World update: May 24 2018

ASIA PAKISTAN A mob of people stormed and destroyed a 100 year old Ahmadi mosque in the city of Sialkot overnight. The Ahmadiyah is an Islamic faith that grew out of a 19th century revivalist movement led by Mirza Ghulam Ahmad (d. 1908), who claimed to be the Mahdi. They are a small-ish (anywhere from hundreds… Continue reading World update: May 24 2018

World update: February 9 2018

Maybe everybody’s on their best behavior because of the Olympics, but it seems like the planet is a little quieter than usual today, so as a result we can get away with cramming everything into a single update. MIDDLE EAST SYRIA This has been quite a week in Syria to say the least. The Syrian… Continue reading World update: February 9 2018

Middle East update: February 5 2018

SYRIA Russian and Syrian airstrikes pummeled Idlib province on Moday, with dozens of strikes reported but no casualty figures as yet. Even if the Russians didn’t intend, in their various peace initiatives, to sucker Syrian rebel groups and their supporters into Idlib only so as to get them in one place and make it easier… Continue reading Middle East update: February 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

World update: December 12, 2017

Happy Hanukkah to those readers who are celebrating! CLIMATE CHANGE Good news from the Arctic: Permafrost in the Arctic is thawing faster than ever, according to a new US government report that also found Arctic seawater is warming and sea ice is melting at the fastest pace in 1,500 years.   The annual report released… Continue reading World update: December 12, 2017

Asia/Africa update: October 31-November 1 2017

ASIA UZBEKISTAN The big story of the day is obviously the aftermath of Tuesday’s terror attack in New York, and we’ll get to that later but here I wanted to try to say something about the US media’s immediate obsession with Uzbekistan. The attacker, alleged I guess, was an Uzbek national named Sayfullo Saipov, and… Continue reading Asia/Africa update: October 31-November 1 2017

Middle East update: October 25 2017

IRAQ The Iraqi military has started dropping leaflets on the western Anbar towns of Qaim and Rawa, and their environs, in what sure seems like the prelude to a resumption of their offensive in that part of the country. The leaflets say, in part, that “your security forces are now coming to liberate you.” The… Continue reading Middle East update: October 25 2017