Middle East update: January 6-7 2018

SYRIA The fighting in Idlib province continues to intensify, and at this point I think we can officially scrap any notion of "deescalation." For now the Syrian army's goal remains the Abu al-Duhur airbase (they're nearly there after capturing the village of Sinjar over the weekend), though they also want to take the eastern part of … Continue reading Middle East update: January 6-7 2018

World update: January 5 2018

ASIA GEORGIA Georgian President-turned-Ukrainian governor-turned stateless pariah Mikheil Saakashvili was sentenced in absentia to three years in prison by a Georgian court on Friday, for abuse of his pardon power during his tenure as president. You've heard the saying "you can't go home again"? In Saakashvili's case it's literally true. PAKISTAN The Trump administration clarified … Continue reading World update: January 5 2018

World update: January 3 2018

ASIA AFGHANISTAN Indiana University's Nazif Shahrani argues that one of Afghanistan's problems is that the office of the president, regardless of who holds it, is too powerful: The 2004 Afghan constitution invests the president with more powers than former Afghan kings had before the republican period. Among them is the power to appoint all government officials, … Continue reading World update: January 3 2018

Middle East update: January 3 2018

SYRIA Russian media is reporting that at least seven Russian aircraft were destroyed on December 31 by rebel shelling at Khmeimim airbase, just south of Latakia. If true, it's Russia's biggest loss of materiel in one incident in their 2+ year long Syrian intervention. It also suggests some rebel movement in northwestern Syria that's gone otherwise … Continue reading Middle East update: January 3 2018