22 August, 2014

Belarus's Quiet Flag Change

Sometimes geopolitical changes make headlines, but other times they slip quietly under the radar. Such is the case with the flag of Belarus, which was changed without fanfare (or explanation) by a government decree back in 2012. We don't want you to miss any changes to the world's list of countries and flags, so we now present a belated report on this little-known event.

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Flag of Belarus, 2012-present
Flag of Belarus, 2012-present
Flag of Belarus, 1995-2012
Flag of Belarus, 1995-2012
Flag of Belarus, 1991-1995
Flag of Belarus, 1991-1995
By Caleb Centanni

Belarus, a former Soviet state in Eastern Europe, made a slight change to its flag in early 2012. On Feb. 10 of that year, the State Committee for the Standardization of the Republic of Belarus announced a minor change to the ornamental pattern on the left margin of the flag.

The pattern originally occupied one-twelfth of the flag's total length, and was located inside a white margin making up one-ninth of the flag design. The ornamental pattern has now been extended to fill the entire one-ninth margin. The Belarusian government apparently provided no specific reason for the change.

Other than this minor adjustment, the current flag of Belarus has been in place since 1995, when it replaced the traditional white-red-white flag after a controversial referendum that critics denounced as unconstitutional.

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko supported the adoption of the 1995 flag, which is very similar to the Soviet-era flag. State-owned media argued the traditional tricolor flag was unacceptable due to its use by Nazi collaborators in World War II.

19 August, 2014

Syria Civil War Map: August 2014 (#13)

(To see other maps in this series, view all Syria updates.)

Premium subscribers have already seen our new Syria map format, which shows full areas of control for each major faction in the civil war. Now, we present this month's update free of charge for your convenience. 

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Map of fighting and territorial control in Syria's Civil War (Free Syrian Army rebels, Kurdish groups, Al-Nusra Front, Islamic State (ISIS/ISIL) and others), updated for August 2014. Highlights recent locations of conflict and territorial control changes.
Territorial control in the Syrian Civil War as of August 2014. Map by Evan Centanni, starting from blank map by NordNordWest. License: CC BY-SA
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Threats from All Sides
Since our last Syria map update in early July, the lines of control in the civil war have not changed drastically. However, fighting on all fronts has resulted in numerous small but important changes to the situation, as the Assad government is now facing serious challenges from both the newly rebranded Islamic State (formerly ISIS/ISIL) and a loose coalition of various other rebel groups (including both the Free Syrian Army and Al-Nusra).

11 August, 2014

Iraq Conflict Control Map: August 2014 (Premium)

Detailed map of territorial control in Iraq in August 2014, including cities and countryside held by the Islamic State (ISIS, ISIL) and the Kurdistan Peshmerga.

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This is the latest update to our series of maps documenting territorial control in the current war in Iraq, with a number of updates since the previous edition in late June. 

It includes control by the Maliki goverment, Kurdish forces, and the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS), and has been re-styled to fit seamlessly with our popular control maps of the Syrian Civil War.

This map and article are exclusive premium content, available only to paid members or for individual purchase. Buy now (US$9.99)

Premium map includes:
  • Up-to-date map of current territorial control in Iraq, color-coded for the Maliki government, ISIS/Islamic State extremists, and Kurdish forces
  • Detailed indication of city-by-city control, highlighting key towns relevant to current events
  • Includes recent areas of fighting including Sinjar, Qaraqosh, Mosul Dam, Erbil province, and more
  • In-depth article summarizes changes since June, including ISIS's declaration of an Islamic caliphate, with links to sources



24 July, 2014

Map Update: Kosovo Recognized by 3 More Countries in 2014 (106/193)

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Map of countries that recognize the Republic of Kosovo as an independent state, updated for July 2014, with most recent additions (Togo, Tonga, Lesotho) and disputed recognitions highlighted
Countries recognizing the Republic of Kosovo in green, highlighting recent additions. Disputed recognitions in yellow. Kosovo in magenta. Map by Evan Centanni, modified from public domain graphic (source).