Instant Opinion: Isis is ‘very happy’ amid chaos in Iraq

Your guide to the best columns and commentary on Tuesday 14 January

Iraqi forces, ISIS flag

The Week’s daily round-up highlights the five best opinion pieces from across the British and international media, with excerpts from each.

1. Former FBI special agent Ali H. Soufan in The New York Times

on the cycle of disorder in the Middle East

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Suleimani is dead, Iraq is in chaos and Isis is very happy

“Like all terrorist groups, the Islamic State draws fuel from chaos and division. The killing of General Suleimani promises much of both to come. The Islamic State still has deep pockets, affiliates around the world, and a knack for recruitment. General Suleimani’s death will have its leaders rubbing their hands in anticipation. The damage is done. Without a major cooling of tensions, a jihadist resurgence might now be all but inevitable.”

2. Gene Seymour on CNN

on an Academy losing touch with moviegoers

This year’s Oscars are a joke

“As I keep telling people year after year, the industry - not the critics or the audience - votes on these things. And people in the industry don’t just vote for what’s great or even good: They vote for what they want the rest of the world to know about their trade, their product and their shared values - and not necessarily in that order.”

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3. Bhaskar Sunkara in The Guardian

on a Bernie surge

Sanders is leading the pack in Iowa – and that’s good news for Democrats

“Sanders is an anti-establishment figure, and one with a decades-long history on the left, but his policy commitments are not outside the new American mainstream. If he can galvanize the same ‘moderate’ irregular voters who have been drawn to him in the past, he won’t just beat Trump, he’ll set the stage for a long-term political realignment – the political revolution he calls for. Sanders is a rebel, but he’s one who people know and trust. In other words, he’s the perfect candidate for 2020.”

4. Oliver Gill in The Telegraph

on a lack of transparency at Flybe

Flybe in a tailspin with too many planes and not enough passengers

“Despite its troubled history, news that Flybe was back on the brink has blindsided many industry watchers. Away from the glare of the public markets, Flybe’s latest travails have gone largely unnoticed. As a listed company, the airline had to provide regular updates on load factors – the number of people it was putting on its aircraft – and profitability. The burden of such transparency is removed as a private company. Flybe had suffered ‘soft’ winter trading, senior industry sources said. In itself, that is hardly a major cause for concern, but has been enough to spook the credit card companies. They gated millions of pounds of customer payments instead of passing the money onto the airline. That action has left a big hole in Flybe’s finances.”

5. Patsy McGarry in The Irish Times

on a party-crashing pontiff

Papal duty: Benedict XVI intervention raises question of what to do with a retired pope

“This latest intervention by Benedict, whether by intent or manipulation, raises the fundamental question – what do you do with a retired pope? Was it a mistake to allow Benedict to retain the title Pope Emeritus and continue to wear the white cassock peculiar to popes? It would appear so. It lends an authority which can be abused. It might have been better had Benedict simply become Bishop Emeritus of Rome, and taken the advice offered to retired bishops by former Archbishop of Dublin Cardinal Desmond Connell – ‘get lost’.”

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