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

Middle East update: January 5 2018

SYRIA Utilizing its total airpower advantage, the Syrian army has pushed deep enough into southern Idlib province that it’s approaching the strategic Abu al-Duhur airbase, which could serve as a forward base for an ongoing push through the province. The airbase is on the eastern edge of the province so it’s not like Syrian soldiers are… Continue reading Middle East update: January 5 2018

World update: January 4 2018

ASIA AFGHANISTAN At least 20 people were killed in Kabul on Thursday when an ISIS suicide bomber struck a crowd of police monitoring a protest in the Afghan capital. A Russian news outlet reported on Thursday that China is financing the construction and operation of a new Afghan military base in the northern province of Badakhshan.… Continue reading World update: January 4 2018

Middle East update: January 4 2018

IRAQ Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is apparently going to try some sleight of hand in an effort to disarm and cut the size of the paramilitary Popular Mobilization Units: Abadi’s plan envisages taking back the militias’ heavy weapons and cutting their strength by half, according to military and intelligence sources.   The army is… Continue reading Middle East update: January 4 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

World update: January 1-2 2018

We’re going to ease back into things after the long holiday break. As usual when I take an extended break I’m not going to even attempt to run down everything that happened while I was gone. We’ll cover what’s happened the past couple of days with a few scattered looks at things that happened prior… Continue reading World update: January 1-2 2018