Google Searches and Alerts

I just created another Google Search today. I thought I would share with you what I used and how.

As background, I have an ongoing interest in the Shia (and Sunni) militias in Iraq. The Shia ones have a long history of being supported by Iran, directly and indirectly.

In 2014, the Iraqi government rolled many of the Shia ones into an umbrella organization, in response to the fall of Mosul and the need to officially bring these groups – armed – into the fight. Think of that action as mobilizing a well armed militia, in accordance with the US’s 2nd amendment.

The organization is called al-Hashd al-Shaabi. It’s written a couple of different ways, and it’s translated a couple of different ways into English.

I put together a basic Boolean search today, and dropped io into the Google News search to see how well it worked (it’s located below).  Notice the OR connected up front and then, at the end, the + connector (meaning the last part is required in any result) with the () section with Iraq written in english and Arabic.

If you wonder, yes, I copy and paste the hell out of that.

I started with the terms I knew, did some more open source research on how those phrases are being used in the news, and then looked for other ways the groups were being described – and then looked for how they were being described in Arabic.  All the while, taking notes and building the search in a separate tab. Research, find words and phrases, expand my search in the other tab, repeat.

Right now, it looks like this:

“Hashid Shaabi” OR “al-Hashd al-Shaabi” OR “????? ???????” OR “al-Hashd al-Watani” OR “????? ????????” +(iraq OR ??????? )

And it’s a good start – I’d call it a 75% solution. I’ll refine it as I go. I already have another search and alert saved related to AAH – Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq – and the key leaders in and related to that group, again using primarily English and Arabic. I should get smart and add the Persian terms and versions, but I just haven’t gotten there yet.

With these, once a day, I will get an email from Google with new articles, blogs and other things its finds. Saves me from doing some digging, and after I have a chance to evaluate what Google finds, I keep what I like in Evernote.

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