled a series of high-rise buildings. It is unclear to what extent, if at all, this new tactic of bringing down large buildings contributed to the deal announced Tuesday, Aug. 26.

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Release of American Journalist Shows Qatar Playing Both Sides

"We don't pretend to know everything that happened."

Those are the words of Amy Rosen, a cousin of Peter Theo Curtis, the American journalist who was released from his captivity in Syria over the weekend. Speaking to the New York Times, Rosen said that her family was assured by the government of Qatar, which brokered Curtis's release, that "under no circumstances would a ransom be paid."

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Assad Is America's Strange Bedfellow and the Price Is 190,000 Dead

With its decision to bomb Islamic State militants in Iraq and funnel aid to the fragile Iraqi government in Baghdad, the United States has found itself with a set of strange bedfellows. Russia has been giving outgoing Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki fighter jets for use against the extremists. Tehran has ramped up its military assistance to Baghdad. And in the strangest of bedfellows, Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad has been carrying out a sustained series of airstrikes against Islamic State targets inside both Iraq and Syria, in some ways doing Washington's work for it.

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Did China Just Re-Enact the Famous 'Birdie' Scene From 'Top Gun' With U.S. Plane?

Early in Top Gun, that monument to American military supremacy and fighter-jock guilt, Maverick and Goose encounter a pair of hostile MiGs. In an attempt to avoid an armed encounter and to scare off the (presumably) Soviet fighters, Maverick, played by Tom Cruise, executes one of the most famous aerial maneuvers in film history. While inverted, he approaches the MiG from above, drops down to a perilously close distance, and flips the bird to his opponent. Naturally, the MiG immediately bugs out.

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