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IR Insider is a production of NYU's International Relations Society. Our goal is to explain and discuss issues in IR in an engaging and thought-provoking fashion. We are written by students, for students, about issues students care about. 

Mass Graves Discovered in Former ISIS Territory

Over 200 mass graves left by the Islamic State (ISIS) have been discovered in Iraq, according to a joint report released Tuesday by the United Nations and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights. It is estimated that 6,000-12,000 victims are buried at the sites, including women, children, people with disabilities, the elderly, foreign workers, and members of the Iraqi security forces.

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Japanese Journalist Freed from Syria

Jumpei Yasuda, a freelance journalist from Japan, was freed after being held in captivity by militants in Syria since 2015. Yasuda is now being held in an immigration facility in Turkey and is believed to be in a healthy, stable condition. His captors were members of Hay’at Tahrir al-Sham, which is known for holding foreigners hostage and demanding ransom from their governments. The group was previously affiliated with al Qaeda.

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Mnuchin Visits Saudi Arabia: US Policy Focuses on Terrorism Amid Khashoggi Uproar

U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin visited Saudi Arabia this past Sunday despite uproar over the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi. Mnuchin justified his trip by emphasizing the importance of the economic and strategic relationship between the United States and Saudi Arabia, while at the same time stressing the need for the U.S. to serve as a leader for human rights.

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New York Arab Cultural Initiative Attempts to Showcase Young Arab Voices

On Saturday Oct. 13, the Brooklyn Museum opened an exhibit called “Syria then and now: Stories from Refugees a Century Apart.” This exhibit marks the beginning of the 2018-2019 “New York Arab World Art & Education Initiative,” in which museums such as the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, as well as colleges like Columbia University are, according to the initiative’s website, coming together to “build a greater understanding between the United States and the Arab world.”

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Social Media Star Murdered in Iraq: A Pattern of Violence and Intimidation

Tara Fares, an Iraqi social media star with nearly 3 million Instagram followers, was shot on September 27th while driving her car through Baghdad. It was announced on Monday that Fares had been killed by extremists. The announcement follows Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi's demand for an investigation into not only the death of Fares, but also into what appears to be a pattern of “well-planned killings and kidnappings” with the aim of "carrying out a plan to destabilize the security situation under the pretext of fighting perversion."

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