Middle East update: May 12-13 2018

I’m posting this a little early in case the thunderstorm we’re about to get knocks out our power. There should be at least one more post tonight if the electric grid permits. IRAQ So this is kind of a big deal: Moqtada al-Sadr was leading in Iraq’s parliamentary election with over half of the votes… Continue reading Middle East update: May 12-13 2018

Middle East update: February 16 2018

SYRIA As usual, civilians are taking the brunt of the pounding as Turkey tries to grind out more territory in Afrin: One-month-old Heyim Hassan was receiving treatment for a chest infection in the Afrin general hospital in northern Syria when a shell landed a few meters (feet) away. His panicked father whisked him out of… Continue reading Middle East update: February 16 2018

Europe/Americas update: August 8 2017

EUROPE SLOVAKIA Slovakia’s coalition government is planning to keep on keeping on despite the apparent withdrawal of one of its three members. The hard right Slovak National Party on Monday informed its partners, the center-left Smer and the Hungarian ethnic party Most Híd, that it plans to pull out of the coalition unless the three… Continue reading Europe/Americas update: August 8 2017

What about all these other al-Qaeda affiliates?

J.M. Berger, at the International Centre for Counter-Terrorism, has a smart piece on where al-Qaeda’s other affiliates might be heading now that Jabhat al-Nusra tronc Xfinity SyFy Xe whoever they are have decided to cut ties, even superficially, with the mother ship. He argues that even if there’s no practical change to Nusra’s relationship with… Continue reading What about all these other al-Qaeda affiliates?

Aleppo’s ceasefire is great except for all the fighting

Late last week the US and Russia agreed to extend a piecemeal ceasefire covering parts of Syria to Aleppo, the focal point of most of the recent fighting between Bashar al-Assad’s army and the Syrian rebels. This apparently came, at least initially, as news to the people who are actually doing the fighting, though, because… Continue reading Aleppo’s ceasefire is great except for all the fighting

Back among the living

MIA Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri sends proof of life: Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri has pledged allegiance to the new Afghan Taliban chief in an audio message posted online. The pledge to Mullah Akhtar Mansour was issued by al-Qaeda’s media arm al-Sahab and was Zawahiri’s first message since September last year. The chances that Zawahiri was… Continue reading Back among the living

Have you seen this man?

Brookings’ Bruce Reidel notes that it’s been a while since anybody heard from Ayman al-Zawahiri: Zawahri designated Yemeni Nasir al-Wuhayshi—leader of al-Qaida in the Arabian Peninsula—to be his successor in 2013. Then this June, al-Wuhayshi died in a drone attack in Yemen. Zawahri did not give a eulogy for his deputy. Then, the Afghan Taliban… Continue reading Have you seen this man?