March 23rd, 2015
Episode 155 of 558 episodes
ISIS now controls large areas of Iraq, including the cities of Mosul, Tikrit and Fallujeh. Fighting Islamic State in Iraq are mainly armed religious brigades that emerged to defend Baghdad from ISIS last year. These sectarian Shiia militias are backed by Iran and have largely been very effective in pushing back ISIS: but they are also using this fight to wage a brutal sectarian war against Sunni Iraqis. Thoughts of the Silk Route conjures up images of camels loaded with silk, spices, carpets and exotic fruits making the 5,000 mile trek through various topographies of mountains, deserts and plains. But rarely do you think of the flora that carpets the region. Christopher and Basak Gardner have been photographing the area for fifteen years and bring a stunning collection of over five hundred species that accounts for around one percent of the known flora.