The west has lost the power to shape the world in its own image – as recent events, from Ukraine to Iraq, make all too clear.

Why does it still preach that every society must evolve along western lines?

Photo: Scott Peterson/Getty Images

The militant group Islamic State has released a video that purports to show the beheading of second American journalist, Steven Sotloff, according to a monitoring group.

The Site Intel group said it had seen a video of Sotloff being killed, apparently by the same Islamic State fighter who murdered James Foley, also a journalist, in August. The killer then threatens to execute a British hostage. More to follow »

Photo: Getty Images

“To know what we’re getting into, we need information that keeps up with the constantly shifting realities across the most dangerous areas of Syria and Iraq. We need people like James Foley, and now that he’s gone his value seems incalculable.”
George Packer on James Foley. (via newyorker)

(via newyorker)

For the US and its allies, Mount Sinjar is a success story: a humanitarian disaster alleviated by US air power. But hundreds, if not thousands, of Iraqis – mostly sick and old – remain atop the mountain, with no relief on its way.

Image: ImageSat International

A former top US general has called on Barack Obama to order the destruction the militant group responsible for murdering American journalist James Foley amid conflicting views in the administration on how to respond to the atrocity. Full story here

Photo: Michael Reynolds/EPA

British and US security services are attempting to identify the Islamic State (Isis) militant with a British accent who appeared in a video of the apparent beheading of US journalist James Foley. 

Anti-terrorism experts have warned that the video was a highly orchestrated recruitment tool to lure “psychopathic individuals” to fight alongside Isis militants in Syria and Iraq.

Follow this story as it develops 

Photo: Steven Senne/AP

“It’s hard to remember a time when more crises were jostling for space in the headline news, or when the world’s leading diplomats were engaged in diplomacy on so many issues simultaneously.”

Islamist militants have declared an Islamic “caliphate” in an area straddling Iraq and Syria, trumpeting the declaration in several videos, challenging al-Qaida and changing its name to the Islamic State. Full story

A member loyal to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) waves an ISIS flag in Raqqa, Syria. Photo: Reuters

US secretary of state John Kerry has urged Kurdish leaders to stand with Baghdad and insisted that the imminent deployment of American military forces is “not intervention” in Iraq’s affairs. Full story here

Above: John Kerry meets with Massoud Barzani, the Kurdish president, in Irbil. Photo: Reuters