Sunday Headlines: ISIS and Scotland Vote Top News

Intelligence Community Differs On Magnitude Of ISIS Threat
Last week a counter­terrorism official testified to Congress that ISIS had an estimated 10,000 fighters. One day later, the CIA in a new assessment stated: The terrorist organization had somewhere between 20,000 and 31,500 fighters across Iraq and Syria.

The dichotomy reflects the uncertainty of the information surrounding ISIS, reports The Washington Post.

And it underscores that the threat the Islamic State poses to the region is in some ways more insidious than direct.

“Of greater concern is the flow of foreign fighters, including thousands of Saudis, Jordanians and Tunisians who have probably learned lethal skills in Syria and been drilled in extremist ideology. There have already been demonstrations in support of the Islamic State in Jordan; its flag flutters over some Sunni communities in Lebanon; and Saudi Arabia has conducted sweeps to detain dozens of suspected supporters,” they report.

CTV news reports that experts believe ISIS finances are growing and estimates suggest they earn more than $3 million a day from oil smuggling, human trafficking, theft and extortion.

“It’s cash-raising activities resemble those of a mafia-like organization,” a second U.S. intelligence official told the network, reflecting the assessment of his agency. “They are well-organized, systematic and enforced through intimidation and violence.”

In a related op-ed, The Post’s Ruth Marcus argues that if Congress fails to debate and authorize further action against ISIS, it would be “bad practice and a worse precedent,” even if the approval would be given by a lame-duck Congress.

After Scotland Votes, What Happens Next?
Tim Ross, political correspondent for London’s Telegraph outlines the possible ramifications if Scotland votes – or does not vote – in favor of independence from Britain.

If Scotland rejects independence, Ross says the nation will be forever changed, which obviously would be the case as well if they vote yes.

The EU Observer sets the stage for this week’s vote.

Is Cosmopolitanism The Same As Altruism?
The Effective Altruism Forum suggests altruists should adopt to better explain what effective altruism is – and that is cosmopolitanism, which the author describes as “a moral and political stance that gives the interests of people of other nationalities a weight equal (or at least nearly equal) to those of one’s compatriots.”

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