exPLAINers of the Week Aug 6 – Aug 12

By Perfectly Plain Staff

We scour the depths of the media to bring you, our dear readers, what the best explainer pieces are each week. This week we have stopped on two great pieces. The first is Margaret Coker’s profile of an Iraqi spy that infiltrated ISIS. The second is the Ben Strauss’ peek into Ted Cruz’s passions outside of Congress. Coker and Strauss bring us these fascinating stories in great detail and an easy to understand way.

The Iraqi Spy Who Infiltrated ISIS

By Margaret Coker in The New York Times

For more than a year, Capt. Harith al-Sudani worked as a mole in the Islamic State while passing critical information to a secret branch of Iraq’s national intelligence agency. The 36-year-old former computer technician was perhaps Iraq’s greatest spy. He was one of the few in the world that managed to infiltrate the upper echelons of the militant group.

Margaret Coker joined The New York Times in September 2017 as Baghdad bureau chief. She has been a foreign correspondent for 18 years — 12 of which she has spent covering the wider Middle East, most recently as the Turkey bureau chief for The Wall Street Journal, where she spearheaded coverage for a 2016 series that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in international reporting.

Captain Sudani foiled 30 planned vehicle-bomb attacks and 18 suicide bombers and Coker brings his story in great detail. The fascinating tale of his road to becoming a spy and his final mission is one of the best explainers of the previous week.

To read full exPLAINer, click here.

Teodor Teofilov

Ted Cruz’s Basketball Charm Offensive

By Ben Strauss in The Atlantic

Senator Ted Cruz (TX) is much maligned by the left and his own party. One of the more glaring criticisms of him is that he isn’t “cool” and comes across as arrogant. This is especially apparent when pundits have raved about his opponent as being charming and Kennedyesque.

Ben Strauss spend the day with the senator and discovered how much of a basketball fan Cruz is. Cruz is a lifelong Rockets fans and a competitor on the court. Strauss is a writer based in Washington D.C., his writing has appeared in Politico Magazine and the New York Times.

Cruz got really ticked off when he slipped up and called a basketball hoop a basketball ring. Late night host like Jimmy Kimmel ridiculed him endlessly, and Cruz eventually challenged Kimmel to a game for charity (which he ended up winning).

This explainer is worth the read because it humanizes a senator in a time when politicians are some of the most criticized members of the public. Taking a glimpse at a person’s life and passions outside Congress is always fascinating.

To read full exPLAINer, click here.

Pawan Naidu

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